With the recent announcement of Bethlehem Steel FC, we wanted to highlight five players we think would be a perfect fit for the opening Steel roster. Below are some overviews as well as reasons we think the following players would be successful at the USL club.
Jimmy McLaughlin - The second ever homegrown Union player has been out on a series of loans since joining the club in 2011, mostly being dealt to fellow Union affiliate Harrisburg in the USL. We don’t think 2016 will be any different for McLaughlin, however this could be the year he finally gets some serious minutes. Since leaving Colgate in 2011, he has struggled to find time to show the Union what he has to offer. McLaughlin has two appearances with the Union's first team, and could really benefit from being one of the top guys at BSFC.
Darius Madison - After Darius Madison was kicked off the Virginia men’s soccer team and made the decision to transfer to the University of Maryland- Baltimore County, there was a lot of doubt about his prospects as a possible homegrown signing for the Union. These questions have been emphatically answered by the Philadelphia native, who has tallied six goals and three assists for UMBC, proving that he has the talent to play at the professional level. If he is signed as the club’s fourth homegrown player, there is a good chance that he will spend an extended amount of time in Lehigh Valley where he can get regular minutes and continue to polish his game.
Sebastian Elney - Elney is currently a freshman at the University of Maryland, a successful program that has sent plenty of players to MLS over the years. The Union Academy product has been a fixture in youth national team camps over the course of the past two years, and was recently given the number six spot in Top Drawer Soccer’s Freshman Rankings. Elney is a big, strong forward who can hold the ball up and finish off crosses. He’s still a very raw talent and is probably not ready to make the leap to MLS after just one college season, making the new USL affiliate an ideal stepping stone for his career if he decides to leave Maryland.
Derrick Jones Amaniampong - Derrick Jones is a technically gifted attacking central midfielder and the leading goalscorer for last year’s U18 team. He has trained with the first team at various times throughout the season, indicating that Jim Curtin may be considering him as a candidate for a homegrown contract. At 6’3, Jones has the physical attributes to thrive in MLS, but he is still only 18 years old. A year at BSFC would probably be the best way for him to get consistent playing time in a professional environment.
John McCarthy - We know he can play, but the issue is that he's not going to get playing consistent time with Blake in net next season. What better way to give this guy minutes and really see if he can perform consistently than putting him as the number-one option at 'keeper for the club's new affiliate?