Written By: Billyle Alman
The defending regular season champs’ roster took a hit last week as standout Francis Atuahene accepted his offer to join Generation Adidas in pursuit of a professional contract in the MLS. The University of Michigan’s squad still looks to be loaded and is set to return 7-9 starters from last season’s NCAA Tournament team.
Though Francis has been the notable standout for the Wolverines over the past three years, there is a player in the same recruiting class (2015) that has perhaps more international appeal here in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s most versatile player in recent memory comes in the form of Marcello Borges. With the MLS draft set for January 19th (No announcement from Borges), it seems as though the Wolverine left back is set to stay on campus for now. The question remains, as a player in the USMNT system, could there be other career paths available for this student athlete?
Marcello is a product of the Red Bulls Academy in New Jersey and has since been featured with the NY Red Bulls’ PDL and USL affiliates. More impressive is Borges’ stability within the US youth sides. Borges first appeared for the U-18 MNT in 2015 where he first learned to sharpen his craft as a left back. Since then he has been a constant call up for the US youth coaches, most recently at U-20 team camps in 2017 and would have been in the player pool for the 2017 U-20 World Cup if not for his injury suffered last spring.
Around the time of the Evan Louro professional announcement in 2017 (Red Bulls), eyes turned to New Jersey local Borges and the rumors surrounding that he too would accepted an offer to be called up to Red Bulls; Borges stayed in school.
With the draft approaching, if he wishes to play professionally in the states, he has most likely been advised to stay put for now as he will be subject for a homegrown NYRB deal at any moment, most likely upon the conclusion of his senior season come the fall of 2018.
We aren’t prepared to make any assumptions. It is important to note that a potential professional jump for Borges could come out of a number of options prior to the fall of 2018 or after. We believe Marcello is a professional ready left back and that very well could be internationally. Technically and tactically, Borges is perhaps the most polished player in program history. His ability to use both feet paired with his willingness to win the aerial ball makes up for any doubts in his natural athletic ability. He is a stud.
Fans in Ann Arbor want this player back. A player like Borges brings a level of professionalism to a training session and locker room. Having a player like Marcello wearing the Maize and Blue as a senior is something Coach Daley will depend on if granted and should surely keep the Wolverines in the mix as a pre-season Big Ten Favorite.
What we know:
1. Borges is currently here on campus (University of Michigan) taking classes this spring.
2. Borges is still listed within the NYRB system, meaning Red Bulls could have the first crack at the player if they chose to use a homegrown option.