Duke Hosts Wake Forest Saturday
The Blue Devils will play host to Wake Forest this Saturday, March 30 in the second installment of the U.S. Soccer's Spring Men's College Program. Kickoff between the two ACC foes is at 3 p.m., at the Duke soccer practice field on Cameron Blvd./751.
Duke lost a close 1-0 battle at North Carolina March 2 and looks to even its record in the spring program. The Blue Devils close out the schedule April 6 at Clemson.
Admission to the game Saturday is free, while parking will be available in the gravel jogging trail lot on 751. Seating at the field is extremely limited so it is advised for fans to bring chairs or blankets to sit on.
Ebobisse Suits Up for U.S. U-23 MNT Squad
Former Blue Devil Jeremy Ebobisse recently was selected by newly appointed U-23 head coach Jason Kreis to be a part of the U-23 squad in its first matches of the 2020 U-23 cycle. The team played a pair of friendlies against Egypt March 22 and Netherlands March 24.
Ebobisse came on in the second half, replacing Tim Weah as the United States lost 2-0 to Egypt. Two days later against Netherlands, Ebobisse earned the starting assignment in a scoreless draw. Ebobisse was one of three players to go the full 90 minutes against Netherlands.
Major League Soccer Update
A group of five former Blue Devils started the season on Major League Soccer rosters. They include Sean Davis (NY Red Bulls), Brian White (NY Red Bulls), Sebastian Ibeagha (NYCFC), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers) and Carter Manley (Minnesota United FC).
Davis, after missing the first game of the season, has gone the distance in his two starts and has one assist for the New York Red Bulls, which are 1-1-1 this season. Ibeagha has not seen any game action for a NYCFC that is 0-0-3 on the year. White has been among the 18 on gameday, but has yet to see any minutes for the Red Bulls in 2019.
Ebobisse has started two of Portland’s three games and has a goal for the 0-2-1 Timbers. Manley has been among the 18 for Minnesota United, but has yet to see time on the field after playing eight games last year as a rookie. Minnesota is 2-1-0 in its three contests.
Issa Rayyan Debuts for Bethlehem Steel
After garnering the ACC Rookie of the Year award in 2018, Issa Rayyan elected to pursue his professional opportunities with Bethlehem Steel of the United Soccer League. In the first game of the season March 10, Rayyan earned the starting nod and played the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 victory. Overall, Rayyan has started twice and played the final 18 minutes of a third game. Bethlehem Steel is 1-2-0 on the year.
Pair of Blue Devil Greats Announce Retirement
Former Duke All-Americans Andrew Wenger and Mike Grella both announced their retirement from soccer during the Major League Soccer offseason. They step away after outstanding collegiate and professional careers with the duo taking slightly different paths.
Wenger announced he was stepping away from soccer at the end of November saying, “It has been a blast, but my time on the field has come to an end. I am forever indebted to my family, friends, coaches, staff and teammates for the support they have given me over the course of this journey."
Grella, after battling injuries for the past two seasons, decided to retire at the end of February. He wrote on his Instagram account “It is with a heavy heart that I write this message. The last two years with injuries hasn’t been easy and ultimately have resulted in my decision to move on from the game I love.”
“Some of my fondest memories and experiences include representing the U18 US national team, representing Duke, one of the greatest Universities in this country, beating Manchester United in Old Trafford in front of 80k plus fans, …”
Wenger and Grella both are peppered throughout the Duke records book. Wenger is tied for single-season goal record with 17 and ranks fifth in single-season points (42). Grella sits seventh on the career goals list (41) and eighth on the points chart (109). Both were All-America first team choices during their careers.
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It has been a blast, but my time on the field has come to an end. It has been an honor to play this game and a privilege to do so for three fantastic MLS organizations. I am forever indebted to my family, friends, coaches, staff, and teammates for the support they have given me over the course of this journey. The Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union, and Montreal Impact and their fans have made my experience truly special and I am eternally grateful! Thank you all!