Annual Awards / Reading United AC

PSP 2018 Team of the Year: Reading United

Feature Photo courtesy of Reading United AC

The Philly Soccer Page’s team of the year is Reading United.

From professional through club and scholastic to amateur, only one other team in the area played for a national championship in its primary competition. We judge the PDL to be better quality than NCAA Division 2 and place Reading ahead of West Chester University’s men’s’ team.

Previously undefeated, Reading lost to Calgary Foothills FC of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 4-2 in overtime in the PDL national championship. It was a crushing defeat, coming at home. The loss came only after midfielder Pierre Reedy suffered a leg injury in the 114th minute, and Reading had no more substitutes. Calgary then scored in the 118th and 120th minutes to seal the victory.

Still, the season remained a fantastic one for Reading. First-year head coach Alan McCann was named PDL Coach of the Year. Four Reading players were named all-conference, a league-best: Forward Khory Bennett, midfielder Aaron Molloy, defender Kamal Miller, and goalkeeper Bennet Strutz.

The Golden Rams, who had lost twice before, lost to Barry University of Miami, FL 2-1 on two late second half goals in regulation.

Reading’s being undefeated and the championship host, taking the match deep into overtime, and using of select division one players gives then the nod.

Honorable mention: The amateurs

The aforementioned West Chester University men’s team lost to Barry University of Miami, FL 2-1 on two late second half goals in the NCAA Division 2 title game.

West Chester University’s women ended ranked 25thnationally in the United Soccer Coaches division two final poll.  The same group ranked Misericordia and Messiah sixth and seventh in Division 3 among women’s teams.

Philadelphia Union’s academy sides had fine seasons, but none made it into the final round of nationals at summer’s end-of-season. There is no evidence that other local clubs can challenge the Union’s academy.

There is no scholastic national tournament in high school, only rankings, and rankings reflect reputation and politics as much as they do competitive strength on the field. Salesianum of Wilmington, Del. was ranked eighth nationally in the United Soccer Coaches’ final fall boys’ poll, having once again been Delaware state champs. Villa Joseph Marie of Holland, Pa. was ranked 18th nationally in the same organization’s final fall girls’ poll, having won the PIAA 3A state championship.

PSP’s Josh Trott summarized the Philly Public League season earlier. The Philly Catholic League swept the four city championship games, Strath Haven lost the championship final in 3A, as the only area boys’ team to play for a state title. Haverford School won the Inter-Ac regular season, while Springside Chestnut Hill boys won the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament.

Souderton’s girls won the PIAA 4 A state championship, and Episcopal Academy won the independent schools’ girls’ state title. Landsdale Catholic won the Catholic League and Central won the Public League.

Honorable mention: The pros

Both Bethlehem Steel FC and the Philadelphia Union had good seasons.

The Steel secured the organization’s first ever playoff game victory. Having finished sixth they visited the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, came back twice to tie them in regulation and overtime, and held their nerve to win the penalty kick shootout 8-7.

The Union played in a national championship final, but it was not in their primary competition. While the organization takes the U. S. Open Cup very seriously, the cup is secondary to the league. They set club records in their primary competition and made the league playoffs, but once again did not win there.

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