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San Diego United Futbol Club Class of 2017

San Diego United Futbol Club Class of 2017

Although it is one of San Diego’s younger soccer clubs, San Diego United Futbol Club (UNITED) has a long list of alumni players that have progressed to become collegiate soccer players. A club that accepts players from U8 to U19, 2017 will be the second generation of players who joined the club 9 years ago, who are now moving on to college. Very connected within the community, UNITED has also created a relationships with local high schools, where their players attend.

“San Diego United, Sami Nedjar, and Jason Heth are everything that is right about youth soccer,” said Chassion Griggs, Crawford High School Boys Varsity Head Coach. “Because of their commitment to helping players, two of our Crawford High School players, Aweyso Aweyso and Tin Nguyen, have signed NLI’s to play in college. UNITED has not only helped our current team, but helped changed the entire trajectory of Crawford Soccer.”

Here’s a look into UNITED players that signed college commitments earlier this month. SoccerNation’s Andrea Amaro had a chance to speak with five of the six players, their parents, and coach.

San Diego United Futbol Club

Listed in alphabetical order by first name. 

Ally Fordham, Mercer University
AA: How excited are you about attending Mercer University?
AF: I am very excited to be attending Mercer University. This school has been on the top of my list since I started looking into colleges.

AA: What were you looking for in a school?
AF: I was looking for a school that had my degree, was a little smaller when it came to school size and class size, and one that gave me a good feeling whenever I was on campus.

AA: Are you worried about transitioning to play soccer in the East Coast weather?
AF: I am not worried about playing in the weather but I am curious as to how different it will be than San Diego.

AA: How much did UNITED/your Coaches assist/prepare you for college?
AF: All of my coaches at UNITED have contributed to the player I am today. Coach Sami was a huge help for me with college, not only helping me get recruited but helping me prepare to play at the next level.

AA: What has been your most memorable moment with UNITED?
AF: It is hard to pick one moment because I have played with this club since the first year it started. I have many memorable moments with some teammates who I have played with since the first year of United, some that have to do with our juggling games, some that come from our out of town tournaments and ones that come from a parents versus kid game.

Parents, Tom & Stacy Fordham: 
AA: How many years has Ally played for UNITED?
T&S: Ally has played for San Diego United since she starting playing club soccer at the age of 8. They provided such a great soccer home/upbringing for her.

AA: How proud are you of her?
T&S: It’s hard to put into words how proud we are of her. Ally works so hard in EVERY aspect of her life. And we are just so happy all her hard work is paying off. As far as the recruiting process goes, what most people don’t realize is that so much of it is in the effort put in by the players themselves. They really do recruit themselves! The night Ally officially committed to Mercer is a night we’ll never forget. It was very emotional because all we knew was that she deserved it…she deserved a chance at her dream. We know she will continue to work hard in this next chapter of her life.

AA: How do you feel about her moving to the East Coast?
T&S: It’s bitter sweet. We are so excited for her but at the same time we are going to miss her like crazy.

AA: Would you recommend UNITED for players looking to become collegiate athletes?
T&S: Absolutely. Ally has had amazing coaches at San Diego United who not only care about her on the field but also off the field. When she started approaching the age of high school San Diego United provided so much support for this transition in her life. Support and aid in both high school soccer transition and the beginnings of college recruiting…all the way to finding that right home, that right fit, when it comes to colleges. Sami Nedjar who is Ally’s current coach and has had her for the last couple years has been a tremendous asset in the college recruiting process. Not only did Ally receive help the actual process but she also had emotional support as well. This is just as important in our opinion.

Coach Sami Nedjar:
AA: What will Ally bring to the Mercer University team?
SN: I look forward to Ally joining up with the Mercer Bears in the Fall of 2017. Her best assets are her ability to work well with all her teammates, her knack of winning air balls and her strong desire to succeed. I am very confident that she will be a great addition to the Mercer University community!

Aweyso Aweyso, CSU Dominguez Hills

AA: How excited are you about attending CSU Dominguez Hills?
AA: I am really excited about attending CSU Dominguez Hills. That’s a school that will challenge me academically and athletically.

AA: What were you looking for in a school?
AA: When I attended the school visits I had to be honest with myself. I always told myself I don’t want to go anywhere that I would struggle academically or feel homesick, since I am a big family person. CSU Dominguez Hills campus is nice, it reminds a lot of my high school Crawford with the diversity.

AA: Are you glad you will be close to home?
AA: I’m really happy to be close to home, its close and far enough for me to get the full college experience.

AA: How much did UNITED/your Coaches assist/prepare you for college?
AA: UNITED has assisted me big time, and I am grateful for that. The biggest aspect that had an impact on me, is the SD United camps that college coaches attended to run drills and talk about the college experience from their perspective.

AA: What has been your most memorable moment with UNITED?
AA: My most memorable moment with UNITED was when we beat the number one team in the nation 1-0. It was a special moment for me because I was lucky enough to play the sport I love with a great group of boys.

Ginger Deel, James Madison University

JJ Gaeir, Point Loma Nazarene
AA: How excited are you?
JG: I am super excited about attending Point Loma Nazarene!

AA: What were you looking for in a school?
JG: Honestly, I wanted to go to a school where I could play soccer and get a good education at the same time.

