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How Pape Mar Boye is coming into his own at Phoenix Rising FC | Young Player Spotlight

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/15/24, 2:25PM EDT


The highly-regarded 20-year-old center back is finding his form as he adapts to a higher level of competition

Phoenix Rising FC's Pape Mar Boye put in a defensive display that showed off his qualities as Rising earned a shutout victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Ashley Orellana / Phoenix Rising FC

When Phoenix Rising FC signed 2023 NCAA College Cup winner and Defensive MVP Pape Mar Boye out of Clemson University this January, it was regarded as a major coup for the club.

Per The Athletic’s Tom Bogert, the 20-year-old had been offered a Generation adidas contract by Major League Soccer after his freshman season at Clemson University but elected instead to launch his professional career with the defending USL Championship title holders.

Still, even for someone as highly regarded as Boye was, there was still a learning curve when it comes to moving out of the college ranks and into the pros, and there were instances where it showed in Phoenix’s up-and-down start to the new campaign.

This past weekend, though? This was what we were looking for.

Boye delivered a composed, confident performance as Rising earned a 1-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Phoenix Rising Stadium that showed why there was such excitement over his decision to head to the Desert in the first place.

Playing against a pair of active Switchbacks center forwards – first Juan Tejada, then Ronaldo Damus after the Haitian substituted on for the final half-hour – Boye’s positioning was impressive. When Colorado Springs looked to find either in the penalty area, he made sure they were unable to turn in possession to get a sight on goal or was in the right place to win the ball.

When Boye had possession, he was mostly solid as well. A couple of well-intentioned passes for Phoenix’s build-out in the defensive third caused a moment or two of consternation, but as the game went on he grew more confident and started delivering good balls upfield that set Rising on its way in the attacking half.

Pape Mar Boye has played every minute in Phoenix Rising FC's opening six games of the 2024 campaign, stepping into the professonal ranks for the first time. | Photo courtesy Ashley Orellana / Phoenix Rising FC

There should be more to come from Boye in the coming weeks, and playing alongside an experienced head like John Stenberg should aid his progression with big plans on the horizon.

More performances like the one he put in this weekend should keep Boye’s stock rising overall.

Now, here are some other young standouts who stood out in the past weekend of action…

- Duran Ferree, Orange County SC: The 17-year-old goalkeeper was composed and in good position all night to earn a three-save shutout in OCSC’s 0-0 draw against San Antonio FC at Toyota Field.

- Giulio Dorattioto, Phoenix Rising FC: The 19-year-old Italian had a busy first half before being lifted, completing 29 of 32 passes and winning 2 of 2 tackles while recording two shots and two chances created for Rising.

- Carlos Moguel Jr., Louisville City FC: The 20-year-old notched an assist on his debut this season for LouCity against Charleston and had a pair of interceptions as he worked back into the side’s midfield rotation.

- Tega Ikoba, Indy Eleven: The 20-year-old scored a nicely taken finish for his first goal for the Boys in Blue and had three shots overall but will want to be more engaged in future opportunities in the starting lineup.

- Rocco Genzano, Miami FC: The 19-year-old Italian was one of few bright spots for Miami in its defeat to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, scoring once and notching two chances created while winning 4 of 7 ground duels.

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