PLAINVIEW, N.Y. – The Long Island Rough Riders, exclusive PDL affiliate of New York City FC, today are pleased to announce the signings of Nathaniel Crofts Jr. and Robin Afamefuna for the upcoming 2018 season.
Crofts Jr., a forward, and Afamefuna, a defender/midfielder, both play collegiately at the University of Virginia. The No. 11 Cavaliers went 12-4-5 last fall, losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Crofts Jr. had two assists in 21 games (21 starts) for UVA as a freshman in 2017. He played club soccer for Sheffield United FC in England growing up.
“Nat is an exciting winger who likes to take people on and get balls into the box,” Rough Riders first-year head coach Stephen Roche said. “He’s young, but starting every game as a freshman at Virginia says a lot. He’s got something special about him.”
Afamefuna, who played in the UEFA Youth League with Borussia Mönchengladbach’s club team from 2013-16, had one goal and one assist in 36 games (28 starts) for the Cavaliers. The German was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2016, starting 17 of 20 games at left back for the Cavaliers.
“Robin is a very technical and versatile left-sided defender who could play in a few different positions for us,” Roche said. “He takes care of the ball which will be important for us and is a very good 1-v-1 defender.”
The UVA duo join the Rough Riders, who are coming off a 10-2-5 campaign en route to the 2017 PDL Eastern Conference Final. Long Island, which finished runner-up in the Northeast Division, defeated Mid-Atlantic winners New York Red Bulls U-23 in an Eastern Conference play-in game. The Rough Riders beat the Myrtle Beach Mutiny, winners of the South Division, in the conference semifinals, before losing to eventual PDL champion Charlotte on penalty kicks in the conference final.
Long Island begins its 2018 season against Kingston Stockade FC at 8 p.m. May 9 at John Burns Park in Massapequa, N.Y., in the first round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Rough Riders open PDL play on the road against Red Bulls U-23 at 7 p.m. May 12 at Red Bulls Training Facility in Whippany, N.J.
BY: Michael LoRé