YHC's Hilton signs professional contract with Charlotte Independence

YHC's Hilton signs professional contract with Charlotte Independence

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. | Former Young Harris College men's soccer player Lewis Hilton has signed to play professionally with the Charlotte Independence.
 
The Independence is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and are members of the United Soccer League's Eastern Conference. The Independence, which joined the USL as an expansion team in 2015, will open their 2016 schedule in late March.
 
Hilton is the fifth former YHC men's soccer player to sign a professional contract. Niall McCabe and Ilija Ilic signed last spring with the Louisville City FC of the USL while Samuel Mansour and Khurram Shazad signed to play for the WSG Swarovski Wattens in Austria in 2015.
 
"Lewis is a shining example of what Young Harris College soccer players are aiming to achieve," said Young Harris head coach Mark McKeever. "We are creating a platform for young talented players to come in and reach their potential, which hopefully leads to a professional soccer career.
 
"Lewis embraced this challenge and displayed the hard work, desire and character it takes to fulfill ones potential," added McKeever.  "Lewis provided a "professional lifestyle" from day one until graduating and made the progress he needed to in order to reach his ultimate goal of becoming a professional soccer player."
 
Hilton, a 5-foot-8 midfielder from Newquay, England, was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America NCAA Division II All-America team for the second consecutive year in 2015 as he was named to the second team. Hilton, who was also a Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-American this season, is a four-time All-PBC performer - only the 10th player in the 25-year men's soccer history of the league to accomplish that feat. He finished third in the YHC record books during the D2 era with 30 assists, and fourth with 25 goals and 80 points to go along with six game-winning goals in an YHC record 80 matches.
 
The 2012 PBC Freshman of the Year led the Mountain Lions with 10 goals, 11 assists and 31 points in 2015. Hilton, who was named to the CoSIDA Division II Academic All-America® II Men's Soccer Second Team and to the NSCAA NCAA Division I and II Scholar All-America First Team in 2015, finished the season ranked 18th in NCAA Division II stats in assists. Hilton has a cumulative 3.44 grade point average as a business and public policy major.
 
The Mountain Lions finished the 2015 season with a 17-4-0 record and was ranked 10th in the NSCAA NCAA Division II Top 25 poll. Young Harris won their third consecutive PBC title and second straight PBC Tournament crown last fall. Young Harris also earned its second berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2015 - earning the No. 2 seed out of the Southeast Region – and advancing to the third round.