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Villanova announces 2018 recruiting class

A Right to Dream grad, a Richmond Kickers reserve goalkeeper and Bethesda SC captain highlight a class of five incoming freshmen

Ben Severe playing in a game for Bethesda SC against the Philadelphia Union in September 2017
Matt Ralph

Players from four different states and a fifth who is originally from Ghana are heading to Villanova this fall as part of the team’s incoming recruiting class.

Seidu Shamsudeen, a Bolgatanga, Ghana native, is perhaps the most intriguing of the five players announced late last week. Like current Richmond Kickers midfielder Oscar Umar and rising sophomore Theo Quartey, Shamsudeen is a graduate of the Right to Dream Academy and has made an impact on both the high school (Canterbury School in Connecticut), club (Black Rock SC) and academy level (Oakwood Academy) since coming to the U.S.

“He is a dynamic attacking player who loves to score and create chances for others,” head coach Tom Carlin said in a news release. “His ability to run in behind and combine should add a fun dimension to our attack.”

Joining Seidu in the class are two players from the DMV in Richmond United goalkeeper Kent Dickey and Bethesda SC defender Ben Severe.

Dickey is currently a member of the Richmond Kickers in the USL on an academy contract and Carlin expects him to immediately compete for the starting spot with the Carsons (third-year keeper Carson Hunt and second-year player Carson Williams).

“We rated Kent as one of the top goalkeepers in the nation,” Carlin said. “He’s got a great frame at 6’4’’ and is composed with his feet. He will immediately increase the competition at that spot, which is what we want at every position.”

The battle for goalkeeper will be one of the story lines entering the fall season after Will Steiner had the position locked down for four seasons, playing in all 75 of the team’s games over the past four seasons.

While the defense is returning all but one player (left back Chris Bared), they’ll gain a right back with experience wearing the captain’s arm band in Bethesda SC defender Ben Severe.

“Ben is a tenacious competitor and winner,” Carlin said. “He is extremely quick and has the ability to get up and down on the flanks. We ask a lot of our outside backs both in the attack and defensively and we think Ben has the potential to flourish in our system.”

The class (so far) is rounded out by two versatile players who are listed as both defenders and midfielders in Chatham, New Jersey native Mark Forbes (Players Development Academy) and Westport, Connecticut native Dylan Middlebrook (Beachside SC Academy). Both caught the attention of the Wildcats staff at their camp last summer.

“We’re very pleased to bring this group of young men to Villanova,” Carlin said. “Our staff worked diligently to make sure each one of these players brings soccer skill and quality character to our program and community.”