June 13, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's soccer team currently has five members of the 2007 squad participating in the United Soccer League (USL) Professional Development League (PDL). The Huskies are on the rosters of the Chicago Fire Premier and the US Super Y-League Super-20's team and those players include: Seniors Marcus McCarty (Fort Worth, TX/Fossil Ridge HS) and Chris Rufa (Downers Grove, IL/South), Junior Joe Zimka (Algonquin, IL/Jacobs), and Sophomore Kyle Knotek (Geneva, IL/Geneva). Incoming freshman Luis Mojica (St. Charles, IL/East HS) rounds out the Huskie contingent on the Fire Reserve roster.
The USL Premier Development League is the top U23 men's amateur soccer league in North America, where the players can compete in a professionalized setting during the summer while maintaining their amateur eligibility. The USL Super-20 League provides the opportunity for the top 17-20 year olds to compete in high-level competition and the Super-20 League acts as a reserve team system for the PDL.
The Fire Reserves and the Super-20 team have a combined record of 6-1-2 in the early stages of the season and the Huskie men's soccer players are a big reason for the success. NIU Senior Marcus McCarty is among the Chicago Fire Premier's leading scorers with 1 goal and 2 assists while playing in six games.
"The PDL is the main outlet for many college players to continue to develop throughout the summer," said Huskie head coach Steve Simmons, "The fact that we have five NIU players on their roster is a credit to their hard work, as well as a statement of where we are as a program."
These players are part of a group of 19 returning letter winners for the Huskies in 2007 as they defend their MAC Conference Championship and battle for a berth in the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year.