Last season’s U18 championship was one of the more impressive feats in USSDA history.
The New Jersey based club has a long history of success, but when you stack up the resources other clubs can boast it puts into perspective just how remarkable it is when an non-MLS side enjoys success at the highest levels of the Academy system.
That being said, we’ll see just how much resolve this club has right away in 2014/15.
PDA loses nearly the entire roster that led them to the USSDA U18 title. ’96 Brian White, and his 28 goals is already finding success at Duke, as is ’95 OWTY USSDA U18 Goalkeeper of the Year ’95 Joseph Ohaus. ’96 Brett Giuliana, ’96 Niel Guzman, ’96 Jared Stroud and ’96 Jake Areman are also off the books at PDA.
U18 returners include Ghanian tank Anderson Asiedu who will be the focal point of the PDA attack. Asiedu was a man amongst boys at times last year and this year should be no different.
Asiedu will be joined by ’97 James Murphy who is looking to prove himself at this level in USSDA for the first time. Murphy is seen as one of the top players in the 2016 class. Murphy played high school soccer last season, earning All-State honors at Scotch Plains. This season he will focus on PDA which should greatly increase his national exposure.
Joining Murphy will be the gifted ’97 Jack Casey. Casey like Murphy has plenty to prove and both will need to be at the top of their game to replace just what Brian White meant to this squad.
Casey and Murphy will be flanked by the dynamic duo of ’97 Jalil Blalock and ’98 Chaz Burnett, each of whom scored over 7 goals last season. I would not be surprised if the two end up in the US Youth National Team pool by seasons end.
PDA was successful in recruiting Philadelphia Union starlet ’98 Isaiah Young. Young was the Union’s top player last season and his arrival at PDA is a major coop for the Jersey based Academy. A Young-Asiedu partnership has trouble written all over it for opposing defenses. Team’s will struggle their size and speed. Couple that will the threat Blalock and Burnett will provide out wide and it is easy to see where the goals will come from for PDA.
There is no doubt this team has all the ingredients to score, the trick for PDA this season will be to keep teams out of there own net.
This task will be spear-headed by another Philadelphia Union convert and Syracuse commit ’97 Chris Gomez. Gomez is an US U18 National Team member with plenty to prove. His move signals PDA’s intent to return to the pinnacle within USSDA.
Gomez will likely anchor the back-line with PDA U16s veteran’s ’97 Erik Swenson and ’97 Derrick Lyons. 2013/14 PDA U18 starter ’96 Rory Slevin will likely play as right back and is a good bet to captain the side.
In net it looks as though ’97 Joseph Bruno will pick up with Ohaus left off. Bruno was excellent at last season’s U16 level.
Also worth noting is that ’98 US Residents Kevin Silva and Thomas McCabe are listed on this roster. Silva, the US U17 starting goalkeeper, and McCabe, a tough-minded midfielder will be eligible to compete with PDA when they are off duty with the United States. If PDA can make the USSDA play-offs they will be boosted by the return of these two.
With so many of PDA’s top ’98s playing up with the U18s the PDA U16s will rely heavily on 99s and even a few ’00s to get the job done.
’99 Josh Burnett will led the team’s attack again this season. Burnett played with the U16s at times last season, but was also able to rack up a few goals at the U14 level. His is the younger brother of U18 winger Burnett and has a very similar game.
’98 Shane Kastl will be another one of the returning U16s that will be responsible for a bigger role.
Also been told that PDA’s ’98 Thanasi Scheidt is a play who will turn heads this season. Scheidt is a skillful midfielder with all the tools to become one of the best pure midfielders in the U16 division. He’s a future star for PDA.
One of the top defenders on the east coast, ’99 Brandon Golden will marshal the defense. Golden will miss his defensive partner ’99 Evan Godfrey who joined the Philadelphia Union.
In net PDA will turn to either ’98 Tiago Capela or ’00 US U14 starting goalkeeper Hunter Pinho. Pinho is a good bet to get matches as he could easily drop down to the U14s to get games. His inclusion on this roster makes it likely he will be the commander from the back.
The PDA U14 will welcome a host of new faces. Only defensive ace ’00 Thomas DeVizio will rejoin the squad. DeVizio is a member of the US U14 National Team pool having started all 24 matches last year for PDA. He will be the main man for them this season and could very well jump up to the U16s at times this season.
Club Captain :: Rory Slevin
Impact Player :: Isaiah Young
Club Talisman :: James Murphy
Club Star :: Chris Gomez
Defensive Stalwart :: Brandon Golden
Top Prospect :: Thanasi Scheidt
Pro Prospect :: Hunter Pinho
US Residents :: Kevin Silva & Thomas McCabe