Old Dominion University has landed a second Philadelphia Union Academy recruit with a verbal commitment from U17 midfielder and Marco Bla.
Bla, a holding midfielder who is part of the 2019 graduating class at YSC Academy, said the size of the school, its campus and the distance and accessibility by train all factored into his decision.
So too did the fact that his friend and classmate Daniel Bloyou recently signed a National Letter of Intent to join the program this fall.
“I refer to him as my brother from a different mother because we do everything together mostly,” Bla said.
The Monarchs had a banner year in 2017, amassing a 13-5-2 record while winning the Conference USA Tournament and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a 2-0 upset of NC State. Their tourney run was stopped by eventual finalists Indiana.
“I can say it’s similar to the Union Academy environment,” said Bla, who is known for his athleticism and work rate.
The 16-year-old, who moved to the U.S. in 2012 from Côte D’Ivoire, joined the academy during the 2015-16 season after being discovered playing for his middle school team at Penn Wood Middle School in Darby. He was featured in the short film Earn Your Place: Inside the Union Academy that was released early last year.
He’s the second player from the U17s to verbally commit to a school in Virginia in recent weeks. Nick Blacklock verbally committed to Virginia Tech for 2019 earlier this month.