High School Soccer

Class of 2015 PIAA District 12 college prospects

Many colleges rely on club soccer to recruit. This method is efficient, because at a club tournament for U-17 soccer, the scouts are looking at a whole field of players they can use. If they come out to high school game, there are only a handful of players that are of the right age, and only a handful that have the skills that college programs are looking for.

However, while many of the Public League players are excellent, they play at low profile clubs or no club at all. Not every good player has a family that can afford club prices, sometimes over $2,000 a year. Many families don’t have the time or vehicle to take the kid to club events.

Below is a look at some PIAA District Twelve boys soccer players who have the ability to play college soccer but who have not yet made a college commitment. The selection below is not comprehensive but rather is comprised of a few personal picks.

Interested college scouts can see many of these players at the annual Southeast Pa. All-Star Classic on Sunday, Nov. 30 at Eastern University. Entry is a modest fee of five dollars. Public League Gold Team is playing at 11 am, while Public League Blue is playing at 11:30 am. Video of a scrimmage between the two all star teams is available here.

Delvis Kaliqi (Midfielder/Forward)
Abraham Lincoln High School

At 5’7” and weighing approximately 140 pounds, Delvis Kaliqi is not a big guy, but you notice him in a soccer game. He runs hard, takes simple, deft touches that preserve possession and move the ball. He is a three-year varsity starter, and captained the team during his junior and senior year. He has scored 23 goals in his high school career, including 17 goals and 5 assists in 2014. His coach, Neil Convey, says Delvis always has led by example, working the hardest every practice, pushing his teammates without being overbearing. Coach Convey also points to Kaliqi’s ability to make plays and understand the game. He is both fast and technical. He is also a great student, with a 3.7 GPA. In his junior year he took one honors course and one AP course. As a senior he is taking four AP classes. Delvis was also a member of the student government as a sophomore. Interested college coaches can see Delvis at the All-Star game at Eastern as No. 13 on the Public League Blue Team and can contact Coach Neil Convey of Lincoln High School for mor information

Marshall Drummond (Defensive midfielder/Fullback)
Academy at Palumbo

Drummond is a tenacious defender who has been first team All Public for the previous two seasons in the B division. In the A Division, he earned second team All Public honors. As a four year starter, Drummond amassed 12 goals and 7 assists from a defensive position. Even through a very difficult season in the A division, he established himself as one of the better players on the field with his strength and tenacity. He’s predominantly left footed, 5’9” tall and weighing 170 lbs with above average speed and an incomparable engine to boot. He can defend against the best. He is also a great student, earning good grades at Palumbo, one of the best schools in Philadelphia, scoring 1340 on his SAT (just Math and English). Drummond will be playing as No. 9 on the Public League Blue Team.

David Saie (Striker/Winger)
Academy at Palumbo

Saie was 2013’s B division Player of the Year but was forced to play a much more reserved role on a weaker squad in 2014. His tenacity and effort is off the chart. Although undersized, at 5’6″ and 150 lbs, Saie makes up for it with skill, pace and physicality. Finishing his career at Palumbo with 32 goals and 16 assists over four seasons, Saie is also successful at the competitive Academy, earning a 3.73 GPA while scoring 1210 on his SATs. Saie will be playing on the Public League Blue Team as No. 21.

Coach Jimmy O’Karma said speaking of both Saie and Drummond, “Besides being high quality athletes, these two gentlemen are superb people, and it was an absolute honor to coach them. I’m a better coach because of these two men.”

Jakub Zegar (Center back/Defensive Midfielder)
Central High School

Zegar ran Central’s back line over the last two years, winning one Public League championship, and taking the team to the semifinals as team captain this year.

One story stands out to me about the kind of player Zegar is (full disclosure: I’m his coach at Central). It was the preseason in August, 2013 and it was a ninety degree day — I could feel the desire in the team to take it easy. They were doing a routine keep away drill, working at about fifty percent. Jakub Zegar was vibrantly angry, criticizing his teammates technique and heart. I sat him for a second to cool before he kicked someone’s shin off, but I knew what he was doing. He was saying to himself and his teammates that nothing short of excellence was good enough. Zegar’s displeasure mattered to the team. He is a happy enthusiastic person, and he was — and is each team member’s — friend. If he was unhappy, it wasn’t because he was a grouch, he wanted more. That desire and push led the team to a league championship in 2013.

