The rebuilding of the Tennessee Temple University men's soccer program continues under coach Kenrick Liburd.
He signed three area players Friday and expects a couple of more before the Crusaders report Aug. 14 for preseason camp.
Signing Friday were Sonoraville defender Johnathan Walraven and East Ridge Express 93 Red teammates Warren Moody and Edwin Maldonado from Central and Ooltewah, respectively. Maldonado, who will redshirt this season, is another strong back; Moody is a midfielder or forward who played right wing for the Owls.
"I feel a lot better, a lot better," said Liburd, who is about to begin his second season as TTU's men's and women's soccer coach. "We had only four guys returning last year, and this year we have about 13 back with nine signees now.
"Johnathan is going to have an immediate impact, I think, at left back or center back. We've been looking at him for two years now, and we expect him to compete for a starting spot from day one. He's strong, he's physical, he's a good student and he's a good Christian boy. He's the kind of kid who helps just by his presence.
"Warren is another young man who is a perfect fit for our school," Liburd added. "He's got great club experience and he works hard, and he's going to compete for minutes.
"Although Edwin won't play this year, we are glad to have him in our program. He can play in the back or up top, and we're excited about his development."
Maldonado said he also talked to Tennessee Wesleyan but liked the "environment and the staff" at Temple and was looking forward to being part of a building project.
Moody said he had planned to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and maybe play on its club team, but when he got the scholarship offer from Temple he "jumped at it."
"It keeps me close to home and I like the small atmosphere," he added, "and teammates and other people I know are playing here."
Express coach Krissi Whitaker said Moody "is a very quick outside mid who is really aggressive and never gives up on the ball. He turned out to be a great striker for me also. And Edwin was our left back most of the time and was feared by anyone who came up against him one-on-one."
Walraven was a two-year captain for Sonoraville, which had its best season ever at 8-5 this spring.
"He's been the model for us," said coach Matt Rice, who will move to Calhoun High this year. "He's a leader on the field and off. He sets the tone. He always works hard and always gives it everything he's got. He's got great academics as well."