The 2018 NCAA soccer season came and went. All that is left is the NCAA Tournament. With a number of Red Bulls Academy players featuring across the college landscape, it can be hard to track them all. Here we’ll take a look at how the season went for a number of those players, and look at what’s to come.
Let’s look at the players on NCAA Tournament teams first.
2018 College Wrap Up
Marcelo Borges: The Senior captain is looking to have long run in the NCAA Tournament to cap off his college career. This year, he has started 16 games and recorded 3 assists, mostly playing as an outside back. He will face a Princeton team full of familiar faces in the first round, a must watch for RBNY fans. Look out for Borges’ name to be linked to a Homegrown contract this offseason.
Kevin O’Toole: Started 9 of 16 games, recording 4 goals and 3 assists to help Princeton win the Ivy League title. This year he has mostly played in an attacking role, however, the Red Bulls see him slotting in as a defender.
Ben Bograd: Bograd played in 15 games, 10 starts, in a very solid freshman season for the young center back. Look for him to join the Red Bulls u-23 PDL team this summer.
Kazu Shigenobu: The Freshman played in 8 games, starting 1, and earning 300 minutes. He should have a bigger role next year and will most likely be with the PDL team in the summer.
Richard Wolf: The Sophomore defender played in 11 games and had 8 starts. He had one 1 assist.
Henry Martin: The senior center back only played in 1 game this season. It’s unlikely he joins NYRBII, but stranger things have happened.
Omir Fernandez: Omir has been a star for the number 1 team in the country earning ACC offensive player of the year. Despite losing in the ACC tournament semifinal, a college cup run is likely. Omir had 11 goals and 6 assists in all competition this year. If Wake Forest wants to win a college cup, Omir will have to score. Coming into the season, it wasn’t clear if Omir would be ready for a HG deal. These doubts have been thrown away and I’m on the Omir Fernandez hype train.
Zach Ryan: The Redshirt Freshman attacker had a strong debut season. He seized his chance when he got it, recording 8 goals and 3 assists in 14 starts. Look out for a possible quarterfinal match-up against Wake Forest that promises to be a good one.
Jared Gilbey: The Junior CM has quietly gone about his business this season. He only recorded 1 assist, but he is a key part of the Stanford midfielder. Gilbey started all 18 games for the NCAA defending champions.
Malcolm Dixon: The attacker has played all over the field for Portland and the PDL team including outside back. He scored 4 goals and recorded 2 assists in his senior season. Dixon could be some one who signs directly to NYRBII this offseason and is a converted fullback similar to Ethan Kutler.
While the pipeline to Georgetown has certainly dried up of late, it is not empty yet.
Kyle Zajec: The CM is a key starter for the Big East champions, recording 4 goals and 7 assists in a very strong Senior campaign. I don’t think he signs a homegrown deal, but he could be a direct to NYRBII signing similar to Steven Echevarria and Chris Lema last season. Zajec played a lot with the PDL team, so the organization is well aware of his abilities.
Sam Illin: The Freshman Goalie seized the starting role and had a very strong season. Illin tallied a .829 save percentage in 14 starts.
The best of the rest:
Many academy grads had great seasons, but were not able to make it to the tournament these are some of the stand outs.
Brian Saramago: The Junior striker scored 8 goals and 8 assists to lead Loyola to the Patriot league regular season crown. They were not able to get it done in the tournament but keep an eye on Saramago who could be a strong homegrown candidate could be this time next year.
Barry Sharifi: Junior midfielder had 4 goals and 4 assists in 17 starts for Loyola. Considering Sharifi’s 5 goals and 7 assists in his sophmore year, it was a slight step back.
Samad Bounthong: 6 goals and 3 assists in 18 starts earned Bounthong a spot on the All-MAAC first team. I’m not sure he is on the Red Bulls’ radar, but he has been a very solid player for Marist.
Skyler Conway: The Freshman midfielder had 3 goals and 4 assists in all contests. That earned him a spot on the All-Rookie team and All-MAAC 2nd team. Look for him to join the PDL team this summer
Team to watch in the tournament:
If you are looking for a team to watch in the NCAA Tournament that is Red Bull adjacent, Rider is the team for you. Led by a ton of international talent, the University that Florian Valot starred at has a few players who featured heavily for the PDL team this past summer. Emmanuel Kouma is a strong CDM who can also play at center back. Sylvain Coco who had a strong season at Center Back for the PDL team. Both of these guys are Red Shirt Juniors which means they could be graduating and draft eligible as soon as this season. These are two guys to watch out for in the NCAA tournament.