Four Philadelphia Union Academy alumni and two local college soccer stars are on the initial list of 53 players who will be evaluated by Major League Soccer scouts for consideration ahead of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
Penn State forward Connor Maloney (Harrisburg, Pa.), North Carolina defender Colton Storm (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Indiana defender Billy McConnell (Richboro, Pa.) and Stanford defender Brian Nana-Sinkam (Lititz, Pa.) all spent time in the Philadelphia Union’s youth system as members of youth club affiliates prior to joining the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in the 2013-14 season.
Two local college stars from Temple and Delaware and a central New Jersey native also made the list.
Temple forward Jorge Gomez Sanchez had 27 goals and eight assists over two seasons after transferring from a university in Spain, where he played for UD Talavera and the Osasuna youth team.
Delaware forward Guillermo Delgado shattered decades old scoring records this season for the Blue Hens, finishing his productive college career with 49 goals and 19 assists.
Connecticut defender Jakob Nerwinski, a native of Lawrenceville, New Jersey also received an invite.
Below is a primer on the players with ties to the Philadelphia Union, which barring a trade will have to wait until 32 other players are selected to get a turn in the draft this time around.
Connor Maloney, Forward, Penn State
Maloney had 26 goals and 17 assists over four seasons at Penn State and has played for Union PDL affiliate Reading United AC and trained with the first team as recently as last summer. He played high school soccer and was a placekicker for the football team at Bishop McDevitt High School. He was also on the Philadelphia Union team that won the 2012 Generation adidas Cup.
Colton Storm, Defender, North Carolina
Storm is fresh off a College Cup run with North Carolina. He had three assists in 21 starts at right back for the Tar Heels this season, while serving as one of the team’s captains. The Mechanicsburg native made four appearances for the Union in the MLS Reserve League prior to his arrival in Chapel Hill and was on the Union’s 2011 Generation adidas Cup team and has since spent time in the PDL with Reading United AC and Portland Timbers U23.
Billy McConnell, Defender, Indiana
McConnell started 68 games over his four years at Indiana. The defender had his most productive offensive season in his senior year with three goals and two assists and had four goals and eight assists over his career. He was a regular last summer in central defense for Reading United, was on the Union’s 2011 and 2012 Generation adidas Cup teams and made three appearances for the Union in the MLS Reserve league prior to leaving for college. The Richboro native played his club soccer for Players Development Academy and played three years of high school ball at Council Rock North.
Brian Nana-Sinkam, Defender, Stanford
Nana-Sinkam finished his college career on Sunday with a second straight national championship after an impressive run for he and his back line teammates, which didn’t allow a goal in any of their five NCAA Tournament matches. Prior to college, Nana-Sinkam was part of the Union youth setup as a member of PA Classics and made an appearance with the Union in the MLS Reserve League.
The 2017 adidas MLS Player Combine will be held in Los Angeles from January 8-12, followed by the MLS SuperDraft at 3 p.m. eastern on January 13.
In addition to the No. 33 pick, the Union also have the No. 42 pick in the second round, the No. 55 pick in the third round and the 77th and 82nd picks in the fourth round.
Click here for the full list of Combine invitees.