Philadelphia Union prospect Issa Rayyan turned a lot of heads as a freshman at Duke University, but for now it appears the Michigan native might be staying in school.
Rayyan is “currently enrolled and taking classes this semester,” according to a Duke spokesperson. Classes started this week.
The ACC Freshman Year of the Year, Rayyan electrified the Blue Devils attack in his first season in college soccer, finishing second on the team in goals with six and dishing out three assists while stretching defenses with his pace and skill on the ball.
Rayyan’s return to campus doesn’t necessarily rule out him turning pro in 2019, either with the Philadelphia Union, another team in MLS should the Union decide to deal his homegrown rights or overseas.
The three previous players named ACC Freshman of the Year all left college early to sign professional deals.
The 2017 award winner, Manny Perez, signed recently with Celtic FC in Scotland after his second season at NC State, 2016 winner Cam Lindley signed with Orlando City as a University of North Carolina sophomore after his homegrown rights were traded by the Chicago Fire and 2015 recipient Jack Harrison is currently playing in England for Leeds United on loan from Manchester City.
The Union currently have seven homegrown players under contract on the first team: Derrick Jones, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Anthony Fontana, Brenden Aaronson, Matthew Real and Matthew Freese. They have yet to sign a player like Rayyan, who was recruited to the academy from outside the Philadelphia area, to a first team contract.
Rayyan recently came in No. 5 on Travis Clark’s list of top college homegrown prospects for MLSSoccer.com. Middletown, Del. native Kalil ElMedkhar, a sophomore at Kentucky, was an honorable mention in the article.