« DI Men’s Soccer 2012

Ashton Bennett

School

Coastal Carolina

Position
Forward
Major
Sports and Recreation Management
G
16
A
9
PTS
41

Classroom

Bennett is on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sports and recreation management after two years at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to his transfer to Coastal Carolina in 2011, Bennett earned an associate’s degree in business from Cincinnati State. Despite being projected as a top 10 pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Bennett decided to return for his senior year at Coastal and finish his degree. “I made a promise to myself that I would get my degree when I came to the United States from Jamaica,” Bennett said. “A degree opens up more opportunities once my playing days are over. Cincinnati State and Coastal Carolina have provided me with a great pathway to keep my promise.”

Character

Bennett hails from the rough, economically-challenged parish of Clarendon, Jamaica; however, the 5-foot-9 forward overcame those obstacles and stayed focused on his soccer career. Relying on his prowess on the pitch, Bennett made his way to Cincinnati State where he would bounce back from a frustrating injury-plagued freshman campaign to lead his squad to the NJCAA National Championship game. Upon graduating from Cincinnati State, Bennett joined the Chanticleers and quickly became a strong vocal leader and was voted team captain. “Soccer has done so much for me,” said Bennett. “I want to reach the highest peak and play professionally … But I don’t want to play just for me. I want to use soccer to help other kids as well. I know what it’s like not to have anything or not come from a background that’s financially stable. I’ve received a lot of help, so I want to return the favor.”

Community

Bennett has been involved with nearly every community service team event since arriving on campus in 2011. During the 2011 season, he volunteered every Monday after practice at the Grand Strand Miracle League soccer program designed for special needs children. Bennett has also volunteered at the Myrtle Beach Triathlon and helped raise funds and donations as part of the Coastal Carolina Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s Christmas project and Pee Dee Elementary School school supply drive.

Competition

Bennett is a member of the preseason Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List after finishing as a semifinalist for the National Player of the Year award last season. This season Bennett, a consensus Preseason All-American, leads Coastal Carolina, the Big South Conference and ranks tied for fifth in the NCAA with 14 goals. Additionally, his 35 total points (14g/7a) are team and conference-highs, while ranking him fifth in the nation. Bennett was again named the Big South Attacking Player of the Year, making him only the third player in league to receive the honor in back-to-back seasons. He has also earned a pair of National Team of the Week honors this season, while also being named the 15th-best Top 100 Upperclassmen by TopDrawerSoccer.com and earning first team All-Big South recognition. Bennett has led Coastal Carolina to a 17-1-2 record, a program-high No. 8 national ranking and a Big South Regular Season Championship with a perfect 10-0-0 mark. He has netted five multi-goal games this season, upping his career total to 12. He has tallied 37 career goals for the Chanticleers in only 42 career games. In his junior year, Bennett paced the nation with 23 goals, 53 total points and 2.41 points per game. He led the Chanticleers to a perfect 9-0-0 Big South Conference record and regular season title, and to an overall 18-4-0 record and NCAA Tournament second round appearance. For his efforts, Bennett was honored as a first team NSCAA All-American, Big South Attacking Player of the Year, first team All-Big South and first team All-NSCAA South Atlantic Region. He was also selected as a first team NJCCA All-American in 2010 while at Cincinnati State.