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National Signing Day: Blynn, Fernandes Bound for Division I Soccer

Two current South Kent School students have signed with NCAA Division I men’s soccer teams. Payton Blynn ’18 and Vinícius Fernandes ’18 made it official on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 – National Signing Day.

“Both Vini and Payton have been a huge part of our success in recent seasons,” said Owen Finberg, Athletic Director and Prep Soccer Head Coach. “It was great to see them make the All-American game together and they are both heading to very good programs.”

Blynn, a left back on the Prep Soccer team, will play for St. John’s University in the Big East Conference. Fernandes, an attacking midfielder for Prep Soccer, will join Marshall University as part of Conference USA. The two were joined by coaches and family members at South Kent Wednesday to sign their National Letters of Intent (NLI).

The experience of signing was nothing short of magical for Blynn. “Nothing feels better than finally signing my NLI to play Division I soccer at St. John’s. It is a dream come true and makes me feel like all my dedication was worth it,” he said. “St. John’s was a good choice for me because they are a top program that competes in a very strong conference. They have a very well-known coach, Dave Masur, who has great connections and is a great coach in general. Another big factor in my choice is that I intend to pursue a business major and St. John’s is located about 10 minutes from New York City. I’d like to thank my family, coaches, and everyone else who has helped along the way and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”

Fernandes felt joyful taking this important step in his athletic and educational career. “Happiness describes what I felt when signing the paperwork. It may be a small act, but it represents a big accomplishment in my life,” he explained. “It represents the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It makes me feel like all the hard work I put in to soccer is starting to pay off, and it gives me motivation to keep working hard and to accomplish even bigger goals.”

The coaching staff at South Kent has no doubt this year’s college recruits can succeed on the next level. “The Class of 2018 continues our strong tradition of placing our graduates in top academic schools with great soccer programs,” said Finberg. “After placing a couple freshman on NCAA All-League teams last year, I feel this group is primed for even more individual success in their freshman seasons.”

Finberg also noted that there will likely be several announcements to come: “We are also excited about the prospects of our other soon-to-be graduates who are still evaluating their options and taking visits; they will be deciding on their college choices soon.”

Check out the list below of other SKS 2017-’18 men’s college soccer commitments:

2017-’18 DIII Acceptances/Commitments

  • Paul Coulibaly ’18, midfielder/right back: Haverford College, Centennial Conference
  • Christian Avila ’18, right back/winger: Denison University, North Coast Athletic Conference; or Franklin & Marshall College, Centennial Conference (TBD 2/15/18)


Other SKS Student-Athletes Who Committed to DI Soccer in 2017-’18

  • Mauricio Dos Santos ’18, central midfielder: Furman University, Southern Conference
  • John Poncy ’18, center forward: USMA West Point, Patriot League
  • Evan Rouleau ’18, center back: University of Vermont, America East Conference
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