On Oct. 29, the United Soccer League Championship announced that Republic FC defender Hayden Sargis is a finalist for the league’s annual Young Player of the Year award. After signing his first professional contract in January and making his league debut this season, the homegrown standout is the youngest finalist for the 2020 award and the only player in this year’s class to be a finalist in their first season of play. Sargis joins San Antonio FC’s Jose Gallegos and Sporting Kansas City II’s Wilson Harris as this year’s class of promising young players under 23 years old. The award is voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL Championship market. The winner was announced Thursday, Nov. 5.
Sargis, an 18-year-old product of Republic FC’s youth academy, made 15 appearances (93% of the regular-season) with 14 starts at center back in a defensive front that only conceded 18 goals (third best in the Western Conference.) He is the first youth development player in Republic FC history to make his league debut on opening night as a member of the starting lineup. The defender led the team in several regular-season statistics, including on-field minutes (1,236), passing (772 completed passes) – placing him in the league’s top 10, and 46 clearances. His Week 7 performance against Portland Timbers 2 earned USL Championship Team of the Week selection – the first by a Republic FC academy alumni.
The Turlock-native joined Republic FC in 2015 as a member of its youth development academy in its inaugural season. He was one of four players 18 years old or younger from Republic FC’s development program to earn a place in the starting 11 during the 2020 USL Championship regular season.
– Will Strome