Corfe becomes third Ocean City player to win league MVP as part of a historic season where he was a co-Golden Boot winner with 14 goals in just 12 games
For the second time in the last four years, an Ocean City Nor’easters player has been named the USL League Two Most Valuable Player.
On Friday, the United Soccer Leagues announced that not only was Deri Corfe (Wright State / Chester, England) named to the league’s Team of the Year (Best XI), but he was named the MVP.
|Deri Corfe battles for the ball in a friendly against the reigning Portguese champions SSL Benfica on July 23. Photo: SSL Benfica|
"It feels fantastic. I'm just really happy to get this award and it shows that Ocean City are a team to be feared," said Corfe. "Last year, I won the team MVP award for Ocean City and now the one for the whole league shows that I am making improvements and reaching goals that I set. It wouldn’t have been possible without everyone that works at the club and without my teammates who made it the great experience it was."
Corfe becomes the third Ocean City player to win the MVP, joining Ruben Mingo (2004) and Chevaughn “Chevy” Walsh (2016).
With 14 goals, Corfe tied the Nor’easters’ single-season record and becomes just the second player in club history to win the USL League Two scoring title, as he finished tied with Kyle Edwards of Brazos Valley Cavalry FC. Corfe tied Ocean City's single-season goalscoring record set by Chevaughn “Chevy” Walsh back in 2016 when he won the league MVP award. However, Corfe scored his 14 goals in two fewer games (12).
"I thought this year we performed really good as a team and had the talent to compete with any team in the country but we were unfortunate not to progress to the playoffs but that happens sometimes in football," said Corfe. "My individual performance is just a reflection of how good this team is."
The Nor'easters finished with a 6-3-5 record, good enough for a second place finish in the Mid-Atlantic Division, one of the toughest divisions in the league. A second place finish is usually enough to get into the postseason, but the 2019 playoff format only allowed the top second place team in the Eastern Conference into the playoffs and Ocean City fell short of that.
Corfe also scored three game-winning goals, added a game-winning assist and created a goal (either by scoring or assisting) in nine of the 12 games he played in. The majority of his goalscoring total came against top competition. Nine of his 14 goals were scored against the top four teams in the Mid-Atlantic Division, headlined by his hat trick on July 7 when the Nor’easters handed USL League Two runner-up Reading United AC their only regular season loss of the season with a 4-1 win in the 50th all-time meeting between the two rivals.
With Corfe’s 14 goals and 3 assists, he accounted for 63% of the team’s offense. Between him and teammate Claudio Repetto (who finished among the league leaders with 8 goals and 3 assists), the two scored 22 goals, which tied the Nor’easters club record for the highest-scoring offensive duo. They tied the record set in 2004 by Byron Carmichael and league MVP Ruben Mingo during the club’s undefeated regular season.
"Deri definitely had a special season for us this summer," said Nor'easters head coach Kevin Nuss, who also recruited 2016 league MVP Chevy Walsh. "He was huge for the club all season and this is a well-deserved award for him."
While this didn't factor into the league's decision to award him the MVP, it's worth noting that Corfe played in every single game for Ocean City this summer, including all four exhibition games. He scored a goal in a 2-0 win over FC Monmouth on May 14, and he added another goal and two assists in a 4-0 win over NPSL playoff team Atlantic City FC on June 7, and he scored the lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Lone Star FC (NPSL) on July 10. Corfe also played well in a friendly with European power and reigning Portugese champions SSL Benfica on July 23 (the Nor'easters lost 5-0).
Corfe becomes the fifth Nor'easters player in history to be named to the USL League Two Team of the Year (also known as the All-League Team or the league's Best 11). He joins a list that includes former Ocean City head coaches Neil Holloway (2004), and John Thompson (2004, 2005), and a pair of former league MVPs in Ruben Mingo (2004), and Chevy Walsh (2016)
With his individual accomplishments, Corfe isn't resting easy. He knows he has a lot of hard work ahead of him if he wants to get to the next level.
"I want to improve my defensive side of the game but there are many things that I need to improve and just want to keep getting better the more I play," said Corfe.
Combining with last year’s debut season in Ocean City, Corfe has put together one of the best two-year runs in Nor’easters history. He finishes his second season at the Shore with 20 goals and 6 assists (46 points). His 20 goals and 46 points both rank third in club history behind Mingo (2003-06) and the club’s all-time leader, Carmichael (2004-11).
The Chester, England native started his youth soccer career playing at the Manchester City Academy.
"Playing at Manchester City shaped me into the player I am today and I learned a lot there in terms of technical and tactical aspects of the game," said Corfe. "When I went off to college, it really helped me get stronger and gain my confidence back as a player."
Corfe 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 had a great first season for the Raiders. He helped Wright State to a 13-3-0 record and a national ranking and was an all-conference and all-region selection. He scored 10 goals and dished out 8 assists, which was tied for the team lead in scoring (28 points) and he also led the team in shots and shots on goal.
After another summer at the Jersey Shore, Corfe is looking forward to keeping the momentum going as he takes his game back to Wright State for his upcoming senior season.
"I just want to say thanks again to everyone at Ocean City for allowing me to showcase myself this summer and taking care of me and making me feel welcomed in the city!"
Jordan Posner also contributed to this story