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Players with ties to the region aiming for deep runs in NCAA Tournament

The area is well represented on teams in the tournament field

Issa Rayyan garnered ACC Rookie of the Year honors for his standout play as a freshman at Duke
Duke Athletics

The 2018 NCAA Tournament field was released this afternoon and while Princeton and Rider are the only programs in the field in close proximity to Philadelphia there are a number of players with ties to the region, either through the Philadelphia Union Academy, YSC Academy, Reading United and other local clubs and high schools.

Below is a look at what players with ties to the area you’ll want to keep an eye on when games begin Thursday.

To see the bracket, go to

No. 1 Wake Forest
Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grads Justin McMaster and Joey DeZart were both key players this season for the No. 1 overall seeded Demon Deacons. McMaster had five goals and four assists in 16 games and DeZart contributed a goal and a pair of assists playing deeper in the midfield. DeZart has also spent time with Reading United the past two summers.

No. 3 Kentucky
The Wildcats captured the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships, going 17-1-1. Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad Kalil ElMedkhar (Middletown, Del.) had nine goals and 10 assists on the season while fellow Reading United alum JJ Williams led the team with 16 goals and 7 assists.

No. 4 Louisville
The Cardinals won the ACC Championship for the first time with a 1-0 win over North Carolina. Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad Lamine Conte made 18 appearances and 14 starts this season playing as a center back and holding midfielder. Conte spent time with Philadelphia Lone Star prior to joining the Union and has spent the last two summers with Reading United.

No. 5 North Carolina
Union Academy alum Jack Skahan tied for the team lead with seven goals this season and added three assists. Philadelphia Union Academy grad Will Campbell (Wallingford, Pa.) made only two appearances this season and played 21 minutes. Reading United alum Jelani Pieters had a pair of goals and four assists this season.

No. 6 Duke
Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad Issa Rayyan had a very successful freshman season with the Blue Devils, scoring five goals and adding three assists while collecting ACC Rookie of the Year honors. His Union teammate and high school classmate Seth Kuhn (Wyomissing, Pa.) had a pair of assists in 16 games and 7 starts.

No. 7 Notre Dame
Fifth-year defender Patrick Berneski (Warrington, Pa.), who played for the Union Academy and graduated from Central Bucks South, was tied for the team lead with six goals this season pairing at center back with former Continental FC defender Senan Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.). Second-year midfielder Aiden McFadden (West Chester, Pa.), a Penn Fusion Academy alum, had three goals and an assist appearing in all 18 games for the Irish.

No. 9 Stanford
Philadelphia Union Academy and Malvern Prep grad Andrew Aprahamian (Malvern, Pa.) had an assist in 17 games this season playing on the back line. PA Classics alum Ryan Ludwick (York, Pa.) had a pair of assists in 13 games as a freshman.

No. 10 Virginia
Philadelphia Union Academy grad Jerren Nixon did not play this season. Sophomore defender Spencer Patton (Morrisville, Pa.) has made nine appearances, all off the bench.

No. 11 Maryland
Union Academy grad Sebastian Elney had a pair of goals and two assists as a senior.

No. 13 Georgetown
PA Classics alum Sean O’Hearn (Mountville, Pa.) had an assist in 18 starts this season for the Hoyas as an outside back. Fellow PA Classics alum Chris Le (York, Pa.) has seven appearances off the bench while Ethan Heydt (Allentown, Pa.) did not feature for the team as a freshman and Maurice Coyle (New Hope, Pa.) made one start in goal.

No. 16 Syracuse
Reading United alum Hugo Delhommelle had six assists in 17 starts for the Orange this season while Kamal Miller, who played at Reading last summer and in 2016, had an assist in 16 starts. Dylan McDonald (Langhorne, Pa.) made six appearances off the bench.

New Hampshire
Senior defender Nick Miller (Lebanon, Pa.) and freshman defender Michael Clow (Leola, Pa.) both played at PA Classics but neither player featured for the America East champions this season.

Conestoga grad Mason Miller (Berwyn, Pa.) is a sophomore midfielder, Lower Dauphin grad Diego Heredia Soto (Hummelstown, Pa.) is a freshman and Unionville grad Hunter Firment (West Chester, Pa.) is a freshman midfielder on the squad. Miller is the only one of the three to play this season, playing just 14 minutes in two appearances. First-year assistant coach Shane Rineer is a former Haverford College head coach and assistant at Villanova, Amherst and Eastern.

Philadelphia Union Academy alum and Strath Haven High School grad Morgan Hackworth has made 14 appearances and 11 starts this season for the Zips and has three goals and three assists. Reading United alum Ben Lundt has started all but two games for the Zips in goal, earning six shutouts.

The Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference champs feature sophomore forward Matthew Horner (Bordentown, N.J.), senior midfielder Santiago Garcia Castro (Philadelphia, Pa.), junior midfielder/defender Aaron Robinson (Lancaster, Pa.), junior goalkeeper Dalton Wu (Medford, N.J.) and freshman defender Nate Antignani (Garnet Valley, Pa.). Horner made 13 appearances this season off the bench, Castro had a goal and an assist in 20 appearances and three starts, Robinson had a goal in 17 appearances and eight starts and Wu did not play.

Oregon State
Former Villanova defender Nikkye DePoint has been out since making six appearances to start the season.

James Madison
Haddonfield Memorial grad and Match Fit Academy grad Jack Dugan (Haddonfield, N.J.) is a freshman forward on the team, but did not play this season.

West Virginia
Delaware Rush alum Make Coale (Newark, Del.) is a redshirt-sophomore midfielder, Continential FC and Pottsgrove High School alum Rushawn Larmond is a senior forward. Larmond had three goals and an assist in 18 games and six starts this season while Coale played 18 minutes in three appearances.

Michigan State
Freshman defender Olu Ogunwale is a Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad. He made 12 appearances this season for the Spartans.

Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad Andrew Verdi (Ivyland, Pa.) has not made any appearances this season.

Freshman midfielder Frankie DeRosa, a Penn Fusion Academy alum, sophomore Danny Hampton (Marlton, N.J.) and junior forward Moyin Opeyemi (Nazareth, Pa.) are on the squad. DeRosa made 13 appearances and three starts, delivering an assist this season while Opeyemi made two appearances off the bench and Hampton had a goal in six appearances and four starts. Assistant coach Steve Totten is an Allentown native and fellow assistant Ryan Hayward is from Warminster, Pa.

NC State
Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grad Ivy Brisma had a goal and two assists as a freshman with the Wolfpack this season.

Defender Vito Vincent (King of Prussia, Pa.) is on the roster but has not played this season.