AA: Are you glad you will be staying in San Diego?
JG: Yes. There is no better place to live than San Diego and it is a bonus that I will be close to home.

AA: How much did UNITED/your Coaches assist/prepare you for college?
JG: UNITED is the reason I’m playing in college. Thanks to the coaches, specifically Sami Nedjar, for really motivating me to play at the next level. On top of that he communicated with colleges; putting my name out there.

AA: What has been your most memorable moment with UNITED?
JG: My best memory was playing on the same team as my brother for a couple seasons; that team in general was amazing and there are lots of friendships that Iv’e made that will last forever.

Parents, Jake & Laurel Gaeir:
AA: How many years has JJ played for UNITED?
J&L: JJ has played for United since the club opened roughly 10 years ago.

AA: proud are you of him?
J&L: We are very proud of what he has accomplished in the classroom and on the field. He has worked very hard for this opportunity.

AA: Are you glad he will be staying in San Diego?
J&L: Absolutely, If things go well we will get to watch him play home games overlooking the ocean.

AA: Would you recommend UNITED for players looking to become collegiate athletes?
J&L: Yes, United has been instrumental in helping find opportunities for both of our boys. From college nights to camps to individual meetings we have been helped through the entire process.

Coach Sami Nedjar:
AA: What will JJ bring to the Point Loma Nazarene team?
SN: JJ’s strengths are his ability to create for others, his versatility and his passion to play the game. I think his positive energy will be welcomed at PLNU.

Sydney Gilbert, CSU Northridge
AA: How excited are you about attending CSU Northridge?
SG: I am beyond excited to be attending Northridge in the fall! Something about the whole atmosphere immediately captivated my attention, so I am very eager to get up there and experience it all for myself.

AA: What were you looking for in a school?
SG: I wasn’t very critical about what I wanted in a school at first. After visiting Northridge though, it made me realize that I did want to be in a big school atmosphere. On one of my visits up there, I really appreciated how small the class sizes were relative to how many students are enrolled. The most important part of my school search was that they had my intended major of kinesiology. Northridge did, and being in LA it was a very promising option due to the abundance of sports programs in the city, whether professional, collegiate, or high school.

AA: Are you glad you will be close to home?
SG: I am very happy to be close to home! It will be comforting to know that my own bed is a short road trip away to visit on the weekends. Also, friends and family will be able to come see me play whenever they get the chance, which is very exciting. LA isn’t a city I have really seen since I have lived in San Diego all my life, but since I’ve heard so much about it I am ready to do some exploring of my own.

AA: How much did UNITED/your Coaches assist/prepare you for college?
SG: San Diego United and its coaches are the ones who I owe my success to. I grew up playing there, joining the club when it first started back in 2008. The coaching staff attributed to all my success, starting with Coach Robert Romero all the way through Coach Sami Nedjar. They really focus on the development of skill to make sure their players are competing at the highest level possible. The help from Kyle Hagenburger when he was college coordinator helped tremendously as well. He really assisted in teaching me the college process and helping me to connect with the coaches.

AA: What has been your most memorable moment with UNITED?
SG: There are so many memories that I have had with this club. At this moment I would have to say the best memory is when my current team won the Albion Cup National Showcase. It was a very strenuous weekend of soccer, and the championship game came down to golden goal overtime. It was approaching the last few minutes and I scored the game winning goal, which was an awesome moment for me and I was happy that my team and I had fought so hard to win the tournament!

Mother, Trisha Gilbert:
AA: How many years has Sydney played for UNITED?
TG: She has played for UNITED for 9 years, since she was 10 years old.

AA: How proud are you of her?
TG: Overwhelmingly proud!

AA: Are you glad she will be close to home?
TG: Absolutely, I like the fact that she is close enough that we can travel to see her play. Most of all, she is close to home and we hope to see her as often as possible.

Coach Sami Nedjar:
AA: What will Sydney bring to the CSU Northridge team?
SN: Syd will bring the following strengths to the Matador soccer program: she is driven to succeed, she is a ball winner and she has loads of athleticism! I think
they will be very happy with her at CSUN.

Tin Nguyen, CSU East Bay
AA: How excited are you about attending CSU East Bay?
TN: I’m really excited, I can’t wait to play my first year of college soccer.

AA: What were you looking for in a school?
TN: I was looking for a great four years of college, to prepare myself for real life.

AA: How much did UNITED/your Coaches assist/prepare you for college?
TN: UNITED and my coaches helped me a lot. They not only gave me the opportunity to play club soccer but helped me on my techniques. They also helped me connect with college coaches. Without their help I wouldn’t have been able to make it to play soccer for CSU East Bay.

AA: What has been your most memorable moment with UNITED?
TN: The first day I came to try out for UNITED was the most memorable moment, because it was the first time I tried out for a soccer club, and it was a great experience.

Parent, Thang Nguyen:
AA: How proud are you of him?
TN: We are extremely proud of Tin, especially because he will be the first generation to attend a four year university.

AA: What advice would you give as parents, to players looking to become collegiate athletes?
TN: Don’t give up and keep chasing your dreams, there are a lot of opportunities, you just have to work hard to achieve it.

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