TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League, one of the most prominent Division II leagues in the world, announced on Wednesday the 2017 USL All-League Teams, honoring the top performers from the 2017 USL Regular Season. Three teams earned a pair of First Team selections, with players from 2017 USL Regular Season Champion Real Monarchs SLC, Reno 1868 FC and San Antonio being rewarded for their stellar seasons.
The 2017 USL All-League Team was voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.
Four players earned their second USL All-League First Team selections, with the forward line of 2017 USL Golden Boot-winner Dane Kelly of Reno 1868 FC, Real Monarchs SLC’s Chandler Hoffman and the Charlotte Independence’s Enzo Martinez leading the honorees. FC Cincinnati defender Harrison Delbridge was also honored for a second consecutive year.
Kelly was joined on the First Team by 1868 FC teammate and USL Assists Champion Chris Wehan, while Reno defender Jimmy Ockford earned All-League Second Team honors, as the 2017 expansion side’s historic season saw three players recognized by the voters.
Hoffman’s teammate with the Monarchs, Sebastian Velasquez, also earned First Team selection after the duo played a key role in a breakout year for Real that saw the club win its first silverware.
San Antonio’s outstanding defense was recognized with a pair of First Team selections, with goalkeeper Diego Restrepo and defender Sebastien Ibeagha being named to the First Team. SAFC midfielder Billy Forbes was named to the All-League Second Team, rounding out San Antonio’s trio of players.
The Charleston Battery led all teams with four players honored, with the club’s best regular-season finish in the USL era bringing First Team honors for defender Forrest Lasso and Second Team honors for defender Taylor Mueller, midfielder Justin Portillo and forward Romario Williams.
The finalists for the 2017 USL Awards will be announced on Thursday, preceding the 2017 USL Cup, which will air live on ESPNU, the WatchESPN app and be simulcast on SiriusXM on Monday, November 13 at 9 p.m. ET as Eastern Conference champion Louisville City FC faces Western Conference champions the Swope Park Rangers at Slugger Field.
2017 USL All-League First Team
GK – Diego Restrepo, San Antonio FC: Restrepo led the USL with 12 shutouts, while also posting a 76.4 save percentage and a 0.80 goals-against average for the best defense in the USL.
D – Paco Craig, Louisville City FC: Craig led Louisville with 71 interceptions and 112 clearances, as City recorded 12 regular-season shutouts, while also scoring two goals and notching two assists.
D – Harrison Delbridge, FC Cincinnati: Delbridge led the USL with 120 interceptions and scored three goals, as the big center back proved a continual threat from set pieces.
D – Sebastien Ibeagha, San Antonio FC: Ibeagha marshalled an SAFC backline that conceded a league-fewest 24 goals and posted a league-high 15 shutouts, while recording a league-high 190 clearances.
D – Forrest Lasso, Charleston Battery: Lasso finished in the top five in the USL with 27 blocked shots, and he also recorded six goals to finish second in the league among defenders, playing an important role in Charleston’s attack.
M – Marcel Schäfer, Tampa Bay Rowdies: The former German international finished tied for second in the USL with 11 assists and scored five regular-season goals in a stellar first year for the Rowdies.
M – Sebastian Velasquez, Real Monarchs SLC: Velasquez recorded nine goals and six assists for the Monarchs, and he made 37 key passes from open play to help the Monarchs claim the USL Regular Season Championship.
M – Chris Wehan, Reno 1868 FC: Wehan took the USL by storm in his rookie season, leading the USL with 12 assists while adding eight goals, as 1868 FC set a league record with 75 regular-season goals.
F – Chandler Hoffman, Real Monarchs SLC: Hoffman had a career-high 16 goals and seven assists in the regular season to help the Monarchs claim the USL Regular Season Championship.
F – Dane Kelly, Reno 1868 FC: The USL’s all-time regular-season scoring leader claimed the USL Golden Boot for the first time with 18 goals, which helped earn his first call-up to Jamaica’s National Team.
F – Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence: Martinez built on a stellar 2016 season with even bigger numbers, finishing tied for second in the league with 16 goals while adding five assists.
2017 USL All-League Second Team
GK – Earl Edwards Jr., Orlando City B: Edwards finished seventh in the USL with 80 saves in the regular season, and his 75.2 save percentage was the highest among the top 10 in saves in the league.
D – Ryan Felix, Rochester Rhinos: Felix tied for the Rhinos’ team-high with 70 interceptions and recorded an 80 percent success rate winning 48 tackles, as the Rhinos conceded the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference.
D – James Kiffe, Sacramento Republic FC: Kiffe played every minute of the regular season for Republic FC and was a strong two-way performer with a team-high 61 key passes and 64 interceptions.
D – Taylor Mueller, Charleston Battery: Mueller put in another strong year for the Battery, finishing second in the USL with 163 clearances while also recording 59 interceptions and 27 blocked shots.
D – Jimmy Ockford, Reno 1868 FC: Ockford led 1868 FC with 2,669 minutes and finished third in the USL with 159 clearances while recording 70 interceptions. The center back also scored four goals when called into attack on set pieces.
M – Vincent Bezecourt, New York Red Bulls II: Bezecourt picked up where he left off for the 2016 USL Cup champion, finishing tied for second in the league with 11 assists while adding six goals and 66 key passes.
M – Billy Forbes, San Antonio FC: Forbes had a dynamic season for SAFC, leading the team with 10 goals while leading the USL with 71 completed dribbles and notching 37 key passes from open play.
M – Justin Portillo, Charleston Battery: Portillo played every minute of the regular season and completed 1,415 passes, good for third in the USL, while recording six goals, six assists and 60 key passes.
F – Juan Pablo Caffa, Tulsa Roughnecks FC: The Argentinean playmaker led the Roughnecks to their first postseason appearance in his first season at the club, as he recorded nine goals, eight assists and 66 key passes.
F – Corey Hertzog, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: Hertzog earned a second consecutive Second Team selection after another sterling year for the Riverhounds – which saw him record 14 goals and 49 key passes.
F – Romario Williams, Charleston Battery: Williams surpassed his strong 2016 display for the Battery with 15 goals in 22 games at a rate of a goal every 114.3 minutes while on loan from Atlanta United FC.
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Every game of the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs through the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will be available on the league’s Match Center, with updates from across the league also available via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The 2017 USL Cup will air live on ESPNU and SiriusXM FC on Monday, Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. ET
The USL is one of the most prominent Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, with 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces for the 2017 season. In total, the USL reaches a population of 75 million people, fueling the growth of professional soccer across North America.
In 2016, more than $100 million were invested league-wide into stadium infrastructure to create venues that deliver an unforgettable fan and competitor experience. The USL has national media partnerships with ESPN and SiriusXM, and recently invested $10 million to create USL Productions – which includes a state-of-the-art facility that will produce and distribute nearly 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners, local affiliates, USL’s Match Center and international markets.
A growing league, the USL has more than doubled in size since 2014, with Ottawa Fury FC, Reno 1868 FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies debuting in 2017. Nashville SC is the first club set to join the league for 2018. Beyond league play, the USL regularly features international exhibitions against leading Premier League, Liga MX, and Bundesliga clubs, among others.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., the USL provides unparalleled club support with a growing team of more than 50 professionals across 17 departments, ranging from operations to marketing, communications and sponsorship. Follow the USL at USLSoccer.com, the USL Match Center, and on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.