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Under Vaudreuil, Tulsa Roughnecks earn first-ever playoff berth in USL – The Collinsville Press
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Under Vaudreuil, Tulsa Roughnecks earn first-ever playoff berth in USL

Canton native David Vaudreuil has led the Tulsa Roughnecks into the United Soccer League playoffs for the first time. (Photo courtesy Lori Scholl / Tulsa Roughnecks FC)

TULSA, Oklahoma – A year ago, the Tulsa Roughnecks soccer team had the worst record in the Western Conference of the United Soccer League (5-21-4), scoring a league-low 25 goals.

Twelve months later, the Roughnecks (14-14-4) have finished in the top eight of the USL’s Western Conference and secured the franchise’s first-ever playoff berth under first-year coach David Vaudreuil, the former All-American soccer player at Canton High and Canton native.

Two weeks ago, Tulsa clinched its playoff spot with a 1-0 win over Seattle, playing with just 10 men. They’ll begin play in the USL playoffs next weekend.

Vaudreuil has been able to bring some talented players to Tulsa. He helped convince Argentina forward Juan Pablo Caffa to join the squad. He has nine goals and a team-leading eight assists. “We were going to play the type of style that he could fit into and be the featured point of,” Vaudreuil told USL “To have someone of that caliber and experience and technical ability on dead balls and passing the ball, shooting the ball, delivering the ball, it’s been exciting for us, exciting for our fans.”

American Ian Svantesson leads the Roughnecks with 11 goals and one assist while Joey Calistri, on loan from the MLS’ Chicago Fire, has added nine goals and six assists. Tulsa has scored a team-record 46 goals.

Read more about Vaudreuil’s transformation of the Roughnecks from USL

At Canton, Vaudreuil earned All-American and All-State honors in his senior season (1983) under the late head coach Bryon McKusick. Vaudreuil scored 28 goals in 1983, a single-season school record at that time that was later broken by Karl Schilling (33) in 2003. Vaudreuil finished his scholastic career with 47 goals, fourth best in school history. He helped the Warriors win a Class S championship in 1981.

After graduating from Canton in 1984, he played at Princeton and played professional soccer for 14 years including several seasons in Major League Soccer from 1996 through 2002 with D.C. United, the Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire. He did spent one season in the A League in New Britain with the now-defunct Connecticut Wolves.

Vaudreuil was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007 and Canton High’s Wall of Fame in 2006.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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