Goalkeeper Matt Bersano / Photo courtesy of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
The 2017 Major League Soccer season is in full swing, but clubs continue to turn toward former Premier Development League players to add depth on their respective rosters. This week, a pair of former PDL players joined the MLS ranks.
On Monday, the San Jose Earthquakes signed former Lane United FC goalkeeper Matt Bersano. Bersano, who played for Lane United during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, made his professional debut last year with the United Soccer League’s Seattle Sounders FC 2. Bersano debuted on Sept. 11, 2016, subbing for an injured Charlie Lyon during S2’s 2-2 draw against OKC Energy FC.
“We are very excited to add a talented young player that has shown a strong interest in our organization,” Quakes GM Jesse Fioranelli said of Bersano, who had spent the MLS preseason as a Quakes trialist. “He will be a valuable addition to both San Jose and [the USL’s] Reno 1868 FC this season.”
The Chandler, Ariz., native formerly played for Real Salt Lake AZ in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy, then played collegiately for Oregon State and Penn State.
Defender Mike da Fonte / Photo courtesy of Sacramento Republic FC
Elsewhere, the Colorado Rapids added defender Mike da Fonte on Wednesday, signing him to a two-year contract. Da Fonte played in the PDL for the Westchester Flames in 2012 and spent the previous two years in the USL. He was a member of Sacramento Republic FC’s 2016 side, tallying four goals in 19 regular-season matches as the club finished first in the Western Conference. In 2015, da Fonte represented the New York Red Bulls II during their inaugural campaign.
“We are pleased to have Mike join our club for the next two seasons,” Colorado Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni said in a team release. “He is a very athletic central defender with experience in Europe and with two prominent USL sides.”
On the USL front, two-time PDL champion and former Michigan Bucks defender Francis de Vries signed with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Thursday. He will represent the USL side Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, pending league and federation approval.
“Francis is a promising young center back who is very good on the ball,” WFC2 Head Coach Rich Fagan said. “He brings a strong pedigree to our group as a two-time PDL champion, and having also spent time in Europe before attending college.”
De Vries won the PDL crown in 2014 and 2016.
The Charlotte Independence signed midfielder Zev Taublieb on Tuesday, pending league and federation approval. In 2013, Taublieb played for Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries with the PDL’s Des Moines Menace.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies signed a pair of PDL alumni on Wednesday. Goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald, who starred at Wake Forest, played in the PDL from 2008-09, and defender Kyle Porter competed in the league in 2008.
Gleeson Wins Top Save Honors: Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson earned MLS Week 2 Save of the Week honors. Gleeson, who led the Timbers U23s to the 2010 PDL Championship crown and an undefeated season, was recognized for his stoppage-time save against the LA Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal to lead Portland to a 1-0 road victory Sunday. Gleeson’s close-range reaction save on Villarreal’s header garnered 62 percent of the fan voting.