USL Preseason Power Rankings

Written by Michael Lewis

If the United Soccer League preseason power rankings are any indication, it could very well be memorable seasons for the Long Island Rough Riders’ men’s and women’s teams. 

The men were ranked fifth among USL League Two sides, while the women were ranked 10th among USL W League teams. 

Now, that is impressive.   

This is what USL League Two said about the men: 

“The Rough Riders have added Ethan Dekel-Daks, a former Nottingham Forest youth player and Asheville City SC standout. The Englishman joins the consistent presence of Hofstra stars at the Rough Riders – Eoin Farrell, Roc Carles Puig, and Pierce Infuso will all play key roles for the club.”  

It’s all about staying consistent and following a similar philosophy, Rough Riders general manager Tanner Sands said. 

“I think to maintain a standard, you have to have a few ingredients, and one of those is a bit of sustainability consistency,” he said. “We’ve seen that with our leaders. In the past few years, we’ve had a bit of turnover with that leadership. But you still see players like Roc Carles, Pierce Infuso, and Justin Weiss coming back. All of them have been with us for three years now. 

“But on top of that, you want us to create a competitive roster that gets better every year. We have that again this year with some new players like Ethan Dekel-Daks and Justin McLean, and we just try to improve every year. At the same time, we keep the same culture, that competitive spirit, in which everyone’s on the same page and working for one goal.” 

The Rough Riders men reached the national championship game in 2022. 

Ballard FC, the defending league champions from Ballard, Wash., was ranked first. 

The Rough Riders women were ranked 10th in their power rankings. 

This is what the USL W League said about the Long Island women: 

“The Rough Riders reached their second consecutive postseason last season after posting a 10-1-1 record through the regular season. The club will be returning multiple key players while making some new additions, including 2022 SEC Freshman of the Year out of Alabama, Gianna Paul.” 

Sands was also just as proud of the women’s accomplishments and what the future might bring. 

“We are establishing ourselves in a new league,” he said. “This is our third year in the USL W League. The two previous years we set the standard by making the playoffs both years but this year we are trying to take the next step. We do that by finding a group of players that are competitive and understand what it takes to achieve common goals. We’re excited to have some consistency and a similar roster as we had in past years, but we also have some new faces that we believe will raise the bar.” 

Indy Eleven of Indianapolis, Ind., the 2023 league champions, was ranked first among the women’s teams.  

Both Rough Riders teams will kick off their respective seasons with a doubleheader at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y., on Sunday, May 19. 

The Rough Riders women will welcome the Westchester Flames in their USL W League season opener at 3:30 p.m., while the men will host the New Jersey Copa in their USL League Two opener at 6 p.m. 


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