The Long Island Rough Riders have signed Nathaniel Crofts Jr. and Robin Afamefuna for the 2018 season.
Crofts Jr., a forward, and Afamefuna, a defender/midfielder, both play at the University of Virginia. The No. 11 Cavaliers went 12-4-5 last fall, losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Nat is an exciting winger who likes to take people on and get balls into the box,” said Stephen Roche, the Rough Riders first-year head coach. “He’s young, but starting every game as a freshman at Virginia says a lot. He’s got something special about him.”
Afamefuna, who played in the UEFA Youth League with Borussia Mönchengladbach’s club team from 2013-16, had one goal and one assist in 36 games (28 starts) for the Cavaliers. The German was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team in 2016, starting 17 of 20 games at left back for the Cavaliers.
“Robin is a very technical and versatile left-sided defender who could play in a few different positions for us,” Roche said. “He takes care of the ball which will be important for us and is a very good 1-v-1 defender.”
The UVA duo joins the Rough Riders, who are coming off a 10-2-5 campaign en route to the 2017 PDL Eastern Conference Final.
Long Island, which finished runner-up in the Northeast Division, defeated Mid-Atlantic winners New York Red Bulls U-23 in an Eastern Conference play-in game. The Rough Riders beat the Myrtle Beach Mutiny, winners of the South Division, in the conference semifinals, before losing to eventual PDL champion Charlotte on penalty kicks in the conference final.