PDL Prospects Turn Heads During College Season
Players To Watch: The PDL has named its top prospects during the 2016 college season as conference play comes to a close. Calgary forward Dominic Russo was named Top PDL Attacker, while Akron’s Adam Najem has received Top PDL Midfielder honors.
PDL Soccer News: With college conference and national tournaments underway, the Premier Development League has ranked Calgary forward Dominic Russo as the Top PDL Attacker, while Akron talent Adam Najem has been named the Top PDL Midfielder.
Russo recorded 15 goals and nine assists – both second-most in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association – during the 2016 college season. The 6-foot forward tallied six goals and one assist during the PDL regular season, earning 2016 PDL All-League Team honors. In the 2016 PDL Playoffs, Russo scored four goals and added one assist to lead Calgary Foothills FC to the PDL Championship.
“Dominic has carried on his great 2016 PDL season form into the CIS environment,” Foothills FC Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. said. “I’ve always said this boy is built for MLS and firmly believe he can keep progressing his career post-university now that he has finished his fifth year with the University of Calgary. He’s strong, quick and possesses a ruthless streak in front of goal. If he’s not scoring chances himself, he is creating chaos for his teammates to capitalize on. A great lad to work with, extremely loyal to both his club and university, which speaks volumes for his character too.”
Najem, who was named 2016 PDL Creative Player of the Year after recording a league-high nine assists with the Michigan Bucks during the 2016 PDL regular season, is one of six players to start every match for Akron this campaign. The senior midfielder has scored five goals and dished out five assists this fall, leading the Zips to a Mid-American Conference Championship title.
“I believe Adam is a technically- and tactically-gifted player, who has the ability to make great decisions, even under the most intense pressure,” Bucks Head Coach Demir Muftari said. “His attitude is as impressive as his play – very driven to get the most out of himself and his teammates. I believe he will have a smooth transition into the next level, and expect him to have a long and prosperous career.”
TOP 10 MIDFIELDERS
1. Adam Najem – Akron – Michigan Bucks
2. Elijah Adekugbe – Trinity Western – Calgary Foothills FC
3. Jose Hernandez – UCLA – FC Golden State Force
4. Jorge Guinovart – Rio Grande – South Florida Surf
5. Arun Basuljevic – Georgetown – New York Red Bulls U23
6. Lucas Coutinho – Palm Beach Atlantic – South Florida Surf
7. Isaiah Madrid – Valparaiso – Albuquerque Sol F.C.
8. Miguel Jaime – Florida Gulf Coast – Ocean City Nor’easters
9. Joseph Holland – Hofstra – Ventura County Fusion
10. Aleksi Pahkasalo – Lindsey Wilson – Derby City Rovers
TOP 10 ATTACKERS
1. Dominic Russo – Calgary – Calgary Foothills FC
2. Corey Baird – Stanford – Burlingame Dragons FC
3. Mohamed Thiaw – Louisville – Portland Timbers U23s
4. Nathan Regis – Pfeiffer – Ocean City Nor’easters
5. Russell Cicerone – Buffalo – Michigan Bucks
6. Jon Bakero – Wake Forest – FC Tucson
7. Hugo Delhommelle – Lander – Reading United AC
8. Riggs Lennon – Creighton – Lane United FC
9. Brandt Bronico – UNC-Charlotte – Carolina Dynamo
10. Daniel Musovski – UNLV – Burlingame Dragons FC
Photo Credit: United Soccer League