Philadelphia Union Academy defender Nykolas Sessock has his eyes set west to the University of Pittsburgh to begin his college soccer career next fall.
The 17-year-old from Holland, Pa. has verbally committed to join head coach Jay Vidovich’s rebuilding efforts at the Atlantic Coast Conference cellar dweller he left the Portland Timbers USL team to take over in 2016.
“Jay Vidovich rebuilding and wanting to bring guys in who want to win and create a legacy there, that’s what really interested me,” Sessock said. “I just decided it was the place for me athletically and academically.”
The Panthers haven’t posted a winning season since 2008 and have not won a conference match since joining the ACC in 2013, but Vidovich’s track record and work in recruiting has the program poised to end that streak. Former Philadelphia Union Academy and D.C. United Academy forward Colin Brezniak joined the program in January and Vidovich brought in a number of other promising recruits ahead of this season.
Sessock is the second recruit to verbally commit for 2018, joining D.C. United Academy defender Chandler Vaughn. A right back, Sessock is a hard-nosed defender known for his ability to get forward and contribute to the offense with his vision and passing skills. He’s currently ranked No. 128 in his class on the Boys IMG Academy 150 on TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Playing in the ACC, arguably the deepest and most competitive conference in men’s college soccer, was a strong pull for Sessock.
“It’s like playing in the GA Cup,” he said. “You’re playing against the top teams all the time.”
Sessock joined the Philadelphia Union for its inaugural season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in 2013-14 from Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals and has received call-ups to several United States youth international camps. He’s also trained regularly with Bethlehem Steel FC.
He’s one of three current Union U19 players committed to ACC programs for the fall. Issa Rayyan and Seth Kuhn have both committed to Duke.
Prior to coaching one season at Portland Timbers 2, Vidovich was the head coach at Wake Forest, where he won a national championship in 2007 and was an assistant coach there when current Union U15 head coach Chris Brewer was on the team.