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56ers' Whalen, Hagstrom named to NPSL All-Midwest Region first team

07/21/2015, 10:30pm CDT
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The Madison 56ers, who finished the season atop the National Premier Soccer League's Midwest Region standings, had two players named to the all-region first team as selected by coaches.

Forward Drew Whalen earned a spot on the 11-player top squad after leading the region with 11 goals. A native of Peoria, Ill., he became the first 56ers player to record three hat tricks in a season and topped the scoring chart despite missing three games due to injury.

Whalen, who is heading into his junior year at Western Illinois, missed Saturday's regular-season finale against the Minnesota Twin Stars after suffering a knee injury in training last week and is questionable for Friday's Midwest Region semifinal against the Indiana Fire at Breese Stevens Field.

Defender Jack Hagstrom (Middleton) was the 56ers' other first-team honoree.

The 19-year-old center back, who will start his college career at Brown in the Ivy League in the fall, played four NPSL matches before graduating from high school in June. The 6-foot-4 Hagstrom been a stalwart on a Madison backline that has posted three shutouts and is a threat on set pieces, having scored two goals.

56ers midfielder Gideon Asante made the All-Midwest second team. Asante, a 23-year-old Ghanaian who played for the Charlotte Eagles in USL Pro last season, has three goals and a team-high five assists for Madison.

A pair of 56ers midfielders – Maranatha Baptist's Wira Wama, a former Papua New Guinea youth international, and Nigerian Tony Amolo, who plays at Kenyon (Ohio) – earned honorable mention. Wama has two goals and four assists in his second season with the team, while Amolo has recorded three goals and four assists.

University of Wisconsin defender Adam Lauko, who will be a senior for the Badgers in the fall, also was an honorable mention selection after a solid season for FC Buffalo.

First team

Goalkeeper: Alex Ivanov, AFC Cleveland.
Defenders: Jack Hagstrom, Madison 56ers; Jimmy Fiscus, Lansing United; Fox Slotemaker, FC Buffalo.
Midfielders: Cyrus Saydee, Detroit City FC; Bennett Kim, Indiana Fire; Andrew Ferguson, FC Buffalo.
Forwards: Drew Whalen, Madison 56ers; Nago Mbengue, Indiana Fire; Sergio Manesio, AFC Cleveland.
Utility: William Mellors-Blair, Detroit City FC.

Second team

Goalkeeper: Quinn McAnaney, Lansing United.
Defenders: Andrew Higgins, FC Indiana; Brian Winterfield, Michigan Stars; Austin Solomon, Erie Commodores.
Midfielders: Karim Darbaki, Minnesota Twin Stars; Phil Hagerty, Cincinnati Saints; Michael Tuohy, Fort Pitt Regiment.
Forwards: Daniel Deakin, Erie Commodores; Gideon Asante, Madison 56ers; Geison Moura, Minnesota United Reserves.
Utility: David Edwardson, Detroit City FC.

Honorable mention

AFC Cleveland – Tom Beck, Admir Suljevic. Cincinnati Saints – Dan Williams, R.J. Best. Detroit City FC – Josh Rogers, Seb Harris. Erie Commodores – Daniel Mudd, Ricardo da Silva. FC Buffalo – Andrew Coughlin, Adam Lauko. FC Indiana – Daniel DeBlaere, Antonio Ayres. Fort Pitt Regiment – Brenden Alfery, Matt Fonagy. Indiana Fire – Jack Griffith, Cody Schweitzer. Lansing United – Stephen Owusu, Austin Dunn. Madison 56ers – Tony Amolo, Wira Wama. Michigan Stars – Tariq Akeel, Bradley Centala. Minnesota Twin Stars – A.J. Albers, Peter Runquist. Minnesota United Reserves – Dogara Zamani, Rodrigo Yanez.

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