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‘Sing’ing a sweet tune: Western Michigan’s Dylan Sing a big part of Broncos suc


BY DAN STICKRADT

WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR

Twitter: @MiSoccerNetwork


KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Dylan Sing doesn’t mind being an underdog. Ever since he entered college, it’s been that way.

Sing, now a 6-foot-3, 185-pound forward/midfielder for Western Michigan University’s men’s soccer program, has been a part of an exciting time period during his five seasons with the Broncos.

Very exciting time period indeed.

Sing and his teammates are enjoying perhaps their best two-year run in WMU men’s soccer program history and are in the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year and third time overall over seven seasons. The Broncos are every bit as good as a top-20 program should be and have put up some big-time numbers.

Western Michigan enters the weekend ranked 16th by the United Soccer Coaches, No. 13 in the college RPI and No. 7 by Top Drawer Soccer – and will play in the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 this weekend, taking on United Soccer Coaches No. 4 and host Notre Dame at 5 p.m. Sunday for the right to advance. Sing has been a key cog in the Broncos’ success story both in 2023 and during his five-year college career. He is a part of 12 players that are either grad students or seniors on the WMU roster, although some of them may come back in 2024 and extend their careers with a final Covid year.

Sing will exhaust his eligibility in the coming weeks but with no regrets.


“It’s been a great ride and I couldn’t be more blessed to play for Western Michigan and be a part of all of this,” offered Sing, who has earned numerous postseason awards during his career. “This has all been a dream come true.”

The College Soccer News named Sing the Men's Soccer National Player of the Week on Oct. 1 during a period where he was on fire in terms of scoring. Sing played in a stretch of games where he scored a goal in eight straight matches. He has started all 21 games this season for the Bronchos, and his team is 58-19-13 during his collegiate career, including 17-1-3 this season – a .809 win percentage.

He was All-MAC Second Team as a junior and as a senior in the Missouri Valley Conference – Western Michigan’s new home for men’s soccer only – he was All-MVC First Team and All-MVC Tournament Team along with CSC All-District this season.

“That’s a record for us (in terms of scoring in consecutive games). But I think it has to be one of the best in the country. How many kids – and I don’t care what level of soccer – can score in eight straight games against quality competition. And when Charlie Sharp missed a couple of games (due to injury), Dylan picked up the slack,” reminded WMU head coach Chad Wiseman. “That’s a senior stepping up.”

“We are a tough team to beat, especially this year,” added Wisman. “We’ve only lost four games in two seasons and Dylan has been a big part of it. All of these upperclassmen have been a big part of it.”

Photos Credited to Western Michigan University Athletics

RURAL UPBRINGINGS

Like most young athletes in rural southwestern Michigan, Sing played a multitude of sports growing up near the town of Stevensville, Michigan, and in particular near the unincorporated locality of Berrien Center. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing soccer, basketball and participating in track and field at Stevensville-Lakeshore High School which is around 15 miles southwest of the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area and just a couple of miles east of the I-94 corridor. That is only 30 minutes out of Kalamazoo, which is surrounded by fertile farmland and rural communities.

Although he didn’t win any championships in basketball or track and field, soccer is where Sing excelled and enjoyed the most success. Soccer was his first love.

“I grew up playing a lot of sports, like most of us did,” recalled Sing. “I liked playing sports and I enjoyed basketball. But I really loved soccer and knew at an early age that was my best sport.”

Sharp did not grow up in the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy system – now it’s MLS Next Academy since 2020 – but has taken an alternate route to success on the pitch.

“There really wasn’t an Academy near me so I never really gave it much of a thought,” said Sing. “Over on the east side (of Michigan) there’s the Michigan Wolves and Vardar that had Academy teams (and now so does the Michigan Jaguars). Over in Grand Rapids there is Midwest United and a few hours away there is the Chicago Fire. But I was happy playing where I was with the Kalamazoo Kingdom and they don’t have an Academy. And I was happy to playing for my high school.”

At Stevensville-Lakeshore, Sing had an incredible career with the Lancers. He was a four-time All-Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference First Team, All-Area (St. Joseph Herald Palladium), All-District, All-Region and All-State player and helped Stevensville-Lakeshore reach the Division 2 regional finals as both a junior and senior.



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He was Division 2 All-State Honorable Mention as a freshman and sophomore and All-State First Team as both a junior and senior. Additionally, he made the 2018 Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State Dream Team, an 11-member squad featuring the top 11 high school players in the state.

“That was a great honor back then,” recalled Sing.

Sing ranks amongst the top 10 in various offensive categories for single-game, season and career in terms of goals, assists, points, hattricks and game-winning goals for Stevensville-Lakeshore’s school record books. Still, Sing did not receive a ton of big-time offers despite him singing a sweet tune coming out of high school as a three-sport athlete and soccer standout.

