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Union Academy midfielder verbally commits to Virginia Tech

U17 midfielder Nick Blacklock plans to head to Blacksburg in 2019

Nick Blacklock gets a defender going the wrong way in a game against PA Classics in 2017
Matt Ralph

Philadelphia Union Academy midfielder Nick Blacklock still has a season and a half left of his academy career, but he’s already thinking ahead to playing college soccer in the ACC.

The 16-year-old from Hellertown, Pa. in the Lehigh Valley verbally committed to Virginia Tech on Friday.

“I really liked Virginia Tech because of the coaches,” Blacklock said. “They are a very experienced staff, and when I was with them, they all seemed to have great chemistry and a real togetherness about them. The team reflected that, too.”

The Hokies are coming off a 10-10-0 season in 2017, a year after stunning a lot of people with a 13-5-4 season and a 3-4-1 mark in the always difficult ACC.

While he was known in his U14 days in the academy as a goal scorer - he had 16 goals in 21 appearances in first season with the Union in 2015-16 - it’s his technical skill and ability to take defenders on 1v1 that have stood out as he’s moved up to an older age group. He typically plays out wide on the left, but can also be employed more centrally as he was in a recent GA Cup match against the New York Red Bulls.

“I see myself fitting in with the Hokies playing style because they play a possession based style, but also know when to go forward,” Blacklock said. “Also, the coaches encourage you to showcase yourself in the final third, which is great for a player like me.”

Blacklock, a former Lehigh Valley United player, is the fourth from the YSC Academy class of 2019 to verbally commit to college, joining Brenden Aaronson (Indiana), Tomas Romero (Georgetown) and JD Wagner (Naval Academy).