[FOUR THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ...] New Jersey's St. Benedict's Prep has produced two of the great names of American soccer inTab Ramos and Claudio Reyna and a host of other future pros, including U.S. World Cup playerGregg Berhalter.The next Gray Bee to make it big could be Mexican-born midfielder Cristhian Hernandez, who signed with the Philadelphia Union. For four things to know about Hernandez ...
PREP JUGGERNAUT.Hernandez helped St. Benedict's win a 23rd New Jersey prep title and finish No. 1 in the ESPN/Rise fall rankings. He led the 24-0-0 Gray Bees with 32 assists and was third in goals behind Maryland-bound Christiano Francois (43) and Pablo Perez (23).
DA STAR.Hernandez was named the 2011 Development Academy U-17/18 Player of the Year at PDA. He scored 17 goals in 30 appearances and helped PDA to a 7-2-1 divisional record, which was enough to seal the top place in the Liberty Division and the No. 6 seed overall in playoffs.
EARLY LOOK.The Union has an academy program -- though not currently entered in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy -- and has affiliate agreements with area clubs such as PDA and FC Delco, which produced two other homegrown signings, Zach Pfeffer and Jimmy McLaughlin. Hernandez was given a look-see last summer and scored the winning goal in the Union's 1-0 friendly win over Everton.
EX-GALAXY PLAYER. Hernandez was born in Guadalajara and lived in California, where he played for the Los Angeles Galaxy's U-15/16 academy team in 2008-09. He moved to Newark to attend at St. Benedict's for his junior year of high school and play for PDA.