Fairfield, CT. – Sacred Heart senior's Shaquille Saunchez and Chris Carneiro have signed to play professionally with Elm City Express of the NPSL. The Express joined the National Premier Soccer League on Jan. 9, 2017, as announced by the league and currently have a record of 4-1-1.
Sacred Heart Assistant men's soccer Coach, Anthony Anzevui and former SHU men's soccer goalkeeper Matt Jones have also joined Elm City, which totals four Pioneer's to sign this offseason.
"We couldn't be more excited for Chris and Shaq to receive an opportunity to play at the next level," head coach Joe Barroso said. "Chris is a proven leader with great technical ability, and has certainly put in the time and effort to be successful. Shaq led our offense last year with eight goals. He has improved every year during his time here and is already making an impact, scoring 4 goals in 6 games."
Assistant Coach, Anzevui who earned All-NEC First Team status as a player for the Pioneers believes the opportunity will have a positive impact for the Pioneers Program.
The Elm City Express ownership group also owns a professional Brazilian soccer club, Club Atletico Tubarao, which competes in the First Division of the State of Catarina and will soon compete in the Serie D of the national Competition.
"It presents an opportunity for us to expand our networking and recruiting" Anzevui said. "I'm excited to be part of the project, which will also allow us to develop our relationships and contribute positively to soccer in the state of Connecticut."
Former Sacred Heart men's soccer goalkeeper Matt Jones, has also signed for the Express after spending last season on loan at Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer (MLS). In his four seasons at Sacred Heart, Jones was a three-time All-NEC selection. Jones was a Second Team All-NEC selection in 2005 as a freshman as SHU reached its first-ever NEC Tournament. He was twice named First Team All-NEC in 2007 and 2008. Jones finished his career with a 1.10 goals against average and 20 career clean sheets.
A Connecticut native, Carneiro attended Bunnell High School and played for the South Central Academy, before captaining the Pioneers for two seasons.
"It's a special opportunity to play in the place that I grew up," Carneiro said. "It was always something that was in the back of my mind when I was playing, but when I got the offer, it is something I couldn't turn down. I'd like to thank Coach Barroso and everyone at Sacred Heart for all their support."
After spending his freshman season at Reinhardt University, Saunchez played in 47 games in three seasons as a Pioneer. The forward from Kingston, Jamaica totaled 8 goals his senior year for 17 points.
"It's a great opportunity to play at the next level in the sport I love, a goal I have always aimed to achieve. My time here at Sacred Heart has helped me grow both as a player and a person and I can't wait to get the ball rolling."
Elm City's next game is Saturday, 17. June at home against Greater Lowell at 8:30PM at Reese Stadium, New Haven.