Emerging Players To Watch In 2017

New to the league or getting more time to start the year, these five players are ones to watch as the season progresses
Matthew Levine (@NASLInsider} | Apr 19, 2017

Photo credit: Todd Drexler/Jacksonville Armada FC

Through Week 4 of the Fall Season, some new faces are emerging as players to keep an eye on. Some players have been in the NASL before, but have had limited playing time, while others are in their first season of play in the league.  

Here's a look at several of those players: 

Kenny Teijsse (San Francisco Deltas) – Coming to the U.S. from Go Ahead Eagles of the Eredivisie, the fullback has made a fast start on the Deltas’ back line. He is leading the team in duels (36), duels won (22), tackles (9), and fourth in clearances (11). Teijsse has also been involved in the attack having the most touches (181) on the team. He has played a big role in San Francisco conceding just two goals through its first three games.

Jack Blake (Jacksonville Armada FC) – The young Englishman made his NASL debut with Minnesota United last season, but Blake has been more embedded in the Jacksonville lineup to start the 2017 campaign. The midfielder is in the top five on the team in many statistical categories, including duels, chances created (which he leads the team), successful passes, and shots on target. It’s safe to say that Blake has been heavily involved in the Armada FC’s success and will look to continue to play his part for the current league leaders.

Robert Baggio Kcira (Miami FC) – The midfielder played just 20 minutes in 2016 for Miami FC, but after making a switch to fullback to start the year, he’s played 269 of 270 available minutes. Kcira is first in the team in duels (42) and duels won (21), and he’s tied for first in tackles (6) and interceptions (7). He also hasn’t been shy about getting forward, creating three chances and leading the side, as well as the league, in touches (285).

Dean Shiels (FC Edmonton) – The forward may be known in European circles for his time in Scotland, most notably with Rangers FC, but the veteran is in his debut season in North America. The Eddies have yet to hit the ground running with their attack, but the forward flashed his potential in the side despite Edmonton’s recent 3-1 loss. Shiels’ header came off the post before sending another header into Tomi Ameobi’s path, from his knees, for an assist. He has also created a team-leading five chances in the club’s first three games.

Tanner Thompson (Indy Eleven) – The young midfielder has made a key impact already, scoring a goal in his professional debut to earn the Boys in Blue a point in the season opener. Thompson has started two of Indy’s three games so far, and while it’s yet to be determined how impactful he will be over the course of his first season, the potential exists from Thompson to find himself pretty involved for last year’s runner-up.  

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