Forward Santi Moar has been lighting up the field for the past two years with Pfeiffer University and for the Charlotte Eagles during the 2016 Premier Development League season. This year, the standout attacker is ready to make his mark at the professional level with Bethlehem Steel FC in the United Soccer League.
Moar’s path to the professional ranks started across the Atlantic. The 23-year-old is a native of Ordes, Spain, and he was playing with a semi-professional club as a teenager when distinguished American coach Bob Reasso flew over for a recruiting trip. Reasso, who currently serves as Pfeiffer’s Athletic Director/VP for Athletics and men’s soccer coach, has helped many players on their path to the pros, including former U.S. Men’s National Team members Alexi Lalas and Peter Vermes.
Reasso offered Moar, alongside a few more Spanish standouts, a scholarship to play for the Falcons, and Moar’s decision to accept the offer turned out to be one he would revere.
“I loved [playing for Pfeiffer],” Moar told USLPDL.com. “We won the national championship in 2015, and the next year, we had a great team as well. We couldn’t win it, but it was awesome. The group was unbelievable – one of the best that I’ve had – and so it was a great experience going to college.”
Moar was a key figure for the Falcons during the 2015 college campaign, scoring 10 goals and recording 14 assists in 25 games to help the program become the first undefeated champion in NCAA Division II since 1999. The team finished the season 25-0-0.
While his achievements with the Falcons in 2015 were one-of-a-kind, Moar cherished his time in the PDL, as well, mainly in part because it helped the forward receive national exposure ahead of his senior season.
“For me to get into the Charlotte Eagles was a big accomplishment at the time,” Moar said. “For them to give me that opportunity was great because I wanted to play during the summer and [stay in] shape to play my senior season, and it was a great experience for me. One of the reasons why I am here with Bethlehem is because I played for the Charlotte Eagles, and they got the chance to see me play.
“The offseason in college is so big, so if you want to keep your fitness at a high level, you must play during those three months, and I think playing in the PDL is the best option college athletes have. I think playing in the PDL was great for me to go into training camp in August and already have a good rhythm.
Photo courtesy of Charlotte Eagles
In 14 appearances (1,045 minutes), Moar scored eight goals and provided four assists for the Eagles during the 2016 PDL regular season, leading the team to a South Atlantic Division title. For his exceptional play, the forward earned 2016 PDL All-Eastern Conference Team honors and ranked 37th on the final edition of the Top Prospects list.
Heading into his senior season on a high, Moar continued to shine with the Falcons. While the program fell short of winning back-to-back national titles, the forward scored more goals (14) and recorded more assists (19) in less games played (20).
In January, Moar was selected by Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and signed with Steel FC weeks later. In a preseason match on Feb. 22, Moar continued to show off his goal-scoring abilities, netting two to help Steel FC record a 7-0 win.
After years of success, Moar is excited for the USL regular season to begin, as it proves to be another step on his path to being a top player.
“I like [Steel FC] a lot because we have a really young group,” Moar said. “All of us have a lot of excitement to do great things in this league, and the practices have been really intense as well. I’m just trying to get ready to begin the season in the best shape as possible, but the environment is great, and I’m really thankful to be here because when I was in college, I wanted to play pro, and now I’m here, so it’s great.”