[USL PRO] The 15-team USL PRO begins its first season Saturday with two games: Orlando City (formerly Austin Aztex) at Richmond Kickers and Sevilla FC Puerto
Rico. The league's projected stars have a wide range of backgrounds, including service in MLS. Here's a list at 10 USL PRO players to watch in 2011 ...
DUSTIN BIXLER (Harrisburg). A mainstay on the City Islanders’ backline since 2007 when he was named the USL-2 championship game MVP. His earned three consecutive selections to the USL-2 all-league team (’08 second team, ’09 and ’10 first team).
TONY DONATELLI (Rochester). The midfielder had a tryout in the spring with MLS's San Jose Earthquakes. He scored seven goals and three assists for the Montreal Impact a season ago.
ANDREW DYKSTRA (Charleston). Won the starting job in goal for the Chicago Fire at the start of the 2010 season but later lost it to rookie Sean Johnson. Still only 25, Dykstra gives the Battery a commanding presence in goal.
WALTER GAITAN (L.A. Blues). The 34-year-old Argentine arrives from Mexico, where he scored 73 goals in 179 games for Tigres before a short spell with Necaxa.
JORGE HERRERA (Charlotte). The 30-year-old midfielder from Colombia is in his fifth season with the Eagles. He earned all-USL-2 honors in 2010, finishing fourth in the league with six goals and adding two assists.
BOYZZZ KHUMALO (Pittsburgh). The 30-year-old South African returned to the Riverhounds after spending two-plus seasons in MLS with D.C. United.
JOE TAIT (Dayton). The Englishman was named the 2010 PDL Defender of the Year after an outstanding season for the Baton Rouge Capitals.
PETTER VILLEGAS (Puerto Rico River Plate). The Ecuador-born Villegas spent five seasons in MLS with the MetroStars and D.C. United before returning to Ecuador. The St. Benedict's Prep star then played more than 100 games for the Puerto Rico Islanders before moving to River in 2010.
JAMIE WATSON (Orlando City). The former U.S. under-17 international, who spent time in MLS with Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas, was named to the 2010 D-2 Pro League Best XI with Austin as a midfielder.
YOMBY WILLIAM (Richmond). The 26-year-old Cameroonian out of Old Dominion University was a force in both seasons in USL-2, winning the Defender of the Year in 2009 and first-team all-league honors in both 2009 and 2010.