With only the USL Cup Final left to play for the 2016 season, the USL has been releasing their awards and finalists for awards and the Swope Park Rangers are represented be Amer Didic and coach Mark Dos Santos.
The USL announced the All-League teams and the Rangers 21-year-old rookie made the first team. Didic was the only representative on the All-League teams.
“Looking back I would have never guess that I would be remotely close to something like this,’ Didic admitted. “It’s definitely a big honor for me and I am thankful. Thankful for my team mates, the coach, the organization for believing in me and obviously you can’t do something like this without a team, a good team to say the least. Something that I am happy for but at the end of the day it is just an honor, I want to win the trophy on Sunday.”
2016 USL All-League First Team
GK – Mitch Hildebrandt, FC Cincinnati
D – Harrison Delbridge, FC Cincinnati
D – Amer Didic, Swope Park Rangers
D – Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls II
D – Hugh Roberts, Richmond Kickers
M – Danny Barrera, Sacramento Republic FC
M – Villyan Bijev, Portland Timbers 2
M – Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence
F – Brandon Allen, New York Red Bulls II
F – Jack McBean, LA Galaxy II
F – Sean Okoli, FC Cincinnati
2016 USL All-League Second Team
GK – Devala Gorrick, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
D – Zach Carroll, New York Red Bulls II
D – Joe Farrell, Rochester Rhinos
D – Bruno Perone, Wilmington Hammerheads FC
D – Josh Suggs, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
M – Jose Barril, Harrisburg City Islanders
M – Kenardo Forbes, Rochester Rhinos
M – Yudai Imura, Richmond Kickers
F – Irvin Herrera, Saint Louis FC
F – Corey Hertzog, Pittsburgh Riverhounds
F – Cameron Iwasa, Sacramento Republic FC
Didic is also up for defender of the year along with Red Bulls II center back Aaron Long and Richmond Kickers’ Hugh Roberts.
Swope Park Ranger coach Mark Dos Santos has been nominated for coach of the year as well as John Wolyniec who led the New York Red Bulls II to be the USL Regular Season champions and will face Dos Santos in the USL Cup final Sunday. They are joined by FC Cincinnati’s John Harkes as a finalist.
Dos Santos was pleased to be nominated but pointed out that he is not the whole story. “The coach is the face of the team but I represent Nikola (Popovic), I represent Josh McAllister), I represent Alec (Dufty), I represent Jon Farrell, I represent the medical staff. I represent all the people that helped that once we go on the field for the 90 minutes we have a better chance to get the result. So my name will come out with probably my face but at the end of the day I represent a club and the club gives me very good conditions for me to be nominated so I am thankful to Peter (Vermes) and the club for the nomination.”
“To be very honest with everyone,” Dos Santos continued. “I think the coach of New York deserves it. He’s done a fantastic job, they won their division with a lot of points in front of second, they reach the final. Sacramento finished first but got knocked out in the first stage so New York was very consistent and he’s done a very good job. Just to be in the top three, I am very blessed by that.”