It’s been a tough few months for some of the Olé alumni overseas, with injuries a recurring theme, but Kyle Adams and Elliot Collier have made exciting starts to their pro careers and several players had stand-out US college seasons.
The Portuguese season is exactly at the halfway mark and it’s been a mixed start for Tyler Boyd’s Vitória Guimarães, with the club in fifth place, seven points off a Europa League spot. Tyler has made regular appearances off the bench but hasn’t been able to nail down a first team place, partly due to injury. The team is also into the cup quarterfinals, with Tyler’s only goal so far coming in a 7-0 thrashing of Valenciano in the third round.
Jesse Edge had a good run in the team for FK Železiarne Podbrezová through September and October but has since dropped to the bench, and with his coach rarely using all three changes available to him appearances have been hard to come by. The team has struggled, sitting 10th out of 12 in the Slovakian league and losing in the last 16 of the cup. The club sacked their coach prior to Christmas, so Jesse will be hoping to impress his new boss.
In Norway’s third tier Aaron Jones and Asker finished in fourth, eight points off the winners and seven off a promotion playoff spot. The defender started all but one game this season as his team put up the joint-third best defensive record in the league.
Tyler Lissette has mostly watched from the bench as Värnamo struggled in the closing months of 2018, eventually finishing in 11th and losing a relegation playoff to Syrianska. The team now drops into the third tier of Swedish football.
Dutch league leaders PSV have yet to see Ryan Thomas take the field after a preseason injury ruled him out for several months. The midfielder missed out on playing Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, but he is on the comeback trail and should play a role as the club look to defend their Eredivisie title.
It has been a promising first season for Kyle Adams down on the US-Mexico border as he led the Rio Grande Valley defence to one of the better records in the USL, but goals were hard to come by for the Houston Dynamo affiliate and they finished 13th out of 17 in the Western Conference. Kyle regularly played the full 90 throughout the year.
Cory Brown was in and out of the team at Fresno FC over the last few months as the Vancouver Whitecaps affiliate finished their first USL season 12th in the Western Conference. Unfortunately for Cory the Whitecaps and Fresno both decided to release the 2018 MLS draft pick and he is on the lookout for a new club.
Elliot Collier spent the second half of 2018 on loan at USL team Indy Eleven, making 11 appearances and scoring one goal as they finished 7th in the Eastern Conference. They qualified for the playoffs, losing in the first round. Elliot ended the year on a high though, with Chicago Fire handing him a contract extension.
Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson is another player without a club after Portland Timbers didn’t offer him a new contract. Jake made six starts for the MLS club in 2018, but a leg injury ruled him out of the entire second half of the season.
Several Olé graduates had notable 2018 US college seasons. Noah Billingsley lead the way in Division One as he was selected to the All-Far West Region team, having played the season in a wing-back position for UC Santa Barbara. Mikey Faber was named a co-captain for Texas-Rio Grande Valley as they finished the season with 14 wins. Over in the Midwest Xavier Green’s Ohio State struggled badly, but Xavier made a mark in his freshman season as one of only six players to play in all 18 games for the Buckeyes, starting 16 of them.
In Division Three, Willamette goalkeeper Mason Kelliher played in 16 games, conceding only 12 goals and keeping six clean sheets as the Bearcats finished second in the Northwest Conference. He was also named to the All-Conference Second Team. Harry Merz enjoyed an extremely successful season as his Luther College team won 19 of their 24 games, making it all the way to the quarter-finals of the national championship. Harry started every game and was named to the All-North Region team, as well as earning an All-Conference team spot and a Defensive Player of the Week award.