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Pro Prospects: Leaving early edition

Article Written by Travis Clark
Published: February 8, 2017

Carlyn Baldwin’s decision to leave Tennessee early was just one of a handful of players to leave school in search of pro opportunities.

There’s obviously the handful of standouts that left to sign Generation adidas deals and matriculate through the MLS draft. A couple of other college players have moved along during the offeseason as well.

Virginia midfielder Lucas Mendes has left school early to explore professional options, according to sources close to the player. He’s expected to join up with the New York Cosmos in the NASL for preseason next week in preparation for the upcoming season.

The 2016 High School Gatorade Player of the Year, Mendes appeared in eight games for Virginia last fall.

Last week, Wisconsin announced the departure of New Zealand defender Sam Brotherton after two seasons in Madison. Brotheron signed a two-and-a-year deal with Premier League side Sunderland.

The sophomore made 33 appearances for the Badgers, and was capped six times by New Zealand, including appearances in friendlies against the United States and Mexico last fall.

"I'd like to say thank you to Wisconsin," Brotherton said in a press release. "It's been a pleasure and an honor to be at such a great university with a great program and athletic department. It's just really been an honor and a privilege to represent the school for the last two years and I'm really excited to watch the boys as they take on 2017 and they're really going to do great things and they're in a good place."

Joining Brotherton among center backs departing early for the professional level, UC Santa Barbara defender Lamar Batista has signed with Timbers 2 in the USL. The 6-foot-5 center back from Oklahoma made 18 appearances for the Gauchos last fall, starting in 11 games. He’s been in preseason with Portland’s MLS squad in Arizona.

Wright scores a brace for Schalke

No stranger to finding the back of the net for Schalke's U19 youth side, U.S. U20 forward Haji Wright was amongst the goals again. Wright scored a brace on Saturday in a 4-1 win against Dusseldorf's youth outfit.

Akale climbs the ladder

U.S. youngster Mukwelle Akale made the game day roster for Villarreal’s B squad, which competes in the Segunda Division B over in Spain. It marked the first time in his tenure with the Yellow Submarine that Akale's cracked the roster higher than the C level, where he usually competes for the La Liga side.

Related Topics: Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big West
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