Oakwood SC might not have the name cache that other Northeastern based clubs have, but over the last few years, they’ve become a force to be reckon with. Oakwood has been successful in producing elite talent for the US Youth National Teams as well as top college programs.
Oakwood SC is the epitome of a well run club. They focus on local talent identification, but have employed proper coaching, with an eye that maximizes the talents of every player. Over the last two seasons the Oakwood’s men’s program has sent its players to Providence, Columbia, UConn, Stony Brook, Hartford, Central Connecticut State, West Point, Fordham, Chicago, Temple, Xavier and George Mason to pursue their soccer careers. Quite impressive when you consider the landscape of talent in Connecticut compared with other areas within the USSDA map.
Last season both the U16s and U18s finished in a respectable 4th place, with the U18s earning a Wildcard spot in last years playoffs.
The 2014/15 Oakwood U18s graduated every single player from last years starting line-up including star attackers Logan Gdula and Matthew Vasquenza who combined for 26 goals and are off to West Point and Xavier respectively. Not to worry Oakwood fans, the U16 was highly success in grinding out results. Oakwood’s new crop of U18s will arguably have more talent than ever, lead by versatile star Brendan Constantine who has verbally committed to Providence College.
Constantine has spent time as both a defender and an attacking player for Oakwood. While Brendan can more than just function as a defender, he was select to the USSDA Academy Select game as a striker in 2013/14. Constantine has been called up to a number of US youth team camps mainly at the U14-15 levels.
Constantine was not the only Oakwood member chosen to represent the club in the USSDA Select game.
’98 midfield/defender Danny Griffin was also select to the participate in the annual Winter Showcase. Griffin, who will be playing up a year with the U18s, is one of the most versatile players in New England. Griffin has excellent ball skills and abilities. Above that Griffin reads the game well and is a true field general. OWTY believes that Griffin is one of the best ’98s playing in USSDA this season.
For the 2014/15 season look for Constantine to play up top with impressive ’97 striker Ramon Evans who was second in goals last year with the Oakwood U16s. Leading goal scorer for the U16s was Brendan Dennis who will likely pair with Griffin in the midfield. The Dennis and Griffin partnership is one that will come into the year extremely underrated but could turn heads by years end. Dennis is committed to Columbia University following this season.
The U18s will welcome one of stingiest defenses at the U16 level, allowing only 28 goals on the season. Jeremy Keckler will be the first choice keeper and will guide a defense that will include Thomas Adams, Michael Boakye and Brett Holtzman. Anchoring the back will be 6-2 Brendan Hill who is superb in the air and known to get forward to score a goal or two.
OWTY has been told to also keep an eye on DeAndre Brown who did not play for Oakwood last season.
U16s like the U18s will have to replace nearly all the players from last years roster. ’98s Brandon Garland and Julian Stifano return with the U16s. Garland and Stifano will provide experience despite only playing in five matches combined. With only a few ’99s graduating from the U14s the U16s will have to rely heavily on unproven 98s at this level.
The Oakwood U14s have become a breading ground for some of the top talent in the area. The 2013/14 squad was lead by ’00s Nicholas Benjamin, Chris Roman and the squads #10 Kendall Newman. Newman has been an key member of the talented US U14 National Team pool. He’s an excellent central midfielder.
The three will be supplemented by defensive ace ’01 Joey Zarra. Zarra competed with the 2014 id2 roster. Zarra was the only ’01 included on the extremely talented roster.
Oakwood’s top U14 last year was undoubtedly ’00 Benjamin Mines. The U14 #9 is one of the top ’00 forwards in the nation and has made the move to Eastern rival New York Red Bulls for the 2014/15 USSDA season.
Looking to the future, OWTY has learned that Oakwood is extremely high on their 2002 and beyond crop of players. The Oakwood U12s and younger has been successful in multiple tournaments and has plenty of potential elite players, including a ’05 who has been playing up 3 years with the talented 2002s. One of talented 2002s OWTY has been told to watch is ’02 Jack Brown. Brown is an elite scorer.
Club Captain :: Brendan Hill
Impact Player :: Brendan Dennis
Club Talisman :: Jeremy Keckler
Club Star :: Brendan Constantine
Defensive Stalwart :: Joey Zarra
Top Prospect :: Kendall Newman
Pro Prospect :: Danny Griffin