The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, suffered just one defeat during the 2019 season, but finished third in the Mid Atlantic Division at 5-1-8 (23 points).
Long Island ended the year on an 11-game unbeaten run, but fell short of the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Here are the five nominees for the Rough Riders 2019 USL 2 Player of the Year.
Ferriol did just about everything for the Rough Riders in his first season with the club. He had five goals and four assists in 12 games while logging 1,047 minutes. His free kick goal in the 3-3 draw against Ocean City in the regular-season finale on July 14 was deemed goal of the season by head coach Stephen Roche.
“Manu is a terrific player and his class showed throughout the season,” Roche said. “We look forward to seeing where his career takes him after his senior year (at James Madison University). MLS quality for sure.”
An ever-present player throughout the season, Estermann was Mr. Reliable for the Rough Riders. He scored in the 4-1 win against FA Euro on June 19 and logged a team-high 1,230 minutes in 14 matches this summer.
“He was incredibly consistent and was the heartbeat of our team both with and without the ball,” Roche said. “He has an incredible attitude and is a complete pleasure to work with. Any pro team would be getting a fantastic player and person.”
With two goalkeepers signing with USL Championship clubs prior to the season, Long Island was in search of a consistent presence between the pipes for 2019. Up stepped Levine. He conceded just five goals in 10 matches as the Rough Riders had the second-best defense (14 goals allowed) in the Mid Atlantic Division.
“He made some big-time saves throughout the year, most notably away at Reading in the 1-1 draw,” Roche said. “Not only that, he was a great guy in the locker room and another player with a great attitude.”
“We ask a lot of our fullbacks with and without the ball and it’s a testament to his fitness and determination he played so many games in that position,” Roche said. “He has all the tools to be a great pro.”
Zawadzki, a sophomore at Georgetown University, didn’t let his youth show this summer, playing confidently on the ball while dictating games. He scored two goals and added one assist in 10 appearances.
“I knew Sean was good when I signed him but didn’t realize how good,” Roche said. “A guaranteed future pro. I look forward to seeing how his future unfolds.”
BY: Michael LoRé