TAMPA, Fla. — While helping to continue Reading United AC’s unbeaten season, and brining the club to the brink of a Mid Atlantic Division title, midfielder Aaron Molloy has retained the No. 1 spot in the Fourth Edition of the 2018 Top Prospects list. 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.
The rising junior at Penn State has contributed greatly to Reading’s season, picking up four goals and three assists while marshalling the midfield and guiding the team to a 10-0-1 record. Scouts have described Molloy as “at an MLS level now.” Reading can clinch the Mid Atlantic Division title with a win on Tuesday night away at the New York Red Bulls U23.
Michigan Bucks midfielder Brad Dunwell takes the No. 2 slot, while helping lead the Bucks’ late playoff push in the Great Lakes Division. FC Tucson forward Tate Schmitt has also led FC Tucson into strong playoff position, andt sits at No. 3. Portland Timbers U23 forward Benji Michel comes in at No. 4 and has proven himself one of the team’s top goal-scorers, knocking in a team-leading five this season. Rounding out the top five is Sounders FC U23 forward Santiago Patino, who leads his team in goals and assists with five and two respectively.
New to the Top 50 in Edition Four are four forwards who have shown up and have their teams in good position in their respective playoff races. Berkshire School high-schooler - and future Virginia commit - Jacob Shaffelburg joined Black Rock FC midway through the year and immediately took off running, with the 17-year-old breaking through at No. 45. After a series of stellar performances in recent matches, the Bucks’ Austin Ricci makes his debut on 2018’s list, coming in at No. 35. The two are joined by OKC Energy U23’s Matt Puig, who has lead the line for the defending 2017 Mid South Division champions as they seek to repeat their title-winning campaign. Finally, Calgary Foothills FC’s Moses Danto comes in at No. 50 on the heels of being named PDL Player of the Week in Week 8 while helping the club win the Northwest Division title and book their place in the Western Conference Semifinals.
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 and 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. Aaron Molloy - Midfielder - Penn State - Reading United AC
2. Brad Dunwell - Midfielder - Wake Forest - Michigan Bucks
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. Jordan Skelton - Defender - Lander - Mississippi Brilla FC
7. Daniel Krutzen - Defender - Albany - Reading United AC
8. Janos Loebe - Midfielder - Fordham - New York Red Bulls U23
9. Ryan Sierakowski - Forward - Michigan State - Chicago FC United
10. Rey Ortiz - Midfielder - University of Portland - Portland Timbers U23
11. Nikola Fimic - Forward - Oklahoma Wesleyan - OKC Energy U23
12. DeJuan Jones - Forward - Michigan State - Lansing United
13. Sam Raben - Defender - Wake Forest - Colorado Rapids U23
14. Dayne St. Clair - Goalkeeper - Maryland - New York Red Bulls U23
15. Garrett McLaughlin - Forward - SMU - OKC Energy U23
16. Alex Comsia - Defender - UNC - Tobacco Road FC
17. Alec Smir - Goalkeeper - UNC - Ocean City Nor'easters
18. John Freitag - Defender - Michigan State - Lansing United
19. Callum Montgomery - Midfielder - UNC Charlotte - Victoria Highlanders FC
20. Griffin Dorsey - Forward - Indiana - Colorado Rapids U23