With an already impressive track record of giving each graduating player the opportunity to play college soccer for 13 consecutive years, South Kent School’s (SKS) award-winning prep soccer program experienced its best year ever in college placements, with 18 graduates going on to NCAA top programs and academic institutions.
Among the stellar roster of student-athletes who graduated in the Class of 2021 eleven will be competing and studying at DI, including Jai Bean and Kymani McNeil, one at DII and six on the DIII levels. Additionally, the group of talented, young graduates includes seven who were four-year boys at South Kent School, two of whom served as school leaders in the role of prefect.
Bean spent four great years as a South Kent School student-athlete. Peers appreciated him during his time on the Hillside for his laid-back attitude, love of life and growth mindset. Bean’s speed and skill on the soccer pitch were great assets that were utilized time and time again to lead the team to victory. Named New England Player of the Year in 2019, leading the team to the New England and National Championships and picking up several personal accolades, including being named to the All-American team, along the way.
The incoming Duke freshman feels well-equipped to handle the rigors of college and soccer at the DI level after graduating from South Kent School. “The soccer program at SKS is like no other. It is really extraordinary in every way possible,” Bean said. He expressed thanks to everyone in the community who helped him on his way, but made a special note of the mentorship from Coach Finberg. “I would never have been able to get to where I am without him. Every tip and skill that he has given me, prepared me for the next level and I am just beyond grateful and blessed to have been coached by him.”
A South Kent School education focuses on the whole person, and Bean feels confident for the next level because of the SKS experience. “The SKS community prepared me to be a young gentleman and tackle whatever obstacles are ahead of me. Everything I learned from South Kent School like being punctual, cleaning up dishes, Earth Day cleanup, keeping my room tidy, study hall–it all benefited me for college,” he explained. “The SKS community was like a brotherhood to me and I will never forget what it meant to me.”
McNeil is also heading to a Division I school in Marshall University.