Tormenta FC midfielder Luca Mayr competing for Tormenta 2 in League Two last summer. Photo courtesy Tormenta FC
Since the end of USL League One’s inaugural season in 2019, the league has added three new teams, and every side has bolstered its ranks with the addition of new players as North Texas SC looks to defend the title against plenty of capable challengers.
Now that the League One season is set to kick off on July 18, many of its newest players are League Two products, as some of the top talent from around the league made the jump to professional soccer during the off-season and are beginning their careers in League One. Here are ten players who played in League Two in 2019 to keep an eye on in League One this season (in alphabetical order by last name).
A talented midfielder, Bolanos is coming off a stellar collegiate career at High Point University. He was vital to Des Moines Menace’s success in League Two in 2019, playing in 11 of the team’s regular season matches and helping the Menace collect more points than any other team in League Two during that span. For a Kickers team that struggled in 2019, Bolanos should provide a much-needed boost.
Booth was the captain and leader of the League Two Final-winning Flint City Bucks squad, and it’s impossible to overstate how important he was to the Bucks as they captured a league-best fourth national championship. Booth played in all but two regular season matches, and in all four playoff matches for Flint City, logging over 1,000 minutes in the heart of central defense.
Donnelly jumped right into League One last season upon the conclusion of the League Two season, quickly becoming an impact player for Greenville and earning a starting spot in the League One Final. His seven goals and three assists in 15 appearances also contributed to Tormenta 2 winning the League Two Southern Conference title. Capable of using his height to play as a target man or facing up opposing defenders, expect to see Donnelly amongst the goals for the Triumph.
Ferriol is one of the best young attacking midfielders out there, and is capable of immediately earning meaningful minutes in Tucson. A member of the League Two Eastern Conference Team of the Year last season, Ferriol played over 1,000 minutes for Long Island Rough Riders. He tallied five goals and four assists in that time, and carried his fine form into an unbelievable senior collegiate campaign with James Madison, scoring 16 goals in 21 games on his way to winning the CAA Player of the Year Award.
Malango was a highly-efficient scorer for Boston Bolts, bagging three in five matches. One of those goals was one of the best of the League Two season, an absurd bicycle kick from the edge of the penalty area. After impressing during a training stint with the Revolution first team in 2019, he’ll be a key player as Revs II embarks on its first season in League One.
The Steyr, Austria native stood out even on a Tormenta 2 team full of excellent players last season. Mayr was the driving force behind one of League Two’s most dangerous attacks, tallying seven goals and three assists while also contributing on the defensive side of the ball. Now that he’s made the move up to the Tormenta first team, expect to see more of the same from the 2019 League Two Team of the Year member.
Yet another Tormenta 2 product, Perez made the leap to the Tormenta first team straight away last fall before moving to expansion club Union Omaha during the off-season. A Swiss Army knife of a player, Perez played in every regular season match for the South Georgia club’s League Two side last year, earning a spot on the Southern Conference Team of the Year. Perez will be tasked with doing a job right away as Omaha looks to quickly make its mark in League One.
The captain of last year’s excellent Tormenta 2 team, Skelton was immediately signed to the Tormenta first team after the League Two season. Few defenders can boast more impressive League Two resumes than Skelton, who also spent two seasons with Mississippi Brilla, where he won the league’s Defender of the Year award in 2018. After starting nine games for Tormenta at the tail end of the 2019 season, expect Skelton’s role to expand in 2020.
Red Wolves Head Coach and Technical Director Jimmy Obleda called Trilk, “one of the best up-and-coming goalkeepers in the country,” and if you watched him play for Tri Cities Otters in League Two last year, it was easy to see why. Trilk boasts good size and strong command of his area. Like most modern goalkeepers, he’s also adept with the ball at his feet. He’ll hope to establish himself as the consistent starter for the Red Wolves during his rookie season.
A full Trinidad and Tobago international, Trimmingham was on the bench when the island nation famously knocked the U.S. men’s national team out of World Cup qualifying in 2017. A center back with experience playing at a high level, the Flamingos added Trimmingham to reinforce their defense ahead of the 2020 season. He made nine appearances for FC Miami City in League Two during the summer of 2019, when a trial appearance with Madison set the stage for his eventual move to Wisconsin.