Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 -- Over the past few years, we've seen a generation of Arizona players hang the cleats. Brad Evans, Danny Cruz, Rob Valentino, and Robbie Findley to name a few. However, during this time, we've seen a new generation of Arizona players emerging.
In 2019, we'll see 16 Arizona players competing domestically in Major League Soccer and the USL Championship. 11 of those players are 23 or younger. Elsewhere, we'll see Arizona players competing in Liga MX and the I-League (India) and of course we'll again see the Arizona ladies killing it again in the NWSL, which doesn't kick off until April 13.
With Major League Soccer and the USL Championship kicking off in a few weeks, I thought it would be a good time to get the Arizona Soccer Association Exports going again. For today's post, we'll take a look back at the 2018 season for each player.
A brief note. All players must have played for an Arizona youth club at some point in their youth. If we have accidentally left a player out, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Vanney, Head Coach, Toronto FC - Tough year for Toronto FC, who after winning the MLS Cup in 2017, failed to qualify for the playoffs finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference.
Rick Shantz, Head Coach, Phoenix Rising FC - Everyone in Arizona should know how this season went. Shantz took over midway through the season and guided Rising to a 15-7-2 record and runner-up finish in the USL Championship.
Michael Rabasca, Head Coach, Toronto FC II - Rabasca took over a winless squad halfway through the USL season and was able to string together a series of positive results.
Major League Soccer
Justen Glad, D, Real Salt Lake - Glad (Tucson) enters his fifth season as a pro and he's only 21-years-old. Last year, he appeared in a career-high 33 matches.
2018 Season: 33 matches
Brooks Lennon, D, Real Salt Lake - Lennon (Paradise Valley) made the transition to right-back look seamless in 2018 as he started in 32 matches while dishing out five assists.
2018 Season: 33 matches, 5 assists
Donny Toia, D, Real Salt Lake - Back to where it all started for Toia in 2011, the Tucson native was traded to Real Salt Lake after the 2018 season. Last year with Orlando City he appeared in four matches.
2018 Season: 4 matches, 1 assist
Tate Schmitt, F, Real Salt Lake - The lone Arizona rookie in MLS, Schmitt (Ahwatukee) signed a Homegrown contract with Real Salt Lake after he wrapped up an incredible four-year career at Louisville scoring 26 goals in 80 matches.
2018 Season: 19 matches, 5 goals, 8 assists (with Louisville)
Luis Robles, GK, New York Red Bulls - Robles (Sierra Vista) enters his 14th professional season, the past eight have all been with the New York Red Bulls. Last year's Robles' starting streak of 183 matches came to an end in May due to an injury. Be he bounced right back. He missed three matches and started the next 22 matches.
2018 Season: 31 matches, 14 shutouts, 84 saves, 30 goals allowed.
Nick DeLeon, M, Toronto FC - During the 2018 offseason, DeLeon (Phoenix) joined Toronto FC. In his last year with D.C. United, DeLeon appeared in 15 matches and notched one assist.
2018 Season: 15 matches, 1 assist
Niki Jackson, F, Colorado Rapids - In his rookie season, Jackson (Scottsdale) scored three goals in 15 matches.
2018 Season: 15 matches, 3 goals
Grant Lillard, D, Chicago Fire - In his rookie season, Lillard (Scottsdale) appeared in eight matches.
2018 Season: 8 matches
Matt Bersano, GK, San Jose Earthquakes - Bersano (Chandler) did not appear in any matches last year with San Jose as he was the backup.
2018 Season: 0 matches
Damian German, F, Real Monarchs - German (Maryvale) wrapped up his college career in 2018. He spent his first three years at GCU and his final at San Diego State. In four years, he appeared in 71 matches and scored 16 goals.
2018 Season: 18 matches, 5 goals, 1 assists (with San Diego State)
Jose Hernandez, M, LA Galaxy II - Hernandez (Maryvale) spent the 2018 season with the Real Monarchs, appearing in 20 matches.
2018 Season: 20 matches, 1 goal
Evan Waldrep, M, Phoenix Rising FC - In his rookie season, Waldrep (Phoenix) appeared in 12 matches and recorded one assist.
2018 Season: 12 matches, 1 assist
Justin Davis, D, Nashville SC - Davis (Litchfield Park) enters his ninth season as a pro. Last year with Nashville SC, he appeaerd in 29 matches and scored one goal.
2018 season: 29 matches, 1 goal
Sam Gleadle, F, Reno 1868 - Gleadle (Phoenix) did not appear in any league matches, but did make two appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2018.
2018 Season: 0 matches
Liga MX (Mexico)
Ventura Alvarado, D, Necaxa - No need to recap the 2018 season, when the 2018/19 Liga MX season is currently being played. So far this season, Alvarado (Phoenix) has appeared in 22 matches with Necaxa who are fourth in the league table.
2018/19 Season: 22 matches
Mason Robertson, F, Real Kashmir - No need to recap the 2018 season, when the 2018/19 I-League season is currently being played. So far this year, Robertson (Phoenix) has appeared in 14 matches and scored three goals for Real Kashmir, who are coached by his father David Robertson. Real Kashmir is currently second in the league table.
2018/19 Season: 14 matches, 3 goals
Julie Ertz, M, Chicago Red Stars - Ertz (Mesa) appeared in 14 matches and was named to the NWSL Second XI.
2018 Season: 14 matches
Sydney Leroux, F, Orlando Pride - Leroux (Scottsdale) appeared in 20 matches, scored six goals, and notched two assists.
2018 Season: 20 matches, 6 goals, 2 assists
Jessica McDonald, F, NC Courage - A banner year for McDonald (Phoenix) who capped it off with being named the NWSL Championship MVP. In the 2018 regular season, she appeared in 23 matches, scored seven goals, and notched eight assists.
2018 Season: 23 matches, 7 goals, 8 assists
Ashley Hatch, F, Washington Spirit - Another strong showing for the 2017 Rookie of the Year, as Hatch (Gilbert) appeared in 22 matches, scored four goals, and recorded one assist.
2018 Season: 22 matches, 4 goals, 1 assists
Cali Farquharson, F, Washington Spirit - Farquharson (Phoenix) appeared in five matches in 2018.
2018 Season: 5 matches
Eredivisie Vrouwen (the Netherlands)
Cassie Miller, GK, PSV Eindhoven: No need to recap the 2018 season, when the 2018/19 Eredivisie Vrouwen season is currently being played. So far this season, Miller (Cave Creek) has appeared in three matches.
2018/19 Season: 3 matches