“I had a great time in high school playing sports at Lakeshore,” added Sing. “I made a lot of great friends and had a lot of fun. But I didn’t talk to a bunch of (colleges). I did talk to Michigan State a little bit and some smaller schools. But Western Michigan really pursued me and offered me. It wasn’t a tough decision. Western Michigan is close by and my parents can see me play. I love Coach Chad (Wiseman) and his staff and they made the decision easy.”

“Dylan was a bit underrated coming out of high school, but he was kind of in our back yard and we as a coaching staff knew what type of player he was and glad that he chose Western Michigan,” noted Wiseman. “I know Michigan State had talked to him a little bit. But I think Western was the only Division I school that really took a good look at him.”

Everyone else’s miss is Western Michigan’s treasure.

Photos Credited to Western Michigan University Athletics

BEST FOR LAST

This season Sing has more than saved his best for last – and has joined up with one of the most productive and explosive offenses in the country.

Sing currently has scored 15 goals (tied for third in the nation), notched eight assists (tied for 26th in the country), registered 38 points (second in the nation) and has notched six game-winning goals for the 17-1-3 Bronchos. He is second on the team in goals, points and game-winning goals categories trailing Sharp. He is tied for third with Sharp and fellow teammate Tom Cooklin but behind Jon Robinson (13 assists) and Carson Hodgson (10 assists) in that category.

For a team that has a plus-35 scoring edge and has become a lethal offensive juggernaut averaging 2.43 goals a game – that alone may spike some interest for postseason honors and perhaps some attention from pro scouts in the upcoming months.

“I think we have a very balanced team. A lot of guys can score or get assists and we have a great defense,” noted Sing.

Sing was eligible last season for the MLS Super Draft but was not selected in any of the rounds. He is currently working on his master’s degree and is uncertain if he’ll continue to climb the latter in terms of soccer under the U.S. pyramid or continue with his master’s education. A lot of that depends on what happens in the following weeks of the 2023 collegiate season.

Having this type of year both as an individual and team has bolstered Sing’s chances of a future pro career.

“We’ll wait and see how it unfolds. I may give it a shot in the right situation,” noted Sing.



Sharp and his Broncos – ranked 16th by the United Soccer Coaches, No. 13 in the college RPI and No. 7 by Top Drawer Soccer – will play in the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 this weekend, taking on United Soccer Coaches No. 4 and host Notre Dame at 5 p.m. Sunday for the right to advance. Sing has been a key cog in the Broncos’ success story both in 2023 and during his five-year college career.

No team in Western Michigan’s history has advanced beyond the Sweet 16 and Sing and his upperclassmen-laden team would love nothing more than to change that. That would be quite a sweet tune to sing and be music to the years of those who follow WMU soccer.

“We have a chance to do something that’s never been done at Western Michigan before, at least for soccer,” reminded Sing. “We would love to keep playing and get to the Elite Eight. Even if that doesn’t happen it’s still been an incredible time at Western (Michigan). There’s no place I’d rather play than with this group of guys.”


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Wiseman said that few in life are as competitive as Charlie Sharp.

“Charlie is not just a great soccer player but a great person and is the ultimate competitor,” said Wiseman. “It doesn’t matter if he’s playing cards, video games, playing golf – it doesn’t matter but Charlie always plays to win. You can’t teach that. He has that (x-factor) that you can’t teach. He’s so competitive in everything in life and I think that what helps him to become the player that he is today.”

During the summer months, Sharp has also played in the USL League Two amateur league for college players or recent college grads, and in the summer of 2022 teamed up with Dylan Sing to play in New Hampshire for the Seacoast United Phantoms. He also played a couple of years with the Flint City Bucks and in the summer of 2023 suited up for the AFC Ann Arbor, where he was the team’s leading goal scorer.


‘SING’ING A SONG ON NUMBERS

2023

(Entering Sweet 16)

Goals – 15 (No. 3 in the nation)

Assists – 8 (tied for 26th in the nation)

Points – 38 (No. 2 in the nation)

Game-Winning Goals – 6

2022

Goals – 6

Assists – 7

Points – 19

Game-Winning Goals – 2

2021

Goals – 5

Assists – 3

Points – 13

Game-Winning Goals – 1

2020

Goals – 5

Assists – 1

Points – 11

Game-Winning Goals – 1

2019

Goals – 1

Assists – 3

Points – 5

Game-Winning Goals – 0

Career

Goals – 34

Assists – 22

Points – 90

Game-Winning Goals – 10

Total Shots – 151

Games Played – 89


(Dan Stickradt is Web and Content Editor for the Michigan Soccer Network and a 30-year veteran in the Michigan journalism circles. He can be reached via email at stickradt@michigansoccernetwork.com. Follow on Twitter @MiSoccerNetwork or @LocalSportsFans and on numerous other social media platforms.)


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