TJC's Griffiths, 2009 national champs set for soccer hall of fame induction

GRIFFITHS

An Apache standout and the first TJC national soccer championship squad will be inducted into the NJCAA Men's Soccer Hall of Fame, the NJCAA Men's Soccer Association announced.

TJC's Brenton Griffiths, who won two national titles while playing for the Apaches, and the 2009 unbeaten Tyler Junior College team are the Rose City honorees.

The official ceremony is set for Nov. 10 in Daytona Beach, Florida, site of the national championship tournament.

There will be six inductees in the 2018 class.

For the first time, teams will now be enshrined.

Four undefeated national championship squads become the first teams to be inducted — 1991 Mercer County (New Jersey) Community College (23-0-0), 1994 Herkimer County (New York) Community College (25-0-0), 2008 Yavapai (Arizona) College (26-0-0), and 2009 Tyler Junior College (21-0-0).

BRENTON GRIFFITHS

Griffiths was a stellar performer on defense, leading TJC to back-to-back national titles in 2009 and 2010.

Brenton was an NJCAA and NSCAA All-Region and All-American in 2010. He was also named to the NJCAA All-Tournament team in 2010.

"Brenton was an outstanding player for us at Tyler Junior College," TJC head soccer coach Steve Clements said. "His leadership and ability were key on the back lines helping Tyler to its first two national championships in men's soccer."

After graduating at the Texas school, the native of Jamaica played at the University of South Florida and participated in two NCAA Tournaments advancing to the Elite Eight in 2011.

During his time in Tampa, Florida Griffiths made 40 appearances for the Bulls. Although a defender, Griffiths was no stranger to joining in the attack, scoring four goals and recording five assists during the second half of his collegiate soccer career.

He was drafted by the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer in the second round of the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft. Griffiths spent two seasons with the Rapids before making the move to Orange County FC, the United Soccer League affiliate of MLS's Los Angeles FC, where he made 61 appearances.

In 2017, Griffiths moved to Reno, Nevada and is currently playing for Reno FC of the USL.

Griffiths is the eighth player from Tyler to be enshrined in the NJCAA Men's Soccer Hall of Fame, following most recent inductee Oniel Fisher (2016).

Other players include: Jesus Ledesma (2008), David Somma (2011), Mahlon Sullivan (2011), Roger DaCosta (2012) and Dom Dwyer (2014).

Kyle Timm was inducted as both a player and assistant coach in 2014.

Coaches/officials include: head Coach Steve Clements (2009), assistant coach Andrew McLeod (2010), assistant coach Danny Perez (2010), assistant coach Josue Sabillon (2012), administrative contributor Dr. Tim Drain (2013) and coach and founder of TJC program Dr. Pete Jones.

2009 APACHES

The 2009 team won the first of six TJC national championships. Also, the squad was unbeaten at 21-0-0, defeating Georgia Perimeter College in a shootout to win the national title in Trenton, New Jersey. The Apaches won 1-0 after winning the shootout 5-3.

Clements has guided all six-title teams for the Apaches.

"The 2009 team played in arguably the best final we've ever been a part of," Clements said. "After playing through two overtimes followed by winning the shootout against an outstanding Georgia Perimeter team made for a dramatic finish to an undefeated season."

This team is arguably one of the most talented in NJCAA history. The roster featured three future professional players, including MLS All-Star Dom Dwyer and 2018 Hall of Fame player inductee Brenton Griffiths. Dwyer currently on the Orlando City SC's roster.

Sixteen players from the 2009 team would go on to play at NCAA Division I programs. A few would enjoy captainships on those teams, with Joe Setchell (Rutgers), Martin Seiler (Penn State), Jack Bennett (St. John's), and both Kyle Nicholls and Dom Dwyer (South Florida). Nicholls currently serves on the coaching staff of NCAA Division I NC State.

The team ushered in an era that can only be described as dominance from the Tyler men's program. The Apaches have been in all but one national championship game since 2009, winning their program's six titles in the process.

2018 TEAM

The two-time defending national champion Apaches won two key conference matchups over the weekend at Pat Hartley Field.

On Friday, TJC defeated Coastal Bend 5-0 and on Saturday the Apaches downed Laredo 3-0.

TJC, ranked No. 1, improved to 13-1 overall and 10-0 in Region XIV conference play.

In the triumph over Coastal Bend, five different Apaches scored -- Dion Macfoy-Johnston, Dylan Bufton, Leon Karman, Daisuke Otsuka and Jake Morris.

Assists were from Morris, Thaabit Baartman, Habib Barry, Jannick Videbaek and Leonardo Hernandez.

Carl Koester was in goal for the clean sheet.

On Saturday, scoring for TJC were Barry, Bufton and Cheick Fofana. Assists were from Bufton and Jacob Daffern.

Neil Strauber was in goal for the shutout.

The next three TJC games are on the road — 4 p.m. Friday against Northeast Texas in Mount Pleasant; 4 p.m. Saturday at Paris; and 3 p.m. Monday against Blinn in Brenham.

The regular season home finale is 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 vs. Jacksonville.

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