Colleges in the ACC, Big 10 and Big East will be among the Division 1 schools welcoming freshman from YSC Academy this fall.
Wednesday was the first day — known as National Signing Day — high school seniors could sign National Letters of Intent. Of the 18 boys in the senior class, 14 have committed to colleges.
Anthony Fontana is the lone member of the class who has already signed professionally, having signed a homegrown contract with the Philadelphia Union that became effective in January.
Three seniors who haven’t decided on post-high school plans include Continental FC forward Max Graham and Union U19 teammates Darius Lewis and Iverson Brisma.
Michigan native Issa Rayyan was one of two Philadelphia Union Academy U19 players to sign with ACC school Duke University. Seth Kuhn, of Wyomissing, Pa., is also Durham, North Carolina bound this fall.
“I’m very excited and it means a lot to be joining the Duke family with a lot of other great recruits and a fellow teammate,” Rayyan said on Wednesday. “It was fun to watch them have a good season and I’m looking forward to help bring what I have to the team in the fall! It’s amazing to go to such a high academic school while playing great soccer.”
Jalen Weatherspoon is also heading to North Carolina to join Colonial Athletic Association school Elon University. Weatherspoon, of West Norriton,Pa. is one of four seniors at YSC who plays for Continental FC.
“To sign with Elon to me means I will receive a great soccer and academic experience, and I am also looking forward to developing as a player and to reach my full potential,” said Weatherspoon, who has scored eight goals over the past two seasons for Continental.
Fellow YSC seniors who play for Continental include Liberty University-bound Andrew Taber, Providence College-bound Raimondo Partito and Graham.
Partito will be joining classmate and former Continental teammate Ramzi Qawasmy at the Big East program this fall. Qawasmy was the first YSC student to make the transition from Continental to the Union when he joined the U19 team last summer.
The Big 10 is also gaining a couple Union standouts in Penn State-bound forward Jeremy Rafanello and versatile defender Oluwaola-ayo Ogunwale, who is heading to Michigan State.
Another impressive player joining the Spartan Family is defender @oluuuuuuu from East Brunswick, NJ! Olu is an lightning quick defender from the prestigious @PhilaUnion Academy! #GoGreen #NSD18 pic.twitter.com/XxQEXylBcm— MSU Men's Soccer (@MSUmsoccer) February 7, 2018
Ogunwale, of East Brunswick, New Jersey, called signing with Michigan State “a dream come true.”
“It’s everything I’ve been working so hard for from a young age,” he said. “And I’m really looking forward to the rich traditions and rivalries MSU has to offer as well as being able to play in a competitive conference like the Big 10.”
One thing noticeable about this year’s crop of college signings is that only one (Brendan Hanrahan) (so far) have opted to attend any of the Philly Soccer Six schools. Rafanello was previously verbally committed to Drexel but ultimately chose to sign with former U19 head coach Jeff Cook at State College. The only other in-state school that has landed a Union recruit is Pitt, which has right back Nyk Sessock coming in.
U19 left back Kevin Escobar is staying closest to home, having opted to go to nearby University of Delaware.
As is often the case with even NLIs, a lot can change between now and the start of college training camps opening in August. Some of the seniors could earn a contract offer either for Steel FC or the first team and others could opt to spend a grad year in the academy.
Below is the full list of college commitments as they stand now.
2018 YSC Academy College Commitments
|Daniel Bloyou||F||Old Dominion||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Iverson Brisma||F||Undecided||East Windsor||New Jersey||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Carter Emack||MF||SMU||Birmingham||Alabama||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Kevin Escobar||D||Delaware||East Brunswick||New Jersey||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Anthony Fontana||MF||Philadelphia Union||Newark||Delaware||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Max Graham||F||Undecided||Paoli||Pennsylvania||Continental FC|
|Brendan Hanrahan||D||Penn||Wilmington||Delaware||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Seth Kuhn||MF||Duke||Wyomissing||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Darius Lewis||F||Undecided||Port St. Lucie||Florida||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Liam O'Brien||F||Belmont||Freehold||New Jersey||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Olu Ogunwale||D||Michigan State||East Brunswick||New Jersey||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Raimondo Partito||D||Providence||Philadelphia||Pennsylvania||Continental FC|
|Ramzi Qawasmy||D||Providence||Lansdale||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Jeremy Rafanello||F||Penn State||Delran||New Jersey||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Issa Rayyan||F||Duke||Grand Blanc||Michigan||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Nykolas Sessock||D||Pitt||Holland||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia Union Academy|
|Andrew Taber||D||Liberty||Ottsville||Pennsylvania||Continental FC|
|Jalen Weatherspoon||F||Elon||West Norriton||Pennsylvania||Continental FC|