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Former US Youth Soccer ODP Region I standout leads No. 6 Duke with 7 goals to start the season

September 16, 2010 10:00 PM
After losing all three preseason games, the Duke University men's soccer team has rebounded to start the season 2-0-2 and is ranked No. 6 in this week's Soccer America Men's Top 25. The Blue Devils managed just one goal during their season tune-ups, but sophomore forward Ryan Finley has stepped up to lead Duke with seven goals in their first four games, including two hatricks.

Finley was a member of the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Region I team prior to earning a spot in the U.S. Soccer Under-17 residency program in Florida. The PDA (NJ) standout made a name for himself with the US Youth Soccer ODP Region I team when he won the Golden Boot as the top scorer at a US Youth Soccer ODP Regional Team tournament in Argentina. Now carrying the load for the Blue Devils, big things are expected of Finley as he tries to lead Duke to an NCAA Tournament berth in a conference which has four teams ranked in the top six in the nation.

Duke's preseason struggles continued out of the gate with a 0-0 tie against No. 20 Louisville, but the offense found their form as Finley notched three goals the next game to lead Duke to a 4-1 victory over Sacramento State. The following week Duke faced No. 2 Virginia and trailed 2-1 in the 87th minute before Finley scored his fourth goal of the season to earn a 2-2 draw. Tuesday, knotted 0-0 at the half with George Washington, Finley scored three goals in the first 191 seconds of the second half to send Duke on their way to a 4-0 victory.

With an undefeated record and a top 10 ranking, Duke will host fellow ACC power No. 3 North Carolina tonight (Friday, Sept. 17) in Durham, N.C. The match will mark Duke's third game against top 25 competition and second versus a top 5 foe in their first five games. The game will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel at 6:30 p.m. ET.

For this week's Soccer America Men's Top 25, click here and to learn more about US Youth Soccer ODP, click here.



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