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Orange County Blues 2016 Player Postmortem: Matt Sheldon

Midseason addition became regular starter.

Courtesy of OC Blues FC

Matt Sheldon was a glimpse into a developmental pipeline for Orange County in 2016, if only for a few months.

The right back, signed in July, came from the OC Blues’ U-23 PDL side, a signing that made sense in that light but a path that had not been trod by the club in recent seasons. While PDL rosters are mostly stocked with college players needing a spot to play as amateurs for the summer, there are a handful of non-collegiate players on rosters, and one would think having a PDL team would be a good window into scouting talent for the USL side on a somewhat consistent basis.

At any rate, Sheldon made the grade and signed for the Blues, and essentially took over the position for the rest of the season, pushing out the incumbent starter, Jack McCracken, who didn’t seem like a slouch in his own right.

Sheldon 2016 OC Blues statistics

2016 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
2016 Games Played Games Started Minutes Goals Assists Shots SOG Yellow Cards Red Cards
USL Regular Season 14 14 1,259 0 0 3 1 2 0
USL Playoffs 2 2 240 0 0 0 0 1 0
U.S. Open Cup 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 16 1,499 0 0 3 1 3 0

All in all, Sheldon was the first of many midseason signings by the Blues to try and help the team get over their consistently inconsistent form and make a run for the playoffs. They did just that, and Sheldon was impressive throughout at right back.

Of course, he’s already moved on, signing with Preki’s new project over at Saint Louis FC in the offseason. Meanwhile, Orange County is undergoing a new project of its own, and fortunately or not, OCSC won’t face Saint Louis in the regular season this year.

It’s unclear if Sheldon’s ceiling is particularly higher than USL, but the 24-year-old got off to a good start in 2016 in the league and could make a push to get looks at a higher level in the future. Remember, full back is probably the most bedeviling position in American soccer, so if any group of players has a chance of moving from obscurity in a hurry, it’s fullbacks, and maybe Sheldon has a chance of doing just that. Time will tell.

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