Photo: Courtesy of Glen Riegel/Reading United
Reading United A.C. have reached the Premier Development League playoffs in each of the last five seasons. The club has also earned its fifth straight berth in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a new amateur record. Top that off with placing twenty-five former players in professional leagues throughout the United States and Europe. The 2013 edition of Reading United are set to kickoff the new season on Saturday, May 11 (7pm kickoff at Exeter HS Don Thomas Stadium) with another tremendously talented squad and lofty expectations.
Those expectations are high because Reading United Head Coach Brendan Burke, new Associate Head Coach Ged Quinn, assistant coach/GK Coach BJ Callahan, and Technical Director Troy Snyder, have assembled United’s most star studded squad to date. Burke enters his sixth season as United’s Head Coach with a career record of 57-10-13 and the club has not missed the playoffs during his tenure.
Reading Head Coach Brendan Burke offered, “We are all excited for this season to start Saturday night, as we have seen so many talented players come through our program in the past few years and go on to become big names in MLS and this years team should be no different.”
Associate Head Coach Ged Quinn, who has been with the team for their initial training sessions, said, “It’s been great to get the guys back out on the field in preparation for this Saturdays game. The competition level is already showing amongst the boys and as the numbers grow at practice over the next few days I’m sure this will only intensify. Returning players Dante and Manolo have looked sharp in the first two trainings and the battle for the starting ‘keeper spot looks like it’s going to be a good one with John McCarthy and Alex Bono both impressing. The new faces are also adjusting to the tempo of the sessions and seem to be raring to go for the game this coming weekend.”
Reading United kick off their 2013 PDL campaign on May 11th against the much improved Westchester Flames. United will want to pick up as many points as possible in May prior to hitting the challenging portion of their schedule in June. Home matches with Mid-Atlantic Division challengers, the Jersey Express and Ocean City FC, and a road showdown with the Long Island Rough Riders will be critical to United’s quest to reach the playoffs. The division championship will likely be decided on July 14 when Reading travel to Ocean City to take on the Nor’Easters at Carey Field.
Steve Neumann: The New Hope, Pennsylvania native headlines the 2013 roster and enters the season as Reading’s new captain. Neumann burst into national prominence at the 2012 NCAA College Cup, scoring a hat-trick against the Maryland Terrapins in the national semifinal match. The Georgetown midfielder, considered to be a top prospect in next January’s MLS SuperDraft, is entering his third season with Reading United. Coach Burke is thrilled to have the talented attacking midfielder key his offense for 2013. “We believe that this is a player with special qualities and a player that also works very hard on a daily basis, we are very excited to have Neumann lead the group this year.”
Darius Madison: The Philadelphia native, FC Delco product, and Philadelphia Union Academy graduate is a name with which many Union fans are familiar after having played in several Reserve League matches for the Blue and Gold. The dynamic forward from the University of Virginia has the ability to break open a match with his incredible pace.
Damion Lowe: The Jamaican U-20 national team member will be the anchor of United’s 2013 defense. The powerful 6’3″ center back from Hartford University represented Jamaica at the most recent CONCACAF Under-20 Championships in Mexico. Lowe returns to United for his second season after playing in two PDL matches last season while also gaining valuable experience with Reading’s Super 20 team.
Players to Watch
Alex Bono: The 6’3″ Syracuse goalkeeper was named Big East Rookie of the Year in 2012, starting 19 matches for the Orange and posted ten shutouts. Bono is a member U.S. U-18 National Team player pool. In April, Top Drawer Soccer named the Baldwinsville, New York native as one of the top ten goalkeepers in college soccer.
John McCarthy: McCarthy joins Reading United as a three year starter in goal for LaSalle University. The Cinnaminson, New Jersey net minder has PDL experience with Ocean City FC where, in 2012, he turned in a PDL All Eastern Conference performance for the Nor’Easters when he posted ten wins and miniscule 0.714 goals against average to help OCFC win the Mid-Atlantic Division. Like his new teammate, Alex Bono, Top Drawer Soccer named the LaSalle senior as one of their top ten goalkeepers in college soccer.
Ben Sweat: Burke has recruited another top prospect to fill the left back spot vacated by Bucks County native and L.A. Galaxy rookie Greg Cochrane. The Palm Harbor, Florida native is considered to be the premier outside back in the 2013 senior class. Sweat, who attends the University of South Florida, can shut down the opponent’s right side and will aid in United’s attack when he goes forward.
Reading United’s 2013 Roster
Goalkeepers (3): Alex Bono, John McCarthy, Ciaran Nugent.
Defenders (8): Shane Campbell, Wes Charpie, Jonny Dolezal, Damion Lowe, Billy McConnell, Keegan Rosenberry, Patrick Slogic, Ben Sweat
Midfielders (14): Fatai Alashe, Kadeem Dacres, Cesar Lopez-Castillo, Dante Marini, Steve Neumann, Jimmy Ockford, Aleksi Pahkasalo, Roberto Pimentel, Jason Plumhoff, Marcus Salandy Defour, Manolo Sanchez, Melvin Snoh, Jordan Vale, Brad Vanino
Forwards (6): Stephen Baker, Bryce Follensbee, Darius Madison, Larry Ndjock, Mario Pinto Neto, Jamie Vazquez