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Villanova loses key player, gains grad transfer

Nikkye DePoint is heading west to Oregon State while Wisconsin grad Enda O’Neill has come to Villanova for his final season

Nikkye DePoint in a spring game against Bethlehem Steel FC in February 2018
Matt Ralph

Villanova’s back line will have a different look this fall with stalwart center back Nikkye DePoint heading west to Oregon State.

DePoint recently announced that he will transfer to the Pac-12 school to play out his final two seasons of eligibility.

“Nikkye did a great job for our team over the past two seasons,” head coach Tom Carlin said. “Oregon State is getting an experienced leader with a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016. He is going to do a great job for them.”

The Rochester native, a former U.S. youth international, has been a regular in central defense for the Wildcats, playing in 32 games over his freshman and sophomore seasons. Though primarily a center back he has also spent some time at left back.

DePoint said Oregon State’s new head coach — former Virginia assistant Terry Boss — was a draw for him to the school.

“Coach Boss has always been a coach I’ve wanted to work with and when I saw he had made the switch to Oregon State I became very interested as the Pac-12 offers a lot of exposure and competition to help me become a pro one day,” DePoint said.

Part of a stellar 2016 recruiting class that included defenders Shane Bradley and Sean Teixeira (both of whom also stepped in and started as freshman), DePoint helped the Wildcats to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2016.

“I learned a lot about myself as a player and person,” DePoint said of his time at Villanova. “I was happy to make history in being apart of the first Villanova men’s soccer team to make it to the NCAA Tournament.”

While DePoint’s departure is a big loss for a Villanova team trying to get back to the tournament after a frustrating year in 2017, they appear to have filled the position for this fall with an experienced defender who won a Big 10 championship last season in Enda O’Neill.

“It is not often than you can add a graduate transfer who was the captain of an NCAA Sweet 16 team,” Carlin said. “He is an intelligent, tough, defensive-minded player who also has a good range with his passing.”

The Colorado Rapids Academy alum has made 45 appearances and 40 starts at Wisconsin over the past three seasons. While primarily a center back, he brings the versatility of being able to play outside back and holding midfielder. He’ll join a back line anchored by Bradley, a Philadelphia Union Academy grad and Teixeira, who came out of the New York Red Bulls Academy.

The only other departure from the back line is left back Chris Bared, who finished his college career last fall. West Chester native Richie Schlentz spent time playing left back in the spring.