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2015 Was A Season To Remember At These Schools

College Soccer News annually likes to acknowledge those programs that had special seasons. The 2015 season was a shinning season for the schools identified. It may be that they greatly exceeded expectations, or won more games than ever before, or accomplished something that will be a springboard for future seasons, or put together an improbable run. Regardless of the reason, it was a season that will be remembered, that will always bring a sense of pride and accomplishment to those involved, and that will have a positive impact on the program for years to come. 

Any really successful coach will quickly tell you that the level of success they enjoy is dependent upon having talented, dedicated, and focused players. You can be the greatest coach in the world but without talented players you are not going to go very far. However,in the process of making any meaningful analysis of the 2015 season, one fact jumps out. Coaching had a huge impact on the success of the programs identified below. They were all difference makers. 


Stanford - National Champions! Those two words pretty much sums it up. Stanford won the program's first national championship in 2015 in more than one-hundred years of men's soccer. When Jeremy Gunn the became the head coach at Stanford in 2012 the Cardinal were coming off a 6-10-2 season. Nonetheless many felt it was just a matter of time before Stanford under Gunn's direction won a national championship. He proved them right in 2015 with an 18-2-3 season that included the program's second consecutive Pac-12 championship and wins over Santa Clara, Ohio State, and number one seeded Wake Forest on the road to advance to the College Cup where they then topped Akron and Clemson to secure the national championship. The success the Cardinal enjoyed in 2015 didn't occur overnight. Stanford steadily and yearly upped their talent level and their mental toughness under Gunn's guidance  The Cardinal were 9-8-1 in 2012, 10-7-4 in 2013 in which they returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since 2001, and 13-3-3 in 2014 when the program won its first Pac-12 title since back in 2001. Junior forward Jordan Morris and senior defender Brandon Vincent were NSCAA and College Soccer News All-Americans. Morris, Vincent and senior midfielder Ty Thompson were NCAA Division I All-Far West Region selections. Junior goalkeeper Andrew Epstein was an All-Far West Second Team selection and senior midfielder Eric Verso an All-Far West Third Team selection. This team had plenty of star power but the strength of the Cardinal from top to bottom and their mental toughness are the factors that separated this group from past Stanford teams.  


Clemson - This has been a great year to be a Clemson Tiger. Clemson had a banner season in 2015 in which they were 17-3-4 and advanced to the national championship game for the first time in twenty-eight years. The Tigers returned to prominence on the national scene several years ago but it is impossible to talk about the 2015 campaign without reflecting on what Mike Noonan has accomplished since taking over the reigns of the program in 2010. It was clear early own that good things were happening at Clemson under Noonan's direction as he slowly but surely began to rebuild a winning attitude while at the same time making new inroads on the recruiting trail that improved the level of talent on board.  In 2013 the Tigers returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since the 2006 season. In 2014 they took another huge step forward when they won the ACC Tournament Championship and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in NCAA Tournament play. The success the Tigers had in 2015 is also a positive refletion on the perseverence, dedication, not to mention the talent of the 2015 senior class of forwards T.J. Casner and Kyle Murphy, midfielder Paul Clowes who was named the ACC Midfielder of the Year , and back Kyle Fisher who was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Clemson was awarded the number two seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced past Elon, UC Santa Barbara and Maryland to return to the College Cup for the first time in ten years. They then advanced past Syracuse in penalty kicks before losing to Stanford in the national championship match.  Noonan was named the 2015 National Coach of the Year by the NSCAA. Fisher, Casner, and Clowes were named to the College Soccer News All-American Team and freshman back Patrick Bunk-Anderson was named to the CSN All-Freshman Team. Casner, Fisher, and goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell were named NSCAA All-Americans.


Syracuse - 2015 was a season of firsts for Syracuse. Under the direction of Ian McIntyre the Orange advanced to the College Cup for the first time in the history of the program. They also won their first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship with an amazing run in the conference tournament that included advancing past N.C. State at home and then North Carolina, Clemson, and Notre Dame on the road. Syracuse finished the season with an impressive 16-5-4 overall record. It was the second season in a row that the Orange won sixteen games which is just one win away from the single season record of seventeen wins in 1982. Syracuse was ranked as the number three team in the nation in the season ending College Soccer News National Poll and as the number four team in the country in the final NSCAA Poll to record highest season ending ranking in program history. McIntyre who became the head coach at Syracuse in 2010 belongs on the short list of coaches who have totally turned programs around during the past five seasons. The 2015 season was particularly impressvie because the Orange entered the season with a lot of new faces on the pitch. When McIntyre arrived he immediately began putting in place a solid foundation upon which to build the program. The results of his efforts began to show in the win column in 2012 when the Orange won fourteen games and earned a berth in the NCAA Tourney for the first time since the 1984 season and then advanced to the Sweet Sixteen earning the programs first ever NCAA Tournament wins. In 2013 Syracuse joined the ACC and recorded a 10-7-1 overall record. In 2014 they were 16-4-1 and again advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. In 2015 sophomore midfielder Julian Buescher was named an All-American by both the NSCAA and College Soccer News. Defender Miles Robinson and goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert were named to the College Soccer News All-Freshman Team.


