It was a banner week for North Texas SC Club as four of the club’s talented you players were named to USL League One Best XI teams. Ronaldo Damus and Arturo Rogriguez were named to the Best XI; Ricardo Pepi and Alfusainey Jatta were named to the Second XI. Damus and Rodriguez were named finalists for MVP; Damus, Rogriguez, and Pepi were named finalists for Young Player of the Year; and North Texas SC Head Coach Eric Quill was named a finalist for Coach of the Year.
Rodriguez led the league with 10 assists and 72 chances created, finished third on NTXSC with seven goals, second in the league with 213 duels won, and fourth in the league with 60 dribbles completed. Rodriguez was also named a finalist for league MVP and league Young Player of the Year. You can read the column I wrote with one game left in the regular season diving into why Rodriguez should be the runaway MVP winner.
Damus scored a league-leading 16 goals – to win the USL-1 Golden Boot – at a rate of a goal every 87 minutes on a conversion rate of 31.4 percent, posted the most shots on goal of any player in the league with 31 and also notched three assists. Damus is also a finalist for USL League One MVP and Young Player of the Year, the latter award he should have a good chance of winning.
The 16-year-old Pepi scored nine goals at an average of a goal every 114.78 minutes – placing him second in the league among players with multiple goals – as he recorded 52 shots and 21 shots on goal in 12 appearances. He was the USL-1 leading scorer until he signed with FC Dallas as a Homegrown. Pepi is also a finalist for USL-1 Young Player of the Year.
The less flashy Jatta is just as valuable for his teams as his three teammates above. Playing mostly as North Texas’ holding mid – but also having to spend a lot of time as a center back due to injuries – Jatta recorded 61.7 passes per 90 minutes at an accuracy rate of 82.7 percent and 151 recoveries while ranking second on the team with 144 duels won.
Coach Quill’s young team were Regular Season Champions, scored a league-best 53 goals in the regular season, and had two five-game winning streaks to create a 10-point gap to second place in the final standings. Quill was constantly forced to juggle lineups all year depending on the availability of the MLS Homegrowns and FCD Academy players’ coming and goings.