Physically strong at 6’1” and tireless, Zegar played our final game of 2014 with a sprained ankle, and still was part of the only defense to shut down Northeast for eighty minutes. He’s an A and B student at academically rigorous Central High School.

Jacob Webb (Attacking midfielder/Forward)
Conwell Egan High School

Webb scored 10 goals and had 3 assist his senior year. This is especially impressive considering the organized tough defense that is the norm in the Catholic League. During his four years on the varsity squad he tallied 14 goals and 17 assists. He is a three year captain, and plays his club soccer for the Philadelphia Soccer Club U18 Coppa team.

Webb was a big part of Conwell Egan’s early season run, where the team took league powerhouses La Salle and Prep deep into double overtime, and where they were able to draw with Ryan. He has a 3.3 GPA and is a Peer Mentor for freshman students. He is being recruited for soccer by Philadelphia University, Cabrini, and Holy Family.

Mama Bah (Center back/Defensive midfielder)
Benjamin Franklin High School

Bah was a defensive leader on the team. When the team lost its offensive leader for a few weeks, Mama added goals to his already versatile game. Expect him to perform well in college as his engine is big and his tackling is powerful. Bah played for Father Judge before this year, another proof of his soccer playing pedigree. He’ll be playing on the Public League Gold Team as No. 3.

Mohamed Kamara (Forward)
Prep Charter High School

With only six goals, Kamara might not be the high scorer in the Public League A Division in 2014. This year he was playing on a weaker squad and, though lacking the service he was accustomed to, he still scored. He scored against Central, when he shook free at the eighteen before taking the tenth of second he had to pop a perfect ball up over the onrushing keeper, creating a goal out of nothing. He has scored big goals, including beating Lincoln in second overtime. In 2013, on a stronger side that made the Public League semifinal, Kamara scored 15 goals. He’ll be on the Public League Blue Team as No. 15.


  1. It is so great of you to put this together. I’m all too familiar with the cost and time involved when you kids play high level club soccer. And you’re right, so many kids that are more than capable of playing college soccer will never have the chance because they haven’t been seen by college coaches. I’m going to forward this info to my son’s college coach at Bloomsburg. I think he’ll be out at the All Star Classic game(he was there last year). Good Work 🙂

  2. Josh, many travel teams sponsor players like these. For example one of the payers on your list (Mama; a great kid!) played on Lower Merion Lightning for 3 years. This year he and one other one was dropped for various reasons but last I heard he plays now for Philly Soccer Club. So coaches like you should make sure these type of players who play for you get to play on travel teams. If the kid is too shy to contact the Manager of an existing team then the coach should do it! And plenty do since during the Lower Merion Lightning practices at Bonner we have plenty of kids trying out all season.
    And kids who do not play travel miss out big time. Lower Merion Lightning had circa 80 college coaches look at them last weekend during the first tournament of the U18 travel season. There may not have been many D1 coaches but many kids on the Academy teams end up playing D3 anyway. There is actually one kid playing on the team now who played on an Academy Team since they started. During this weekend more College coaches approached him than had approached him during the whole time he had been with the Academy! Best of all, all these kids played High School soccer and had a ball!

    • Thanks, Guido. We all believe in club, and its wonderful to hear about the sponsorships available. I love it when club and high school work together for the kids and the game.

  3. I respect all comments regarding college soccer, I do, and not to rub people the wrong way, but I look forward to a time (I hope) in the US when the ambitions of our kids/parents/organizers/clubs are not to play soccer in college. When we thoroughly have changed our thinking and our structure, in time I recognize, to produce children and footballers who want/aspire/are driven to someday walk through the tunnel and on to a professional pitch — as the prime mover for their love of the game, then and only then, IMO will soccer have steadfastly arrived in this nation. Once we change our development model to produce professional quality players- then we produce professional quality players. It is without question a mindset.
    My boy loves baseball, loves it and he doesn’t spend one second thinking or dreaming about playing for The Longhorns or Villanova or Pepperdine or Temple or New Hamsphire or West Chester he dreams of playing professionally. The dream fuels the desire for the exceptional, just like in The Sandlot.
    College has its place, but in Europe though, college soccer is for the Intramural type player.

