The theme so far for Bethlehem Steel in the offseason has been to sign young guys with USL experience and plenty of potential.
Defender Brandon Aubrey makes three players that fit that mold to sign this week. The native Texan has just about everything you want out of a center back in this system. He’s 6-foot-3, has four years of college ball and a season in USL under his belt and impressed Toronto FC enough to warrant their first round pick in last year’s draft.
Aubrey spent four years at Notre Dame and had a storied career highlighted by a huge team success in the 2013 National Championship (won at Talen Energy Stadium) as well as a banner senior year where he picked up All-American honors and lead the Fighting Irish to the NCAA tournament’s third round. Prior to college, he played in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy with the Dallas Texans.
After selecting him 21st overall in the 2017 draft, Toronto sent the Plano native to Toronto FC II for the season, where he played in 21 games. Toronto FC II was abysmal last year, finishing with a W-D-L record of 6-7-19 but Aubrey managed to be one of the bright spots. With the Junior Reds, Aubrey hit 85 percent of his passes in his own half, with 45 percent of those being forward. By now we know the Union organization covets center backs that can spray the ball all over the field and Aubrey finally has the pieces around him to be able to do that.
Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke had this to say:
“We are really happy with Brandon joining us and he brings some really valuable experience from a highly successful club. With his age, we believe that he deserves a good look and we’re happy to be the club that gives him that look. We expect him to anchor our defense because we’re a very young team and could get even younger this season so it’s very valuable to us to have young players that already have experience in the USL.”
Also as a bit of a teaser, the kid can hit an absolute rocket of a free kick.
Aubrey joins Omar Holness, a No. 5 pick by Real Salt Lake in the 2016 draft and former New York Red Bulls homegrown Brandon Allen as new additions to the Steel roster this week.