The Missouri Comets signed defender Brian Harris and midfielder Lucas Rodriguez Thursday, both of whom played a big role in the team's run to the MISL finals last year.
Both players are entering their fourth season in the MISL, all of them with the Comets. Both made an immediate impact in the league and were named to the 2011 All-Rookie Team, with Rodriguez being named the MISL Rookie of the Year that season.
“If you look at the teams who are successful in this league, they are the ones who have been consistent year to year,” coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “These two players combined have over 150 games experience and will continue to be important pieces of our team.”
Although he grew up outside of St. Louis, Harris has been active in the Kansas City soccer community for many years. After starring at UMKC, Harris signed with the Comets for the 2010-11 season after getting noticed by the coaching staff in the team's first round of tryouts.
His rookie season, playing in 20 games, Harris totaled seven points. In 2011-12, Harris had 28 blocks and scored eight 2-point goals over 22 games. Last season, he had a career-high 33 points with five 3-point goals and 59 shots while appearing in every game.
“The Comets have some of the best fans in the league,” Harris said, “not just because of the support they give to the team, but also the support they give to the players and the community. We are all family here.”
Harris is also very active in the community and with many charities, including working with his friend, Dalton Burner. The Blue Springs resident is an 8-year-old fan who twice defeated cancer. Harris has helped Dalton raise money for families in Eastern Jackson County who have faced the challenges of battling cancer.
Rodriguez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then moved to Lenexa, Kan., when he was 11 years old. He split his college career between Johnson County Community College and Mid-America Nazarene University. After starring at MANU, Rodriguez signed to play outdoors with NSC Minnesota of the National American Soccer League. Rodriguez totaled 19 points in 20 games his first season with the Comets.