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Incoming defender could be a 'dandy'

Nutmegger also drawn to Cross-Cultural Studies

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The recruiting season for the men’s soccer team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University has inked a number of incoming players, including Devon M. Patton.

A native of Norwalk, Connecticut (pop. 86,000), where the traditional American song, “Yankee Doodle” had its roots, Patton could be a ‘dandy’ for the Lions.

The son of parents Andy and Lorna, Patton graduated from Christian Heritage High (Trumbull, Conn, 65 mi. from New York City), where he played for Head Coach John Egan.

He started for the Kingsmen since his sophomore campaign, playing both outside midfield positions and as a left defender.

He stands 5-foot-8 and will likely man the left defenseman position.

Patton also played travel soccer in the winter and spring from 2006 through 2008. He then suited up for the Trumbull United premier soccer club during 2009 and 2010.

In recent seasons he focused his ambition on his Christian Heritage team, which has produced players for all levels of NCAA and the NAIA.

His honors for the royal clad Kingsmen were many.

He was a member of the CHS championship team, who won the 2009 Hudson Valley Athletic League.

During 2011, his elevated play earned him numerous accolades. He was selected to the HVAL All-Star team as well as with the Western New England All-Star team.

Last fall he made Connecticut’s All-State team, the New England Prep School and the WNEPSA.

As visible as Patton was on the soccer pitch, his life’s passion was equally active expressing his faith.

He has attended New Life Christian Fellowship in Trumbull, Conn. (36,000 pop.), where his father has been an Associate Pastor over the past 15 years.

“While I have grown up in church,” Devon says, “but invited Christ into my heart at District Youth Camp when I was 13.”

His participation in multiple missions trips to Venezuela and one, with a soccer theme, to Haiti, helped impact Patton’s plan to major in Cross-Cultural Studies at SAGU. “I want to be a missionary,” he said.

In fact, in July he will serve an internship in Dublin, Ireland.

His involvement at New Life has also included roles in TRU youth ministry (worship and media teams, etc.) and at KidZone children’s program, summer outreach camps (counselor, group leader).

Following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, which claimed the lives of 220,000, Patton was part of a missions team that served 100 boys who lost parents in the tremor.

SAGU is coached by former Romanian national player Clem Oancea (WAHN-cha), who is beginning his second at the helm, and is assisted by Alejandro "Alex" Vazquez. Oancea is known for developing talent as well as his emphasis for using soccer as a platform for his faith.

The Lions posted a 6-12 record last fall with a team that had expected a better encore after going 10-9-5 the year before.

SAGU struggled with a number of late breakdowns that led to narrow defeats, including the final six matches of the season. The defensive backline needs attention.

Team Purp graduated three key senior performers, though Coach Oancea is seeking to improve midfield play as well as replacing those lost through attrition.

The team expects third year goalie Cesar Galvan (Dallas, Tx / Lovejoy HS) to return, along with a core of players who will be sophomore or juniors.

Midfielders Salvador Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthur HS) and Lee Kounas (Dallas, Tx / Townview HS), and three forwards Jonathan Ramos (Tegucigalpa, Honduras / Garringer HS), Joel Ramirez (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) and Robert Ambrosie (Iasi, Romania / Richard Wurmbrand HS) return to form a solid cast to lead the team into the 2013 season.

Lions move from Red River to Sooner Conference

SAGU will also make the move into a new league, joining the Sooner Athletic Conference, considered premier among NAIA conferences.

Only the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (14-1-4) finished the 2012 campaign in the NAIA’s Top 25.

The No. 10 ranked Drovers, who had risen as high as #4, were unbeaten until a loss to eventual national champion Belhaven University (Miss), 2-1, in the second round of the national tournament. The Blazers (19-4-1) had finished fourth in the Southern States Athletic Conference.

Wayland Baptist University (12-4-2), also in the Sooner, also received votes in the final poll, enough to rank No. 40.

Two members of the Red River Athletic Conference are also joining the Lions exodus to the Sooner; Texas Wesleyan University (9-7-3) and Northwood University (8-8-2).

Southwestern Christian University (11-7), third in the Midlands Collegiate Conference, will also unite with the Lions, TWU and NU in the Sooner.

Lions soccer news

SAGU will report to preseason camp in August. Their 2013 schedule will soon be released along with announcements about additionally signed recruits.

SAGU Sports Live aired two home soccer matches last fall. The only HD broadcasts in the NAIA could feature SAGU soccer again this fall, though their list of high definition, livestreamed games has yet to be announced.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.