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Award-winning talent returns to Nor'easters as part of strong defensive unit for 2019 season

Daniel Kozma, Ocean City's 2017 MVP, and Williams N'Dah, the club's 2018 Defensive Player of the Year to anchor the backline

Award-winning talent returns to Nor'easters as part of strong defensive unit for 2019 season

MORE: Meet the goalkeepers for the 2019 Ocean City Nor'easters
MORE: Meet the forwards/midfielders for the 2019 Ocean City Nor'easters

The Ocean City Nor'easters defense will have two experienced, award-winning players at the core of their backline when the team kicks off the 2019 USL League Two season in May. Former team MVP Daniel Kozma and last year's Defensive Player of the Year Williams N'Dah will join seven talented players who will play their first season in Ocean City, N.J. this summer.

Daniel Kozma (Grand View University / Budapest, Hungary), who was named the Nor'easters' most valuable player in 2017, has returned to the club after spending the 2018 season closer to school with Kaw Valley FC where he was the team's defensive player of the year. In his first season with Ocean City, Kozma was part of a record-breaking defensive unit in 2017. He played in 12 of the team's 14 league games, with four of them ending in a shutout. The team finished the season with 14 goals allowed in 14 games, producing a 1.00 team goals against average, which remains an Ocean City team record for a 14-game season. Kozma also contributed on the offensive end of the field, scoring a pair of goals in the opening weekend of the PDL season. He scored an 83rd minute goal in the team's 4-1 win over Evergreen FC in the home opener. Two days later, he scored the 89th minute equalizer two days later in the Nor'easters' biggest comeback win in team history, defeating Evergreen FC 3-2 on May 21. Kozma was also the fourth Ocean City defender to be named to the All-Eastern Conference team.

Kozma continued his outstanding play at the college level as the junior was named to the All-Conference Team for the third year in a row. Last year, he anchored the Grand View defense and started 15 of the 16 games he played in while scoring a pair of goals. Kozma was also named a 2018 Daktronics NAIA Men's Soccer Scholar-Athlete.

Williams N'Dah (University of Charleston / Rome, Italy) is back after an impressive debut season with the Nor'easters in 2018. N'Dah was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year. The Italian made an immediate impact when he scored the first goal of the season in the team's U.S. Open Cup win against AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL), N'Dah would play every minute of the team's three-game US Open Cup run, including helping the team earn a 3-1 road win over the Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League (USL). He would start eight of the team's first nine regular season games, helping the team earn three shutouts during that time. Unfortunately, injuries slowed him up in the second half of the season as he missed four of the last five games.

N'Dah capped off is senior season at the University of Charleston (WV) with a tremendous final campaign. He was the anchor (and captain) of one of the top defensive teams in the country as the Golden Eagles had 15 shutouts and led the nation in goals against average (0.18). N’Dah also contributed on the offensive end of the field, scoring three goals. He would ultimately be named the Mountain East Conference Defensive Player of the Year and would be a first-team all-conference selection. The Golden Eagles finished with an 18-1-2 record, winning the MEC championship and losing their only game in the Third Round of the NCAA tournament against West Chester University by the score of 1-0.

Austin Bihlmeyer (East Tennessee State / Knoxville, TN)

What has made the Nor'easters such a strong team over the last quarter of a century, is recruiting well-rounded and versatile players. Bihlmeyer fits the bill as he will spend most of his time in Ocean City playing with the defensive unit, he is also a goalscorer and is very comfortable with playing in the attack. While at East Tennessee State (where he has been teammates with fellow Ocean City alum Nick Spielman), he was named to the All-Freshman team for the Southern Conference in 2017, and started 15 of the 16 games he played in last fall.

Allan Costa (West Virginia Tech / Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Costa began his college career at Camden County College (N.J.) where he helped the school reach the national championship game in 2016. "Allanzinho" was named to the national All-Tournament Team and later transferred to West Virginia Tech and played in 16 games where he scored two goals and dished out an assist for one of the top defenses in the country. The Golden Bears defense ranked 7th in the country in shutouts (11) and only allowed 12 goals in 19 games (0.60 goals against average)

Zach DiDonato (Cal Poly / Burlingame, Calif.)

DiDonato traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast to be a part of the Nor'easters program in 2019. The Burlingame, Calif. native spent a gap year after graduating high school playing soccer in Italy before enrolling at Cal Poly. DiDonato entered college after just one year of high school soccer and an extensive club soccer resume. DiDonato redshirted his freshman season and had limited playing time in the 2018 college season.

Gustavo Fernandes (Stony Brook / West Babylon, NY)

The 2019 USL League Two season will be a reunion for Gustavo Fernandes as he will be reunited with a former college teammate. Fernandes began his college career at Iowa Western Community College where he played with fellow Nor'easters Jan Hoffelner and Duhaney Williams. Fernandes was the 2016 Great Lakes District MVP as a freshman and followed that up by being named an NJCAA All-American in his sophomore season. After finishing his two years at Iowa Western, he transferred to Stony Brook University where he scored four goals was an all-conference selection.

Vladik Margolin (Univ. of Montevallo / Shelomi, Israel)

Margolin comes to Ocean City bringing some versatility to the Nor'easters backline. Margolin can play on the backline or in the midfield and brings three years of college experience from the University of Montevallo (Alabama). Last season, he started all 16 games for the Falcons, leading the team in minutes played and scoring one goal and dishing out two assists. He is another well-traveled member of the Nor'easters as Margolin was born in Israel, and is attending college in Alabama and is spending this summer at the Jersey Shore.

Ridge Robinson (Drexel / Coastal Carolina / Littleton, CO)

Robinson began his college career at Drexel University in 2011 and after two seasons, he transferred to Coastal Carolina where he was part of one of the top defensive teams in the country. In his junior season, he started 22 of the 24 games he played in, dished out four assists and was part of a defense that recorded 12 clean sheets and had a team goals against average of 0.83. In his senior year, he helped the Chanticleers to 16 wins, which tied for the most wins in the country. The team ranked in the Top 40 nationally in goals against average (0.85), finishing with nine shutouts. After graduating, Robinson kicked his career into high gear. He helped KW United win the 2015 USL League Two (PDL) championship as an outside back. He then traveled overseas where he played in Norway for FK Senja where he made a seamless transition to the forward position. Robinson led the team in scoring and recently moved back stateside and is expected to play outside back for the Nor'easters in his first season with the club.

RC Williams (Pennsylvania / Wayne, PA)

Williams' college career got off to a slow start at the University of Pennsylvania when he missed his freshman season in 2017 due to injury. However, he bounced back in a major way in 2018 as Williams shined on the Quakers backline, starting every game and playing every minute. With his help, UPenn registered a league-high seven shutouts.

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