Top Drawer Soccer named its Top 100 Freshman and two former RSL AZ players were named to the list.
Dominic Kallay, a defender at Denver, was ranked #16 and Noah Ervin, a midfielder at SMU, was ranked #88.
Kallay has started in all but one of Denver's 17 matches this season. Kallay has recorded two assists and has helped Denver record 11 shutouts this year. Denver, which clinched the season title this year, heads into the Summit League Tournament poised to make an NCAA tournament berth. Ervin's SMU, which won the AAC regular season title, has posted a 12-1-2 record - their only loss to Denver - and is ranked #3 in the country. Ervin has started in two matches and has made nine total appearances.
RSL AZ reached out to our former players to catch up, see how their freshman year was going, how playing for RSL AZ helped them prepare for college, and what advice they would give to players also seeking to play in the college ranks.
RSL AZ: Talk about how your season is going and the freshman experience. What have you enjoyed, what have you learned, and what has been your favorite part?
Ervin: So far my freshman season and experience has been amazing. There are many things I have learned about the game of soccer since I first arrived here. I have enjoyed competing at a high level in a great program with great coaches. I have always dreamed of playing soccer at SMU and it's awesome to live the dream I have always wanted. My favorite part about the season so far is the game day atmosphere.
Kallay: Coming into the season I didn’t know what to expect and I was a little nervous. After the first couple of games, I started to get into a good rhythm and started to get a hang of what the college game is like. I am really enjoying the season right now and I am having the best time of my life but it moves fast. I have been fortunate to start every game so far this year and that is something that has built my confidence a lot over the season. The most valuable lesson I have learned is to learn from your mistakes and failing will only make you better in the end. My favorite part of the season has just been traveling with all the boys and being able to play soccer every day.
RSL AZ: How did playing for RSL AZ and competing in MLS Next help you prepare for the college game?
Ervin: Playing for RSL and competing at the MLS NEXT level has helped me in many ways. MLS NEXT offered me a competitive environment with some of the best youth soccer talent in the country. Competing against good opponents helped me develop my skills and adapt to a faster-paced game. RSL AZ was everything I could've asked for and needed before college. The coaches at RSL AZ invest a lot of time into the players and that helped me get to where I am today.
Kallay: Playing for RSL AZ MLS Next has prepared me for this part of my soccer career. The coaching staff and the support that is given at the club have helped me grow out of my shell not only on the field but also off the field. They will put you in situations to get the best out of you and they do whatever they can to help you get to where you want to go. I have been with RSL AZ since it became a club and my growth over those years has been incredible. I would not have wanted to play anywhere else.
RSL AZ: For boys also seeking to play college soccer, what advice would you give them?
Ervin: Some advice that I would give to guys that aspire to play college is to always work hard. There are many times you may be having a bad game or something is not going your way, but you can only control your effort at the end of the day. That is something coaches look out for, is the effort on the field. Also, it is very important to always be a leader on the field. Lastly, I would say to stay devoted to your goals. Sometimes the recruiting process is usually not the ideal way you want it to go, but if you keep working hard and stay focused on your goal, it will all end up working out in the end.
Kallay: The biggest advice I could give to kids trying to get to the college level would be to take every opportunity you are given. RSL AZ is trying to help you get where you want to go so don’t take anything for granted. The last thing I will say is that you just have to put your head down and grind. The opportunities will come if you take care of what you can control.