Photo courtesy of Saint Francis Athletics
PDL Players to Watch across the nation had standout performances from Sept. 5-11, including talents from the NCAA and NAIA.
Headlining defensive performances was Michigan Bucks talent Francis de Vries, who enjoyed a fantastic week for Saint Francis. Elsewhere, FC Tucson midfielder Jon Bakero, OKC Energy U23 defender Josh Taylor and Ventura County Fusion forward Abu Danladi were impressive in the attack.
The PDL Players to Watch list includes players named to and considered for the six 2016 PDL Top Prospects lists throughout the summer. More than 20 scouts across North America provided the PDL with valuable insight on players who were performing at the highest level within the league, possessed strong technical and tactical qualities and had the potential to play at the professional level. The Top Prospects list serves as a useful resource for professional clubs who are interested in identifying and scouting high-level performers.
De Vries, named to the 2016 Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watchlist ahead of the college season, started and played all 90 minutes in Saint Francis' wins against Penn State and Niagara.
The senior defender, ranked 28th on the final PDL Top Prospects list, was vital in helping Saint Francis' back line secure a 3-1 road result against the Nittany Lions before earning a 1-0 road victory against the Purple Eagles.
In just nine minutes of action, Danladi scored two goals (starting at 0:36 below) for UCLA to help the Bruins take down Akron.
The forward missed the first three games of the Bruins' 2016 college campaign due to a hamstring injury, but his performance in the 6-1 win on Sept. 5 proves why he is a MAC Hermann Trophy Watchlist selection.
Taylor helped St. Edwards record two important wins, including one against Colorado Mesa, ranked 21st in the latest NCAA Division II NSCAA Coaches Rankings.
The Energy U23 standout, ranked ninth on the final edition of the PDL Top Prospects list, played 76 minutes in St. Edwards' 3-0 win against Fort Lewis (Colorado) on Friday, then he scored the game-winner in a 2-1 result against Colorado Mesa.
The netminder, who earned five shutouts, made 32 saves and recorded an impressive 0.35 goals against average in nine games during the PDL regular season, made one save in wins against Dayton and Winthrop.
Bakero, who was first on the initial PDL Top Prospects list, helped Wake Forest secure two important wins.
The midfielder recorded one shot on goal in the program's 3-0 win against Appalachian State before providing the game-winning assist in a 1-0 overtime win against Atlantic Coast Conference power Virginia.
Jorge Guinovart, who finished 16th on PDL Top Prospects list after a strong season for the South Florida Surf, has been on fire in the NAIA, and he continued his exceptional form for Rio Grande last week.
The midfielder scored two goals in a 4-0 win against Midway (Kentucky) to help the Red Storm remain perfect in the 2016 college campaign. Guinovart now has four goals and two assists this campaign.
Marco Charalambous was instrumental once again for Butler this college season.
The Bucks talent, ranked 36th on the final PDL Top Prospects list, started and played 61 minutes in the Bulldogs' 4-2 win over UC Santa Barbara before scoring a goal in his program's 3-0 victory against Oregon State. Charalambous now has two goals in five games for the Bulldogs, who are unbeaten thus far.
After helping the Ramblers take down Utah Valley, 2-0, on Friday, the 27th ranked PDL Top Prospect scored two goals and provided one assist in just 54 minutes of action against Binghamton.