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South Jersey Soccer:
South Jersey Barons Sweep USL Premier Development Awards

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

By John Thompson
South Jersey Barons Correspondent

Barons forward named Premier Development League MVP

United Soccer Leagues announced the Premier Development League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2004 season Thursday, honoring South Jersey Barons forward Ruben Mingo as the league’s top performer as voted by team coaches and general managers.

Mingo helped lead South Jersey to an undefeated 14-0-4 record and the team’s first playoff appearance since 2000. The Barons are only the fifth PDL team to go unbeaten in USL amateur men’s history. He finished 16th in the league in points (29) on 12 goals and five assists in 17 games, carrying the team through the stretch run after the departure of fellow striker Byron Carmichael to the Pro Soccer League’s Utah Blitzz.

In his rookie season last year, Mingo tallied nine goals and three assists in 16 games for the Barons, leading the team to its first winning record since 2000.

The Cal-State Dominguez Hills product was honored on the Team of the Week in Week 12 for registering a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Vermont.

Mingo scored in both playoff appearances, notching the opening goal in their 2-1 conference semifinal win over the Williamsburg Legacy and South Jersey’s first tally in a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Dynamo in the conference final.

United Soccer Leagues announced today the recipient of the Coach of the Year award for the 2004 Premier Development League season.

Barons Head Coach Dan Christian Named Premier Development League Coach of the Year

The 2004 PDL Coach of the Year, as voted on by general managers and coaches is the South Jersey Barons Head Coach Dan Christian. Christian led his squad to an unbeaten record and to the conference finals. Losing in the last minute of the Eastern Conference Championship game against the Carolina Dynamo.

The Barons were on fire out of the gate, recording a 5-0 win over the Brooklyn Knights in their first match. Christian went on to lead the team to a 14-0-4 record, good for the league’s second best point total (46) behind unbeaten Chicago’s 52 (17-0-1).

Christian is the longest serving member of the club and after seven years became the Barons new head coach in 2004. He is also the director of the youth club.

As a professional player, he played for the Barons from 1997 to 2002 as a central defender. During that time as a player, Christian helped the Barons to become 1998 Mid–Atlantic Division Champions, 1999 Regular Season North Conference Champions, 1999 Finalists, and 1999 Regular Season Champions. In the winter of 1997-1998 he trained with Burnley of the English Second Division.

Off the field, Christian has been coaching with the Barons since 1997. As Director of Youth Services he has seen the Barons youth program grow substantially from two teams to several teams that participate all year round and in the Y-League. In 2002 as head coach, Christian led the men’s U-23 team to the New Jersey State Final as well as the Regional tournament. In 2003, he acted as the assistant head coach for the Barons and helped them to an 11-6-1 record.

Congratulations to Dan from everyone at the South Jersey Barons on a tremendous job put forth by Dan and his assistant Scott Middlemass during this season.

Barons Defender John Thompson Named Premier Development League Defender of the Year.

2004 was a fantastic season for the South Jersey Barons and this success has led to national recognition for several members of the team. Neil Holloway, Ruben Mingo, Chris Williams and John Thompson were named to the All-Eastern Conference team. In addition Holloway, Mingo, and Thompson were nominated to the 11 man All-PDL team.

Today the United Soccer Leagues announced the top defender of the year, as voted on by the coaches and general managers. That honor went to South Jersey Barons defender John Thompson.

Thompson joined the Barons in May 2002 and is in his third season with the club. He played in 17 games in each of his first two seasons with the club, logging over 4,600 minutes. Thompson played in all 18 games this season for 1,660 minutes as the club finished the season 14-0-4 with the league’s second lowest goals allowed total (15). He has played for Scottish Division 2 side Queen of the South, Scottish Division 3 side Gretna and has had spells with Non-League teams Penrith and Workington.

Thompson was a three time NSCAA All-American First team selection and scored 21 goals in his 4 years at Lewis University. He holds the All-Time appearance record at Lewis and was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the year in 2002. He graduated with a degree in Management Information Systems.

United Soccer Leagues announced today the 2004 All-League Team for the Premier Development League, honoring 11 of the league’s best players.

Mingo, Holloway and Thompson named to 2004 PDL All-League team.

The South Jersey Barons, who went unbeaten for the season, saw three players honored with John Thompson in the back and Neil Holloway and Ruben Mingo at midfielder and forward, respectively.

Central Florida Kraze midfielder Eric Vasquez is the only player to earn the honor for the second straight year. Vasquez was also honored as the Rookie of the Year last season in addition to being an All-League selection.

Cape Cod Crusaders forward David Bulow and Indiana Invaders midfielder Mubarike Chisoni were the only other players who were also honored last season. The pair were named to their respective All-Conference teams last year.

2004 PDL All-League Team

G Brad Guzan Chicago Fire Reserves

D Kevin Taylor Michigan Bucks

D John Thompson South Jersey Barons

D Jeremy Tolleson Cascade Surge

M Mubarike Chisoni Indiana Invaders

M Neil Holloway South Jersey Barons

M Tom Poltl Orange County Blue Star

M Eric Vasquez Central Florida Kraze

F David Bulow Cape Cod Crusaders

F Ruben Mingo South Jersey Barons

F Julio Frias El Paso Patriots

Barons lose first game of the season in the Eastern Conference championship game.

The curse of the unbeatens in the PDL continued Saturday night as both the South Jersey Barons and Chicago Fire Reserves were ousted in their conference finals. South Jersey fell 3-2 in Greensboro to Carolina and Chicago was knocked out, 1-0, in overtime by Boulder in Fort Wayne. All five teams in USL men's amateur history to go unbeaten have not won the championship. Central Florida (pictured) and Fresno also advanced to the PDL Semifinals.

Both unbeatens were knocked out of the PDL postseason in heartbreaking fashion.

The Barons’ season ended on a 90th minute tally from Carolina substitute Ryan Caugherty on an assist from Jamal Shteiwi, who had scored earlier in the match and tallied the game-winner against the two-time defending champion the night before. It was Caugherty’s first goal of the season, however, that gave Carolina the Eastern Conference title.

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