Cloud County places three defensemen at NAIA programs

Cloud County men's soccer players Mason Hays (left), Tales Avila (center) and Kaio Dantas (right) signed with NAIA programs on Tuesday.
Cloud County men's soccer players Mason Hays (left), Tales Avila (center) and Kaio Dantas (right) signed with NAIA programs on Tuesday.

CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College men's soccer program had three players, sophomores Tales Avila and Mason Hays, and redshirt freshman Kaio Dantas, sign National Letters of Intent to NAIA institutions on Tuesday.

Avila will be staying in state as he inked with Friends University in Wichita, while Hays will head north to Nebraska to play for York College and Dantes committed to Dakota Wesleyan University.

A native of Para de Minas, Brazil, Avila was a main cog in the Cloud County back row, finishing his career with 31 games played, starting all 16 during his sophomore season.

He finished with one goal and one career assist, while helping the T-Birds' defense limit opponents to a 1.23 goals against average en route to earning First-Team All-Conference honors this season.

"He had so many offers and it was a really tough decision for him, but I think the situation at Friends will be great for him. The coach really pushed to get him," said Cloud County head coach, Charles Long. "Tales is an amazing defender and one of the best I've ever seen winning the ball in the air. He's technically very solid. Obviously, we're going to miss him, but I think he's going to do real well at Friends University."

Hays is the fourth Cloud County varsity defenseman to sign with a four-year institution this spring, alongside Avila, Leonardo Santiago and Wanes Hobat. The Kansas City, Missouri native appeared in eight career games and played some important minutes during the stretch of the 2018 season to help the T-Birds to a 13-5-1 overall record.

"I'm beyond excited that Mason has decided to continue to play. He was debating about it for a little bit," Long said. "He's a good player who was just unfortunate to be behind some other really good players. He was in a tough position, but I think he'll start for York College as either a center back or outside back. He never quits working and York will be a great place for him."

As for Dantas, the Brazilian was a redshirt this past season, but showed flashes in practice of being an impact player at the next level

"Even though he didn't play here, he trained with us and focused on his grades and English," Long said. "I think Dakota Wesleyan University is going to be a great place for him. They have a great coaching staff there. He should be able to step in and could possibly start for them at the right-back position. He understands the game real well and this will be a good next move for him."