The unofficial midway point of the USL League One soccer season has come and gone, with the men of FC Tucson sitting in the middle of the league table. The local side, which sat in seventh position in the 10-team division as of Monday, is 5-6-3 for the year, their first in the USL’s second-highest level.
There have been several players of note for coach Darren Sawatzky this season, guiding the team within two spots of the final position in the league’s four-team postseason.
The team, which is in its first year of professional ball after playing in the semi-professional Premier Development League since its inception in 2012, plays a regular season that runs until Oct. 4.
Here’s who stood out the most in a crowded field of athletes for Tucson’s professional soccer club during the first half:
1. Devyn Jambga, forward
3 goals, 1 assist, 18 shots on goal
It’s been a banner season for the native of Hararare, Zimbabwe, with Jambga sitting in a tie for the most goals scored with teammate Devin Vega. Jambga, who came to Tucson in the offseason after spending last year with the Portland Timbers II of the USL Championship division, was an all-conference selection during his collegiate career at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville from 2014 to 2017. The 5-foot-11-inch forward has been an offensive dynamo for the home side this season, with a rocket-powered leg that can put shots on-target with ease and a relentless drive that allows him to power past defenders for 90 minutes with ease. The competition for the top spot on this list was fierce, but Jambga’s unique skillset allowed him to emerge at the top
2. Devin Vega: Midfielder
3 goals, 6 shots on goal
Vega has thrived during his short stint in Tucson this season, sitting in a tie with Jambga for the team lead in goals scored, despite only playing in six matches for the side. Vega has converted on an incredible 50 percent of his shots on goal this season, showing the deft touch that earned him a spot on the U-17 and U-19 U.S. National teams in years past. The San Antonio, Texas native has a bright future in the sport, having played in both the USL Championship and League One levels at 20 years of age. Expect Vega’s stay in Tucson to be brief, with the team’s parent club, Phoenix Rising, likely calling up the dynamic scorer before long, but not before he tallies a few more firecrackers that leave opposing goalkeepers dazed and confused.
3. Jamael Cox: Midfielder
2 goals, 2 assists, 11 shots on goal
The 27-year-old midfielder from Tacoma, Washington has provided FC Tucson with a solid veteran presence on the field this season, providing plenty of offense to go with his off-field intangibles. Cox, who previously played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the former North American Soccer League, as well as the Seattle Sounders U-23 squad of USL League Two and the Tacoma Stars of the Major Arena Soccer League, has attempted the fourth-most shots on goal of any player on Tucson’s roster this season. He’s scored on two of the five shots he’s put on target this year, showing his ability to put the ball where it needs to be to dominate opposing keepers. Expect Cox to continue his offensive mastery for Sawatzky’s side in the second half of the season, as the home side tries to push its way into the postseason this fall.