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Philadelphia Union prospects to watch in college this fall

With the college soccer preseason underway, a look at Philadelphia Union Academy players to watch this fall

Matt Ralph

Another graduating class from the Philadelphia Union Academy will be entering the college ranks this fall. Here’s a look at the top prospects to watch when the season opens later this month.

Zach Zandi, Midfielder, Villanova
Zandi is coming off a successful run with Reading United, which made it all the way to the Premier Development League final in his third and final season with the team. The playmaking midfielder will look to lead a Wildcats team back to the NCAA Tournament after a down season last year. In addition to helping lead Reading United, Zandi has been a regular in training with Bethlehem Steel FC so he is still very much in the homegrown picture for the Philadelphia Union. It’s tough to see where he would fit in with the crowded midfield the Union currently have but there’s little doubt that he has the ability to play professionally.

Lamine Conte, Defender, Louisville
Few people showed as much growth and development as the former Junior Lone Star FC and Union Academy defender showed last summer in Reading. He followed that up with another solid season pairing with Syracuse standout Kamal Miller at center back this summer and he’ll get a chance to compete against Miller in the ACC at Louisville, where he’ll spend his junior season after helping the University of Mobile make a deep run in the NAIA tournament last fall. Conte played mostly in central midfield with the academy, but has developed into a lockdown defender who is strong in the air and on the ball. It will be interesting to see how his game translates to the mighty ACC.

Jeremy Rafanello, Forward, Penn State
The Delran, N.J., forward had a banner year, leading the Union U19s in goals and earning call-ups to the U.S. Under-19 squad. He was the first recruit former U19 head coach Jeff Cook landed when he took the head coaching job at Penn State and should be able to make an immediate impact as a freshman on a team that will be captained by Reading United standout Aaron Molloy.

Kalil ElMedkhar, Forward, Kentucky
ElMedkhar was a little bit off the radar coming out of the academy but after a solid freshman season at Kentucky he was a regular in the Reading United attack over the summer, scoring three goals and adding three assists in 14 appearances. This fall will be a big season for him back in Kentucky and a chance to become even more involved in the Wildcats attack.

Dawson McCartney, Midfielder, Dartmouth
Outside of Mark McKenzie, Dawson was arguably the biggest prospect entering the college ranks out of the Union Academy last season. He lived up to that promise with an Ivy League Rookie of the Year campaign, scoring a pair of goals and adding eight assists as an attacking midfielder. He was mostly played as a left back this summer with Reading but will return to college as one of the top returning central midfielders in the country.

Other Philadelphia Union Academy Grads in College
D Andrew Aprahmian, R-Fr., Stanford
D Patrick Berneski, R-Sr., Notre Dame
F Daniel Bloyou, Fr., Old Dominion
MF Conor Bradley, Jr., Villanova
D Shane Bradley, Jr., Villanova
F Colin Brezniak, So., George Mason*
MF Iverson Brisma, Fr., NC State
D Rob Campbell, Jr., Delaware
D Will Campbell, R-Sr., North Carolina
MF Kevin Carvalho, Sr., Northeastern
MF Mo Conde, Jr., Florida International
MF Christian Contreras, Fr., Temple
MF Joe DeZart, Jr., Wake Forest
D Peace Drevitch, Sr., Duquesne*
D Freeman Dwamena, So., Cal Poly
F Sebastian Elney, Sr., Maryland
MF Carter Emack, Fr., SMU
D Kevin Escobar, Fr., Delaware
MF Vilbert Fortulus, Fr., Stockton*
GK Matthew Freese, So., Harvard
D Frederick Gil, So., South Florida
D Evan Godfrey, So., Liberty
D Brandon Golden, So., Rutgers
D Chris Gomez, Jr., Lafayette
GK Josh Gotlib, Sr., Franklin & Marshall
F Tiger Graham, So., Dartmouth
MF/D Morgan Hackworth, Sr., Akron
D Brendan Hanrahan, Fr., Penn
D Isaiah Holquist, So., Chicago
F Juan Pablo Infante, So., Gettysburg
MF Nick Jachwak, R-Jr., West Chester
GK Michael Kalpokas, So., Immaculata
GK Cameron Keys, Sr., La Salle
D Garrett Keys, Sr., La Salle
MF Seth Kuhn, Fr., Duke
F Brandon Levano, Sr., East Stroudsburg
F Leon Maric, Jr., Virginia*
F Justin McMaster, So., Wake Forest
MF Josue Monge, So., South Florida
MF Patrick Murphy, So., Drexel
MF Dontrim Nomani, Jr., Saint Joseph’s
F Jerren Nixon, Jr., Virginia
F Liam O’Brien, Fr., Belmont
D Olu Ogunwale, Fr., Michigan State
MF Kurtis Orrson, Fr., Duquesne*
MF Emmanuel Perez, So., Cal Poly
D Ramzi Qawasmy, Fr., Providence
MF Issa Rayyan, Fr., Duke
MF Richie Schlentz, So., Villanova
D John Schroeder, Sr., Delaware
D Nykolas Sessock, Fr., Pitt
D Tanner Shane, Jr., William & Mary*
MF Max Silberg, Fr., Northwestern*
D Ben Silverstein, Fr., Temple*
MF Jake Silverstein, Fr., Temple*
MF Diallo Simon-Ponte, Jr., Fairfield*
MF Jack Skahan, Jr., North Carolina*
F Michael Swift, Jr., Oregon State*
D Andrew Taber, Fr., Liberty*
D Ryan Trapp, So., Delaware*
GK Andrew Verdi, Jr., Michigan
GK Jahmali Waite, So., Fairleigh Dickinson
MF Cody Wax, So., Bucknell*
MF Sean Wilson, R-Jr., Xavier

* Left the academy before completing high school