In a show of dedication to developing local talent, the Oklahoma Energy U23 added nearly a dozen native Oklahomans to the club’s 2018 roster on Tuesday, pending league approval.
Among the signings are the most recent three Gatorade Boys Soccer Players of the Year from Oklahoma and a large number of others with multiple collegiate accolades. Also included are multiple players from Oklahoma Energy FC, the academy club of the USL’s OKC Energy FC.
“The Premier Development League exists to give talented young athletes a path to the professional level, and we believe these signings by the Energy U23 highlight those efforts,” said Chris Madden, PDL Co-Director. “With a complete system from the USL’s OKC Energy FC down to the Super Y League’s Oklahoma Energy FC, the club has shown its dedication to nurturing local talent and bringing it up through the youth levels to the pro ranks. We look forward to seeing the fruits of that labor on the field in the 2018 PDL season.”
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these promising local players,” said Energy FC Assistant Coach and Energy U23 Head Coach Jon Pearlman. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to build on the excellent development work done by their local Oklahoma club and college coaches. I believe these players will be an integral part of the Energy FC PDL program this summer with an eye on a potential first-team opportunity in the future.”
Included among the signings are Garrett McLaughlin (SMU), Daryl Dike (Virginia), Josh Berney (SMU), Munashe Raranje (Tulsa), Cooper Clark (Tulsa), Dante Brigida (Oral Roberts), Butch Hampton (USAO), Omar Urquiza (Oral Roberts), Tyler Lacourse (Oral Roberts), Colton Haskin (Oral Roberts) and Brandon Brus (Oral Roberts).
McLaughlin was the 2015 and 2016 Gatorade Boys Player of the Year in Oklahoma, while Brigida was honored with the award in 2017. Dike is the youngest of the signings, slated to graduate Edmond North High School in May before attending the University of Virginia in the fall.
The Energy U23 open the 2018 campaign on May 20 at home against Texas United, while the PDL season kicks off on May 4 and will feature 74 clubs across 11 divisions. The Energy U23 earned a 12-1-1 record in 2017, winning the Mid South Division title.