It was a big weekend for the Derby City Rovers as former and current players for the club were recognized for their hard work and outstanding performances on the field. At the MLS Super Draft on Friday afternoon, 2 former Rovers PDL players, Napo Matsoso and Lindo Mfeka, fulfilled their ambitions as they were selected to play in the highest level of professional soccer in the US. On Saturday, current Rovers Youth Academy player, and University of Louisville signee, Haji Abdikadir, was recognized as an NCSAA All-American for his phenomenal high school season last fall.
The New England Revolution--home of former Rovers PDL player and 2013 MLS Draft #1 pick, Andrew Ferrell--selected Napo Matsoso in the 2nd round of the MLS Draft. Napo, originally from the tiny African nation of Lesotho, played for the Rovers Youth Academy U18s in 2013, leading his team to a runner-up finish in the NPL Midwest Developmental League play-offs where they lost to the eventual NPL national champion Michigan Wolves in a shoot-out. That summer, having just finished his senior year of high school, Napo was given the chance to play with the Rovers PDL side, where he quickly adjusted to higher level of play, establishing himself not only as a starter, but a key contributor in the Rovers midfield. He would go on to have a decorated career at the University of Kentucky where we was selected All-Conference USA for the Wildcats 3 consecutive years. Revolution head coach, Jay Heaps had this to say about the exciting prospect, "From day one to three (at the Combine), you could see continuing every day he was excellent in possession, crafty enough to get out of tight spots, and versatile enough to be a six, an eight or a ten in terms of different roles."
At the annual NSCAA convention, held in Los Angeles this year, Haji Abdikadir was honored as a high school All-American for the tremendous season he had for Louisville Collegiate. A member of the Rovers Youth Academy since 2012, Abdikadir recorded an impressive 40 goals and 12 assists as he lead Collegiate to the All-A State Championship, and the quarterfinals of the KHSAA State Tournament. Haji has committed to play for the perennial NCAA contender University of Louisville in the fall of 2017.
The San Jose Earthquakes selected Lindo Mfeka in the 2nd round of the MLS Draft. Lindo played for the Rovers PDL side in 2012, where as a high school junior, he was given the opportunity to test himself against the highest level of amateur competition in the US. The adjustment period was a quick one for the talented midfielder as he was able to make impact in short order, scoring the game winning goal in a 2-1 victory over PDL powerhouse Michigan Bucks. Those who saw Lindo's performance at the PDL level that season knew he would someday make the jump to the professional ranks.
Napo winning a loose ball vs Chicago Fire PDL (2013)