    • I understand what you are saying Joel. But then why are so many US college teams full of European players? My son plays D2 soccer at a state college. The team that won the championship this year for his conference (PSAC) was Mercyhurst…39 player roster 17 are Americans or the #1 National D2 team, Charleston, WV…50 player roster with 35 foreign-born players.
      My son, as well as most kids, are being realistic when it comes to their future. They know playing professionally is probably not going to happen and playing their sport at the college level is the dream. And I don’t think their love of the game is any less than those that do go on to play professionally.

    • Joel, I respectively disagree about all the Europeans that come to play college ball are intramural types, thats not true. Their priorities are different and most don’t want to be professional footballers. Most still come from professional academies and for some reason or another…..they want an American college education. I had Norwegians, French, Spaniards, Nigerians and Liberians on my squad……they were all good ballers, but they had other ambitions. Were they mediocre across the pond….probably, but certainly not intramural players. St. Louis’s leading scorer a few years ago is the forward on the Bosnia national team side that scored to put his squad in the WC. I know thats an exception, but it does happen. Happy Thanksgiving…….Cheers!

      • I understand your point. I don’t mean that the players are intramural types. I imagine they are quite good and well educated in the sport- what I mean is from what I understand, and I could be wrong as I do not have much european personal experience, is that soccer abroad is more akin to club type college athletics and not the organized NCAA driven programs we have here. In other words the quality of play collegiately is higher here than in europe- which if you were from the professional or development academy but wanted to play in higher education it would be ‘better’ quality here. Course it could just as well be they come over here for the cultural and educational immersion too.
        I recognize I was stepping in hot water regarding my first comments and maybe shouldn’t have done it. I took the conversation into a different direction than was intended from the article and the original first post. The art of arguing is enjoyable.
        Enjoy the day.

      • I got you and your correct. In Europe, university sports are recreation and intramural…..real sports are played by clubs and the private sector. Seems to slowly be heading that way here with all sports except for American football. Soccer, Baseball, basketball, tennis……….the best aren’t playing HS sports anymore…..they are going to academies and AAU.

  4. Regarding why so many Europeans play college soccer stateside- It could be because, by comparison, our college athletic programs- namely soccer, are much stronger than other nations but I think that strengthens my argument about the mindset. We hope our kids can play college soccer someday- that is an ideal we parents have culturally. Kids come to American to play collegiately because college soccer does not lead to the pros in other nations. The development model is different because the thinking behind building players is different. Again I do not discredit college soccer but I think it hampers our ability to produce top quality players and that is my ultimate goal.

  5. Most parents would still rather see their child go to grad school than slog it out in the MLS for $42,000 a year. Had a friend that was drafted by the Revs and he was a Harvard grad. His choice was play for the Revs for $35,000 a year…..or go to Wall Street and make six figures instantly. He played one year than said……….I’m going to Wall Street! Unfortunately, this is still where we are at in the States. Remember, football is trade like any other in Europe. Kids in England take their GCSE’s at 16 and pretty much have to decide on what to do in life…….trade, footy, university. In the US, kids don’t decide their life path until their in their 20’s it seems. Additionally, most college coaches are only looking at kids in the DA or that blue chip kid still playing club who networked himself right and went to combines.

    • and its true that not all DA ballers go DI………DIII is loaded with academy kids as well…….

    • half the ballers on my college team were from Europe and Africa…and it was DI. I think they added nothing but a positive environment and it is what a footy locker room should be like. We learned from them and they learned from us……..college coaches need results to keep their jobs……they will look anywhere in the world to help them.

  6. Jimmy OKarma says:

    Thank you for listing the profiles Josh!

  7. The sad part about this is……………….these players mentioned would have probably been picked up by an academy in Europe when they were 9,10, and 11…..if we lived in Europe. They would have been trained and evaluated for FREE. The Academy still focuses on wealthy, suburban kids who can afford the thousands in costs yearly. I know this is changing with the MLS academies with some of them free and some offer scholarships. They all need to be free to get the best talent. The players we watch on TV come, for the most part, from some very tough backgrounds………..like our kids in the Pub. They need to get these kids young….13/14 is too old for the first academy…..10-12 should be the starting points. 13/14, 15/16, 17/18 is too old to develop raw, talented kids.

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