Following a tremendous 2019 campaign, Clayton State men's soccer players Ryan King, Jordan Knight and Theo Blachon have been named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region Team.
Historically, the three selections is the most by the program since a record five in 2010 and ties for the third most in team history. The 2005 team notched four honorees with the 2009, 2006 and 2001 squads each picking up three selections.
King's First-Team nod is the first for the program since Alhagi Toure in 2013 and is the 11th in the team's 35 all-time selections. That is a total that does not include the selections from prior to 2005 when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), the former name of the USC, only named one team.
The selections also mark the first for the Lakers since the 2017 season when Kwaku Dwamena claimed Second-Team honors. It is the 16th year that Clayton State has earned at least one honoree from the organization.
RYAN KING - FIRST-TEAM
The impact that King had in the Lakers 11 win turnaround from the 2018 season to 2019 cannot be overstated as he delivered a season for the ages that is still garnering major awards.
After seeing action in just 17 of a possible 20 games and registering an impressive 17 goals and two assists for 36 points, King has already been named a D2CCA All-Southeast Region First-Team selection, making him eligible for All-American honors by that organization.
He has also been chosen as the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year, was an All-PBC First-Team selection and was the league's Gold Ball Award honoree as the leading scorer and also led in points.
His goal total tied for the Southeast Region lead and his point total was just one off of that lead while he ranked in the Top-10 in NCAA Division II in four major categories for much of the season. The latter would see him rank third in goals per game (1.0), eighth in total goals and points per game (2.12) and 13th in total points.
Additionally, King was a three-time PBC Player of the Week selection in 2019, which is a program record. He also became the first Laker to be named the United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Week on November 5, that following a five goal week that was capped by all three scores in a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory at No. 7 Francis Marion on November 2.
With the First-Team honor, King will also be eligible for USC All-American consideration. Those teams will be announced prior to the NCAA Division II Final Four later this week.
JORDAN KNIGHT - SECOND-TEAM
Defenders are judged primarily by what they prevent the other team from doing and how long they make that happen. With that being the case, Knight, the Lakers' ironman, rarely left the field in a season that saw his defense record 14 games of one goal or fewer allowed, spearheaded by eight shutouts.
Additionally, his defense did not surrender more than three goals in a game, and that only twice, with the last coming against the No. 21 ranked team in the country.
On the year he played 1,766 minutes, the most of any field player, while starting all 20 games and was recognized as a D2CCA All-Southeast Region Second-Team honoree as well as an All-PBC First-Team selection. On top of that honor, Knight was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week a program single season and career record four times.
Highlighting his efforts in 2019 was a career first that came at the biggest moment. Locked in a 1-1 overtime battle in the PBC Quarterfinals against Flagler, and in his 70th career game, Knight delivered the game-winner for his first career goal. That win then sent Clayton State to the semifinals for a third straight season.
THEO BLACHON - THIRD-TEAM
Quite simply one of the best keepers in the country, in his first year at the NCAA Division II level, Blachon delivered a 14-6 record with eight shutouts and picked up a considerable amount of hardware along the way.
This marks his second All-Region honor as he was named D2CCA All-Southeast Region First-Team and is still in the running for All-American honors by that organization as a result. He is the first keeper in program history to earn First-Team recognition for D2CCA and one of just three all-time. He was also named All-PBC First-Team and notched a program single season and career record four PBC Goalkeeper of the Week honors.
On the year he played all 1,830 minutes, posted a 0.98 goals against average, .811 save percentage, 86 saves and ranked among the national leaders all season long. He finished the year 14th in goalie minutes, 16th in save percentage, 18th in shutouts and 42nd in GAA. Additionally he ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the Southeast Region in save percentage and GAA.
He also won a 3-2 double overtime decision at No. 7 Francis Marion and lost a narrow 2-1 decision to then No. 8 Lynn. In the latter it was a matter of just the first 1:33 of the second half as he shut down one the best teams in the country for nearly 88 minutes.
On top of his skills in the goal itself, Blachon also helped his own efforts as he delivered a pair of assists earlier in the year.
2019 USC All-Southeast Region Men's Soccer Teams
GK Ben Knust, Belmont Abbey
D Daniel Fischer, Young Harris
D Michael Hornsby, Queens (N.C.)
D Toby Sims, Chowan
D Kensho Yoshikoshi, Carson-Newman
M Elliot Cutts, Wingate
M Oliver Peters, Francis Marion
M Alvaro Zamora, Francis Marion
F Ryan King, Clayton State
F Paul Ngongo, Wingate
F Christian Provenzano, Coker
GK Sebastian Kalk, Queens (N.C.)
D Jordan Knight, Clayton State
D Owen Marshall, Wingate
D Sebastian Marx, Limestone
M David Alvarez, Queens (N.C.)
M Mikkel Fahlen Bruun, Wingate
M Yesin Van Der Pluijm, Young Harris
F Sebastian Andreassen, Young Harris
F Harrison Ardron, Chowan
F Ruben Mancio, Barton
F Sondre Olsen, Young Harris
GK Theo Blachon, Clayton State
D Alan Brandao, Lincoln Memorial
D Kevin Daly, Belmont Abbey
D Sam Pollard, Francis Marion
D Ryan Tryer, Anderson
M Caio Brandao, Queens (N.C.)
M Trevin Myers, Chowan
M Will Sainsbury-Logan, Carson-Newman
F Max Bolton, Lander
F Ibrahim Nadir, Newberry
F Harry Ward, Anderson