Earlier this week, we profiled Andre Blake’s big year. The former UConn men’s soccer standout may have to expand his trophy case after this season, but he’s not the only Husky alumni who has turned in a memorable 2020 campaign.
We covered how UConn women’s soccer alums Stephanie Labbe and Rachel Hill did back in August, but you better believe they’ll get the coverage they deserve when the 2021 NWSL season starts up again.
Now, let’s check in with the other former UConn men’s soccer players in the pros.
Jake Nerwinski — Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS)
The 26-year old right back started in 18 of 21 games for the Vancouver Whitecaps this year, logging two goals. In four seasons with Vancouver, Nerwinski started 71 matches in 75 career appearances and has six career assists to go along with his two goals. The Whitecaps missed out on the MLS playoffs — which says a lot considering damn near everyone makes the playoffs in the MLS. Nerwinski’s contract is up at the end of December and Transfermarkt gives him a market value $770,000, so it will be interesting to see what his next move will be.
Cyle Larin — Besiktas (Super Lig)
The Canadian international continues to make a name for himself. Back with Turkish giants Besiktas after being loaned out to Belgian club Zulte Waregem, Larin appeared in nine games across all competitions, including five starts. His conversion rate is insane; he picked up five goals in those nine games, including one in Champions League qualifying, as well as this gem:
The 25-year old centre-forward tore up the MLS for three seasons, pouring in an absurd 43 goals in 87 matches for Orlando City SC. Unfortunately (for us Americans), he’s also a prolific threat for the Canadian national team, with eight goals on 31 caps. Teaming with budding superstars Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David (also both MLS products), Larin could prove to a thorn in the side of the US national team as qualifying resumes in 2021.
Abdou Thiam — Louisville City (USL Championship)
In his second season with USL side Louisville City FC, Thiam — whose historic Husky exploits can be revisited here — appeared in six games with two starts. It was somewhat a reduced role for the striker, who just last season logged three goals and four assists. Nevertheless, Lou City FC made the USL semifinals, and the club picked up his option for 2021, so perhaps a normalized preseason can help Thiam return to form.
Dayonn Harris — Real Monarchs (USL Championship)
Rule number one of writing about UConn soccer: always clump Thiam and Harris together. Harris, the 20th pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake, turned in a successful rookie campaign for the club’s USL side Real Monarchs. He appeared in 14 games, starting 11 and logging three assists.
Here’s a press release write-up of one of Harris’ dimes. Sound familiar?
“In the 18th minute, midfielder Dayonn Harris sent a long ball towards (Julian) Vazquez, who fired a left-footed shot past the keeper and into the net for the equalizer.”
Harris’ contract expires at the end of this month, so stay tuned to see what the future holds for the dynamic winger.
Kwame Awuah — Forge FC (CPL)
The 24-year old midfielder still plies his trade for Forge FC in the Canadian Premier League. This year, Awuah appeared in six matches, logging a goal and assist apiece. His one goal was a cracker, though:
George Fochive — Hapoel Kfar Saba (Israeli Premier League)
My apologies to George for missing him in an earlier iteration! The 28-year old midfielder is currently with Hapoel Kfar Saba of the Israeli League. In 2019, playing for Hapoel Hadera, Fochive started 19 of 20 games.
Jacob Hauser-Ramsey, Dylan Greenberg
The center-back made three appearances for USL Championship side Memphis 901. Greenberg, meanwhile, plays for Olympians FC in Division 1 of the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL). He’s on a strong side too; Olympians currently sits at 7-0-1 overall.
Nikosi Burgess played six games for FC Dallas’ USL team, registering a goal and assist. And apparently he saved a life?
Carlos Alvarez played in 14 games and scored one goal for USL Championship side San Diego Loyal, who for the uninitiated is coached by awesome guy Landon Donovan.
Jake Dengler did not see the field for Loudoun FC, while Austin Aviza appeared in 11 matches for Orlando City FC’s USL squad and has this impressive save to show for it: