Deri Corfe among four players from last year's team to return, along with new wave of exceptional forwards and midfielders
MORE: Meet the goalkeepers for the 2019 Ocean City Nor'easters
MORE: Meet the defenders for the 2019 Ocean City Nor'easters
The Ocean City Nor’easters have set the bar high for the 2019 USL League Two season and to achieve that, they will need to score goals. To achieve that, the club will return four attacking players from last year’s team, including the 2018 team most valuable player, Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England). Corfe, who led the team in scoring last year and helped the team reach the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, will be joined by Brandon Smalley (Florida Tech / Bridlington, England), Marco Torino (St. Peters / Westchester, NY), and Matteo Bennati (Ohio State / Genova, Italy), who just transferred to Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State.
The 2019 Nor’easters roster brings a lot of diversity and different backgrounds to Ocean City for the 2019 campaign. In just the forwards and midfielders alone, there are seven different countries represented (U.S., England, Greece, Italy, Israel, Cyprus, Jamaica), and six different states within the United States (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, California, Florida). These 17 attacking players were extremely productive in their respective college seasons last fall, accounting for more than 120 goals and more than 60 assists as well as several all-conference and all-region awards between them.
Ritchie Barry (St. Joseph’s / Sparta, NJ)
After a solid freshman season in 2017 where he was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team, Barry had a breakout season for St. Joseph’s University last fall. Barry was second on the team with nine goals to go along with five assists in 18 games. The only Hawks player with more goals was fellow Ocean City newcomer Leon Maric (12).
Brandon Bartel (Pennsylvania / Fleming Island, FL)
Bartel brings some versatility to his debut season with Ocean City. The Penn Quaker was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection in his junior season last fall as a defensive midfielder. From that holding mid position, he led the conference in assists with six, started every game, and was the primary set piece taker for the team.
Matteo Bennati (Ohio State / Genova, Italy)
Bennati returns after a solid first season with the Nor’easters last summer. He played in 10 games, including playing every minute of the club’s run to the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. One of his two assists in all competitions came in the club’s opening round road win over AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL). Bennati played his youth soccer at the Genoa FC academy in Italy before traveling to the U.S. to attend Belmont University. After being named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year, he led the team in scoring (7 goals, 3 assists) and earned all-conference honors for the second straight year as a sophomore. On Jan. 18, it was announced that Bennati would be transferring to Big Ten country where he has enrolled at Ohio State University.
Joey Bhangdia (Pennsylvania / Lewisburg, PA)
Bhangdia came to the University of Pennsylvania after an impressive high school career where he won a pair of state championships with Lewisburg Area (North Union) and was named an NSCAA All-American and the NSCAA High School Scholar Player of the Year. However, he missed the 2017 season due to injury and came back strong last fall. Bhangdia played in all 16 games (11 starts) as a midfielder and finished the season with a goal and an assist. That goal he scored was a special one because it came 69 seconds into his first collegiate appearance against Monmouth (Aug. 31).
Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England)
Deri Corfe returns for his second season at the Beach House after an MVP season in his debut last summer. Corfe led the team in scoring in all competitions (6 goals, 7 assists, 19 points) and was the co-leader in assists for the entire 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with four. Corfe played in every competitive game for Ocean City -- starting 16 of the team's 17 games -- and he led the team in minutes played (1,121) and played every minute of the team's three US Open Cup games. Corfe scored six goals and dished out three assists in league play for the Nor'easters and was a PDL All-Eastern Conference selection (honorable mention). This marked the fourth year in a row and the sixth time in the last seven years that the Nor'easters have had a player named to the All-Conference team. As a result, he was named the Nor’easters Most Valuable Player.
The Chester, England native started his youth soccer career playing at the Manchester City Academy. He moved to the United States where he signed with the University of Rio Grande (Ohio), which is a powerhouse in the NAIA. After two successful seasons, he signed with Wright State University and made a huge impression in his debut season with the Raiders. He helped Wright State earn a national ranking, finish with an impressive 13-3-0 record and they advanced to the Horizon League championship game. Unfortunately, they were upset by Illinois-Chicago, and despite being ranked 18th in the country at the time, 13 wins wasn't enough to get Wright State into the NCAA tournament. It was an incredible debut season for Corfe as he was an all-conference and all-region selection after scoring 10 goals and dishing out eight assists. He also led the team in shots and shots on goal. His biggest game came on Sept. 25 when Corfe scored two goals and had three assists in a 6-2 home win over Duquesne. which was tied for the team lead in scoring with 28 points.
Ryan Inman (High Point / Birmingham, England)
Inman has continued to take steps forward with each passing year in his college career at High Point University. Last fall, in his junior year, he earned First Team All-Conference honors as he scored two goals and had three assists, despite spending most of the season playing in a defensive midfield role.
Marcos Kitromilides (Lafayette College / Nicosia, Cyprus)
Kitromilides had a very productive freshman season at Presbyterian College. He led the team in scoring (7 goals) and played in every game (20), with 14 starts. He was named to the Big South All-Conference Second Team, the All-Freshman Team and the All-Tournament Team. After his freshman season he transferred to Lafayette College where he will begin play this fall. Kitromilides also had an extensive club soccer career while also representing Cyprus at the youth national team level (Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, Under-19).
Ilias Kosmidis (High Point / Thessaloniki, Greece)
Kosmidis will continue his well-traveled soccer journey at the Jersey Shore this summer. After graduating from high school in Greece, he enrolled at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. After two years at UTRGV, he transferred to High Point University in North Carolina where he had a breakout season. He led the Big South conference in scoring with 10 goals (23 points) and was named the Big South Attacking Player of the Year and a First Team All-Conference selection. Kosmidis was also an All-Region selection by the United Soccer Coaches.
Leon Maric (St. Joseph’s / Gilbertsville, PA)
Maric spent the first two years of his college career at the University of Virginia, but exploded onto the scene after transferring to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. In his debut season with the Hawks last fall, he scored a league-leading 12 goals and had 1 assist in 18 games which earned him plenty of awards. He was the Philadelphia Soccer 6 Chris Jones Player of the Year and a First Team All-Atlantic 10 selection, as well as an All-Region selection by the United Soccer Coaches. He was the first St. Joseph’s player to be named to the All-Region team in 17 years and the first Hawk to score 12 goals in a season since 1994.
Claudio Repetto (Coastal Carolina University / Genova, Italy)
Repetto was part of a talented trio of players from Grand View University, joining fellow Nor’easters Simone Raiola (2018 Nor'easters Creative Player of the Year) and Daniel Kozma (2017 Nor'easters MVP) on the Heart of America Athletic Conference All-Conference team. Repetto continued to build on an impressive freshman season where he was also an all-conference selection. In his sophomore year last fall, he led the team in scoring with eight goals and four assists. For his junior year, he will play for Coastal Carolina University.
Brandon Smalley (Florida Tech / Bridlington, England)
After a solid freshman year at Florida Tech, Smalley made great strides in 2017 during his sophomore season. He was the only sophomore to be named First Team All-Sunshine Conference and he was also named to a pair of All-Region teams. He scored seven goals and seven assists in 14 games, which ranked second in the conference in scoring and he led the conference in points per game (1.5). Unfortunately, in 2018, his junior year, he was injured and did not see the field and is expected to be back and better than ever in 2019. This is the second season with the Nor’easters for Smalley, but he was unable to see playing time last summer due to injury.
Carlos Solorio (Eastern Oregon University / Los Angeles, CA)
The Nor’easters have a strong track record of finding exceptional players at the NAIA level who have the talent to take their game to the next level. Carlos Solorio seems to fit that description. Solorio led Eastern Oregon with 12 goals (6 game-winners) and two assists and was a First Team All-Conference selection. He was a big reason why Eastern Oregon was able to qualify for the national playoffs for the first time in the school history. (Note: In a small world situation, the team’s tournament run came to an end at the hands of Rocky Mountain College, led by Ocean City alum Nolan Sherwood.)
Marco Torino (St. Peters University / Westchester, NY)
After transferring from Hartwick College, Torino stepped in for his sophomore season at St. Peters University and was one of their top scorers. He finished with four goals and one assist in 16 games (13 starts), with two of those goals being game-winners for the Peacocks. Torino began his soccer career with a short stint playing for S.S. Lazio's reserve squad in the summer of 2016 in Italy. This is Torino’s second season with the Nor’easters. Last year, he appeared in four games in what was a crowded midfield. He scored a pair of goals in a 7-1 win over the D.C. United Under-23s on July 13.
Daniel Twizer (Missouri State / Belmont Univ. / Golan Heights, Israel)*
* Pending league approval
Twizer will make his debut with the Nor’easters in 2019 after spending last fall at Belmont University where he was a teammate of fellow Ocean City alum Matteo Bennati. He played in 17 of the team’s 18 games and scored two goals and dished out two assists. After one season at Belmont, he transferred to Missouri State and will make this debut with the school this fall.
Aidan Watkins (St. Joseph’s / Indianapolis, IN)
From his first season at St. Joseph’s University, Watkins has been a starter. He has started every game (except for two games missed due to red cards) in his first two seasons for the Hawks. The Indianapolis native dished out one assist last season and will play his first season in Ocean City, joining three other Hawks teammates
Duhaney Williams (Loyola Marymount / Clarendon, Jamaica)*
* Pending league approval
Williams closed out an impressive two years at Northeast Texas Community College by leading the team to their fifth straight playoff appearance. This past fall, he led the Eagles to the NJCAA national tournament where they would ultimately fall to the No. 1 team in the country in a tight 3-2 extra time game. The Eagles finished 17-3-2 and ranked No. 7 in the country. Williams was second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 11 assists (35 points) and was a First Team All-Region selection and was also named to the All-Tournament Team for the national tournament. His final achievement was being named a Third Team All-American. Prior to Northeast Texas CC, Williams played with Nor’easter teammates Jan Hoffelner and Gustavo Fernandes at Iowa Western Community College for his freshman year. He scored six goals and dished out three assists and was an All-Region First Team selection.