Eight additional players have been signed by the Long Island Rough Riders men’s team as final preparations for the start of the USL League Two season are made.
Joining the team are Tom Wharf, Shaun Foster, Dan Gwyther, Tyler Botte, Gabriel Fernandes, Matias Prando, Jamie DiLuzio and Mateo Alzate.
Wharf, a veteran Rough Rider, returns as captain. The defender logged nearly 1,000 minutes in 11 matches in 2018 as the team went 10-5-1 overall and 9-4-1 in the PDL. A 2018 club Player of the Year nominee, Wharf anchored the back line that allowed 16 goals, which was second-best in the Mid-Atlantic Division.
“Tom is a leader on and off the field who hates to lose,” said Stephen Roche, Rough Riders head coach. “He is a superb defender, is good on the ball and is my voice on the field.”
Joining Wharf again on the back line is Gwyther. The head men’s soccer coach at SUNY Maritime College, he had nine appearances for Long Island in 2018.
“Dan is an excellent defender who reads the game very well,” said Roche. “He has a genuine love for the game, so he keeps himself in great condition so he can continue to play the sport he loves at a high level.”
Foster will be anchoring the midfield again this summer. A 2018 club Player of the Year nominee, he logged a team-high 1,226 minutes.
“Fozzy is a favorite among his teammates and a joy to work with,” Roche said. “He makes every player around him better with his ability and knowledge of the game. The younger players will learn a lot from him and the rest of our older players.”
Botte, a native of North Babylon, returns to Long Island after recording three goals and one assist in nine games in 2018. He had a goal and assist on five shots in 50 minutes of action in the 3-2 win against Evergreen FC on July 7.
“Tyler puts his head in where it hurts and knows how to score goals,” Roche said. “He’s a very valuable player for us and is another player who the younger guys can learn from.”
Fernandes, a midfielder from North Babylon, played and started 17 games at Stony Brook University this past season. He scored three goals and added three assists while helping the Seawolves clinch the America East regular-season title.
“Gabriel is an exciting attacking midfielder who is very comfortable on the ball,” said Roche. “We are looking forward to seeing him in action this summer.”
Also joining the Rough Riders this summer is Fernandes’ Stony Brook teammate Prando. The defender played and started all 17 contests for the Seawolves, finding the back of the net for his first career collegiate goal in the 6-0 win against Hartford on Oct. 26. Prando was third on the team with 1,534 minutes played.
“Matias is a strong defender who has become a key member of the back four at Stony Brook,” said Roche. “We are delighted to bring in two players from Stony Brook and look forward to continuing that relationship in the future of bringing in young Long Island-based players.”
DiLuzio of North Woodmere and Alzate of Huntington are both coming off successful seasons playing in the midfield at Davidson College.
DiLuzio made 17 appearances with 16 starts as a sophomore, scoring a penalty kick in a 2-1 win against Winthrop on Sept. 22. Alzate appeared in 17 games with 15 starts as a freshman, playing all 90 minutes in six contests.
“They both played a lot in a very good side this past season,” Roche said. “They are two more young, local talents I’m really excited to work with.”
The Rough Riders begin their 2019 USL League Two campaign against league newcomers Cedar Stars Rush on Saturday, May 11. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. from Hofstra University Soccer Stadium.