Bethlehem Steel FC announced late Wednesday morning they have signed 22-year old defender Brandon Aubrey. Aubrey was previously a member of Toronto FC’s organization with consistent appearances with Toronto FC II – the USL affiliate of Toronto FC. Aubrey was selected 21st overall during the first round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by Toronto FC after spending four years at Notre Dame.
Steel FC currently have three defenders with the addition of Aubrey. Matthew Real of Drexel Hill, Matthew Mahoney from Temple, and now Aubrey will see time along the back-line for Bethlehem in 2018. Center back Auston Trusty of Media, has slowly gathered more and more hype since joining the Philadelphia Union organization in August of 2016 as a Homegrown Player signing. 2018 seems to be the year the young stud a real opportunity to earn first-team minutes in the MLS. Aubrey’s addition makes that plan much more feasible.
Brendan Burke, Head Coach of Steel FC, noted that he has plans already in motion for Aubrey to make an immediate impact. “We expect him to anchor our defense because we’re a very young team and could get even younger this season so it’s very valuable to us to have young players that already have experience in the USL,” said Burke. With center back Hugh Roberts being let go earlier this off-season, Steel FC needed a new back-line veteran to take his place. Aubrey is more than capable of playing the role of ‘Elmers’ to help them stick together like glue in 2018. “We are really happy with Brandon joining us and he brings some really valuable experience from a highly successful club,” noted Burke.
With the third new signing in as many days, Bethlehem Steel FC has jumped into action after remaining very quiet thus far in the off-season. Forward Brandon Allen was signed Monday, midfielder Oscar Holness was signed Tuesday, and defender Brandon Aubrey today. News!
Who is Brandon Aubrey?
The first thing to notice regarding Aubrey is his experience with a highly successful organization in Toronto FC. Their MLS roster has been star-studded over the past two seasons with additions like Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, and Jozi Altidore. The organization from the top to the bottom knows how to win and do it consistently. Aubrey could bring that experience and mentality along with him as he moves south to Bethlehem.
Aubrey began his youth soccer career with the Dallas Texans Soccer Club, 13 time National Champions in the Academy structures, not the NFL team Dallas Texans who existed for just one season in the early 1950’s. He was also a two time U17 Disney Showcase tournament. The Disney Showcase tourney has proven to be a fruitful tounrnament for Philadelphia Union technical staff as former Steel FC player Yosef Samuel was first recognized in that showcase among others. From there, Aubrey accepted an offer to play soccer for the University of Notre Dame.
Out of high school, Aubrey was listed as a top-50 recruit by TopDrawerSoccer heading into college. He was listed as the third-best high school player to come out of the state of Texas. That’s a rather large state the last time I checked. While at Notre Dame, more winning occurred. In 2013, Notre Dame won a National Championship while Aubrey contributed. In 2016, Notre Dame won their way to the third round of the NCAA tournament before losing. That 2016 team was spurred on by Aubrey’s leadership with the back-line.
Following his freshman, sophomore, and senior years, Aubrey earned a team MVP honor. Aubrey’s most productive year was his last at Notre Dame. Following the end of his senior season, Aubrey earned several awards. He was named to the 2016 All-ACC first team, NSCAA All-America third team, and NSCAA Scholar All-America first team. Smart and a winner. Check and check.
Toronto FC snagged Aubrey with their 21st pick in the first round MLS SuperDraft as previously mentioned. He never saw first-team minutes in the MLS but he was highly productive in the USL. He made 21 appearances as a defender with Toronto FC II,appearing in 21 matches, while logging 1,781 minutes for 2017. Aubrey forced other teams to notice his contributions when he finished the season as the team-leader in clearances, interceptions and blocks for Toronto FC II.
Aubrey is now the eighth player under contract for Bethlehem Steel FC heading into the 2018 season. Defense is arguably the most important factor for a soccer team and this signing shows Steel FC understand that. Aubrey will be a solid central defender for an ever improving USL side approaching just their third season as a team.
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports