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Players with local ties to watch in Division 1 men’s soccer this fall

A look at players with ties to the area to keep an eye on this fall

Chris Donovan (left) on the ball with Andres Camacho defending for Villanova in a preseason game on August 17, 2019
Photo by Matt Ralph

The Division 1 men’s soccer season officially kicks off today with a few games around the country and here tonight with Temple hosting Rutgers but really starts to ramp up tomorrow night and through the weekend.

As usual, there are dozens of players either from the Philadelphia area or who are playing for teams in this area that are set to make an impact on the men’s game this fall. Here’s a look at 20 of them.

Kalil ElMedkhar, Kentucky, Jr., Forward, Middletown, Del.
The Philadelphia Union Academy grad and former Penn Fusion Academy attacker had a breakout season in 2018 with 11 goals and 10 assists. He enters his junior season on the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, but will have to lead the UK attack without striker partner JJ Williams, who left early and was drafted by the Columbus Crew.

Lamine Conte, Louisville, Sr., Defender, Philadelphia, Pa.
The Philadelphia Union Academy grad and former Philadelphia Lone Star defender is coming off another big season playing for Reading United in USL League Two and has a lot more attention heading into his second and final season with the Cards.

Senan Farrelly, Notre Dame, Sr., Defender, Havertown, Pa.
Farrelly had a breakout season for the Irish last year and returns after another strong campaign in the NPSL with West Chester United to anchor the back line.

Simon Lefebvre, Temple, Jr., Goalkeeper
The 6-foot-8 Frenchman was integral to Reading United’s second straight trip to the USL League Two final and also spent time training with Bethlehem Steel FC over the summer. He’s going into his second season as an Owl with a lot of confidence and momentum.

Chris Donovan, Drexel, So., Forward, Paoli, Pa.
It’s often hard to predict what kind of impact first-year players will make on college teams, even ones as decorated as former Conestoga star Chris Donovan were entering the college ranks. Chris proved that he was more than ready to make an impact with 3 goals and 3 assists in his first season with the Dragons and is poised to make an even bigger mark this season after impactful performances in the NPSL with West Chester United.

Nykolas Sessock, Pittsburgh, So., Defender, Philadelphia, Pa.
As he was during his career with the Philadelphia Union Academy, Sessock was a steady presence at right back for Pitt in his first season and will look to take another step forward this year with a program that continues to make measurable improvements.

Jahmali Waite, Fairleigh Dickinson, Jr., Goalkeeper
Before Lefebvre took over the starting job down the stretch, Waite was putting together an impressive shutout streak for Reading United over the summer. The Jamaican returns for his junior season looking to build on that success.

Alvin Dahn, Saint Joseph’s, Jr., Midfielder, Liberia
Dahn is a joy to watch on the pitch with his ability to beat defenders with and without the ball. The Phelps School grad had seven goals and 10 assists for the high-powered Hawks attack last year and spent time with Reading United over the summer after impressing in the NPSL in 2018 with Philadelphia Lone Star.

Jalen Campbell, Temple, So., Forward
The Canadian attacker put together an impressive freshman season, especially considering at that at 17 he was the youngest player in pretty much every game he played in. Look for his production to go up after a two-goal, three assist rookie campaign for the Cherry and White.

Justin McMaster, Wake Forest, Jr., Forward
The former U.S. youth international and Union Academy grad from Jamaica was back in the area for a training stint with the Philadelphia Union earlier this summer and with additional departures from the Demon Deacons will play a bigger role in the team. He had six goals and four assists in his sophomore year playing primarily off the bench after a two-goal, three-assist freshman season.

Dawson McCartney, Dartmouth, Jr., Midfielder, Voorhees, N.J.
The Philadelphia Union Academy grad has been a consistent playmaking presence in his first two seasons in the midfield for the Big Green. He’s had five goals and 10 assists through his first two seasons.

Aiden McFadden, Notre Dame, Jr., Midfielder, West Chester, Pa.
After not featuring in his first season the Penn Fusion Academy grad broke into the Irish team as a sophomore and registered three goals and an assist playing primarily as an attacker.

Richie Schlentz, Villanova, Jr., Defender, West Chester, Pa.
The Penn Fusion Academy grad had a notable summer as a key member of a Reading United team that made it to the USL League Two final. The left back will

Will Smith, Lehigh, Sr., Goalkeeper, Devon, Pa.
The former Conestoga and Lehigh Valley United standout has been a starter since his freshman season in 2016 and will look to build on a career record of 24-18-4 and 15 clean sheets through his first three seasons.

Timo Hummrich, Delaware, So., Defender
A freshman of the year in the CAA from a year ago, the 20-year-old German from Hertha Berlin’s system paired with Lamine Conte for much of Reading United’s run to the USL League Two final and will be called on to lead a young Blue Hens team with eight freshmen entering the squad.

Aaron Molloy, Penn State, Sr., Midfielder
Molloy was off trialing with various pro teams this summer and didn’t make any appearances for Reading United after an Open Cup cameo but his ties to the area remain strong and he’s someone who will be talked about as a prospect for the SuperDraft.

Tomas Romero, Georgetown, Fr., Goalkeeper, Cherry Hill, N.J.
The Cherry Hill native played a major role with Bethlehem Steel this season before leaving for D.C. It’s uncertain how much he’ll play in his new environment with a talented Greek keeper Giannis Nikopolidis also on the roster but he goes into college full of confidence and over 1,400 pro minutes under his belt.

Ivy Brisma, NC State, So., Forward
The Philadelphia Union Academy grad from East Windsor, N.J. didn’t waste any time making an impact in Raleigh and finished the season with a goal and four assists in 20 games and 15 starts.

Tonny Temple, NC State, Fr., Forward, Millville, Pa.
The Wolfpack attack will get another boost from the Philadelphia Union Academy this season with Temple, a former United States U17 residency player who will look to make a similar early impression on the college game that former academy teammate Brisma did in his first season.

Leon Maric, Saint Joseph’s, Sr., Forward, Gilbertsville, Pa.
After two years struggling to find playing time with Virginia, Maric returned to the area and found a home in the high-powered Saint Joseph’s attack. The 6-foot-5 target forward who played for FC Delco and the Philadelphia Union Academy in his youth soccer days led the Hawks with 12 goals and made quite the dangerous trio with Alvin Dahn and Ritchie Barry.

A. Mickey Watson, Syracuse, Grad, Defender, Berwyn, Pa.
After being sidelined with injury for his senior season at Loyola Maryland, Watson will play out his eligibility in the ACC with Syracuse.

Luca Mellor, Villanova, Sr., Defender
One of Nova’s clear strengths going into the season will be its back line with the maturity and experience of Mellor and Shane Bradley in the middle. A Manchester United player in his youth before moving on to Bradford City, the Huddersfield, England native is known for his leadership skills and his ability to pass the ball out of the back.

Shane Bradley, Villanova, Sr., Defender, Haverford, Pa.
The Philadelphia Union Academy grad and former Haverford School standout complements Mellor in many ways. Steady since his arrival on campus, he’ll play a key role in the Wildcats hopes to prove people wrong this season and push for another NCAA berth.

Conor Bradley, Villanova, Sr., Midfielder, Haverford, Pa.
Where his twin brother is steady and consistent, playing the same position since his freshmen year, Conor has always been versatile and called upon to play different roles on the team and fill in the gaps. It’s a thankless job most of the time, but one he has excelled at.