TAMPA, Fla. — Michigan Bucks midfielder Brad Dunwell moves into the top slot in the first update of the 2018 season of the 50-man Premier Development League Top Prospects List.
Though the Bucks have endured a slow start to their 2018 campaign, Dunwell has been a key figure in the central midfield for the three-time PDL champions, playing all 360 minutes in the club’s four matches so far. The USL Scouting Network has taken notice of Dunwell’s abilities, noting his passing accuracy, positioning, vision and decision-making. One scout said of Dunwell, “[He] can dominate a match with his positioning and ability to keep possession.”
The top five remains the same, with some shuffling around. Reading United AC midfielder Aaron Molloy rises from fourth to second, with one goal and two assists during Reading’s perfect start to the season. FC Tucson forward Tate Schmitt drops from first to third, but recently made his return from an injury that has held him out of action. Portland Timbers U23 forward Benji Michel drops one spot to fourth while picking up one goal during the Timers U23’s tough start. Finally, Sounders FC U23 forward Santiago Patino rounds out the top five, leading the team in goals with three and assists with two through five matches.
Two players enter the top 20, including Lansing United forward DeJuan Jones, with a team-leading three goals in four matches, and Mississippi Brilla FC defender Jordan Skelton, who also helped lead his team to an Open Cup upset over the Indy Eleven.
Making their debut on the Top Prospects list this season are another three talented individuals. Kaw Valley FC forward Tucker Stephenson enters at No. 35, while leading the team in goals so far this year. Dayton Dutch Lions forward Tate Robertson checks in at No. 40, recording a team-leading five goals and three assists in five matches as the Dutch Lions have secured a 4-0-1 record to start the season. Finally, FC Golden State Force midfielder Marcelo Manfredini comes in at No. 46, with four goals and one assist in five appearances for the Force, also helping lead the club to the Fourth Round of the Open Cup where they’ll face the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, June 6, at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The USL Scouting Network consists of scouts from across North America, including coaching directors, technical directors and head coaches, and provide the PDL with valuable insight on the top Under-23 performers in the league throughout the season. The Top Prospects list, which serves as a resource for professional clubs who are interested in identifying and scouting high-level players, ranks players based on their performance within the PDL, their technical and tactical qualities and their potential to play at the professional level.
Since its creation in 2015, the USL Scouting Network has identified numerous standout performers within the league before they made their first professional debuts. Philadelphia Union defender Keegan Rosenberry finished the 2015 PDL season ranked No. 1 on the Top Prospects list, while standout forward Christian Chaney finished the 2016 PDL season ranked No. 1 before signing a professional contract with the United Soccer League’s Sacramento Republic FC - Chaney now competes for the USL’s Fresno FC. In 2017, New York Red Bulls U23 forward and PDL MVP Brian White finished the season ranked No. 1 before being selected in the first round of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by the Red Bulls. White currently competes with the USL’s Red Bulls II. More than 320 PDL alumni are registered in the USL, while more than 195 players are on 2018 MLS rosters.
1. Brad Dunwell - Midfielder - Wake Forest - Michigan Bucks
2. Aaron Molloy - Midfielder - Penn State - Reading United AC
3. Tate Schmitt - Forward - Louisville - FC Tucson
4. Benji Michel - Forward - University of Portland - Portland Timbers U23
5. Santiago Patino - Forward - Florida International University - Sounders FC U23
6. Ryan Sierakowski - Forward - Michigan State - Chicago FC United
7. Daniel Krutzen - Defender - Albany - Reading United AC
8. Janos Loebe - Midfielder - Fordham - New York Red Bulls U23
9. Sam Raben - Defender - Wake Forest - Colorado Rapids U23
10. Rey Ortiz - Midfielder - University of Portland - Portland Timbers U23
11. Nikola Fimic - Forward - Oklahoma Wesleyan - OKC Energy U23
12. Alex Comsia - Defender - UNC - Tobacco Road FC
13. Jordan Skelton - Defender - Lander - Mississippi Brilla FC
14. Dayne St. Clair - Goalkeeper - Maryland - New York Red Bulls U23
15. Garrett McLaughlin - Forward - SMU - OKC Energy U23
16. Griffin Dorsey - Forward - Indiana - Colorado Rapids U23
17. Alec Smir - Goalkeeper - UNC - Ocean City Nor'easters
18. Jimmy Hague - Goalkeeper - Michigan State - Michigan Bucks
19. Callum Montgomery - Midfielder - UNC Charlotte - Victoria Highlanders FC
20. DeJuan Jones - Forward - Michigan State - Lansing United