Akron -  The Zips had an outstanding season in 2015 during which they had an 18-3-3 overall record and advanced to the College Cup for the first time since 2010. Akron won both the MAC regular season and tournament titles. They were awarded the number four seed in the NCAA Tournament and then topped Rutgers, SMU and Creighton to advance to the Final Four where their season came to an end when fell to eventual national champion Stanford 8 to 7 in a penalty kick shootout after the game was tied 0-0 at the end of 110 minutes of play.  Junior midfieder Adam Najem was named an All-American by both the NSCAA and College Soccer News. Najem, sophomores Sam Gainford, Stuart Holthusen, Richie Laryea and junior Brad Rhaak and senior Andrew Souders were named to the All-MAC First Team.  Akron along with Indiana, Maryland, UCLA and Virginia are the only five teams to have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the past nine seasons. Akron is 48-13-6 in the three seasons that Jared Embick has been the head coach of the program.  


Wake Forest - Wow. The Demon Deacons had a teriffic season going 17-3-2 overall with a 6-0-2 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play.  The Deacons were awarded the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament and fell one win shy of the College Cup when they lost a 2-1 heartbreaker in overtime to eventual national champion Stanford in the Elite Eight. Wake Forest had as many if not more signature victories than any team in the country in 2015 with wins over the likes of Syracuse, Akron, Boston College, South Carolina, North Carolina, Charlotte and Indiana. Coach Bobby Muuss was named the ACC Coach of the Year in his first season as the Demon Deacon head coach. Muuss and his staff did an excellent job of putting all the pieces together to form a unified and focused team in 2015 on both sides of the ball.  Midfielder Jack Harrison was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Teammates midfielders Ian Harkes and Jacori Hayes joined Harrison as All-ACC First Team selections while senior forward Michael Gamble and redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alec Ferrell were named to the All-ACC Second Team. Harrison, Gamble, Harkes and Hayes were all named to the NSCAA All-South Region Team while Harrison, who elected to forgo his final three seasons at Wake Forest to enter the professional ranks via a Generation adidas contract, was also named a First Team All-American by the NSCAA and College Soccer News. This is a program with a lot of good things going for it including momemtum. It is noteworthy that Wake Forest was the top team in the country in attendance in 2015 with an average of 2,720 fans on hand at Spry Stadium to witness and contrubute to the success the program enjoyed. It is also noteworthy that Gamble and Philip Parker were the only two seniors on the 2015 roster.  Stay tuned for what what has all the makings of another special season in 2016. 


Seattle University - Record breaking might be the two best words to describe Seattle's season in 2016. The Redhawks took another big step forward with an 18-4-1 overall record that established that this is a program that is for real with many more good things likely to come. The Redhawks had signature wins over Santa Clara, Washington, Oregon State, UNLV, Utah Valley and UCLA. Seattle won the Western Athletic Conference regular seaosn and tournament titles to earn the program's second spot in the NCAA Tourney. They were subsequently awarded the number eleven seed in the NCAA Tourney and topped UCLA 1-0 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in the Division I history of the program. Sophomore forward David Olsen and junior defender Kyle Bjornethun who was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year were named 2015 All-Americans by both the NSCAA and College Soccer News. Midfielder Sergio Rivas was named the WAC Freshman of the Year. Pete Fewing was honored as the WAC Coach of the Year as well as the NSCAA West Regional Coach of the Year. Seattle was ranked as the number eleven team in the nation in the final College Soccer News Season Ending poll and as the number twelve team in the country in the final NSCAA poll. Seniors Michael Roberts, Shane Haworth, Hamza Haddadi, and Austin Sweeney leave Seattle with the legacy taking the program to a higher level during their tenure as a Redhawk.   


Denver - What a season. The Pioneers won the Summit League regular season and tournament titles and were the only undefeated team in the country heading into postseason play. They were awarded the number thirteen seed in the NCAA Tournament and hosted an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in the history of the program. Denver finished the 2015 season with a 15-1-3 overall record and were ranked as the number sixteen team in the country in the season ending College Soccer News poll and the number seventeen team in the final NSCAA poll. Back Reagan Dunk was named the Summit League Defensive Player of the Year and became the first player in the D1 one history of the program to be named an NSCAA and College Soccer News All-American. Jamie Franks was named the Summit League Coach of the Year, Dan Jackson was named the Summit League Goalkeeper of the Year and Andre Shinyashiki was named the League Freshman of the Year.  No first year head coach in the country had a more productive season in 2015 than Denver's Jamie Franks. Jackson and defensive midfielder Jordan Schwitzer were the only two seniors on the 2015 roster so the likelihood of even greater accomplishments in the future looks pretty good. Franks summed it up well when he stated, "The program will be stronger from all the results we had.".  


North Florida - The standard of excellence was forever raised at North Florida in 2015. The Ospreys had their first ten win season since beginning Division I play in 2005. They won their first ever Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title with a 4-0-1 mark in league play. The Ospreys also won their first ever Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Championship topping USC Upstate 7-0 in the tourney final to secure their first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament. Derek Marinatos was named the 2015 Atlantic Sun Conference Co-Coach of the Year. Defender Jay Bolt, midfielder Alex Morrell and forward Helge Pietschman were named First Team All-Atlantic Sun Conference. Goalkeeper Kyle Nasta, defender Simen Solstad, and midfielder Josh Castellanos and forward Milan Kovacs were named Second Team All-Conference selections. Midfielder Ivan Castro was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team.  Pietschman, Morrell and Nasta were NSCAA All-Southeast Region Second Team selections. 


Radford - The Highlanders under the direction of Marc Reeves had a banner season in 2015 in which they were 14-4-2 overall and returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since the 2000 season. The berth in the tourney was Radford's first NCAA at-large invite in the history of the program and they became only the second team in Radford history to earn an at-large berth.  The Highlanders went 7-1-1 in Big South Conference play to secure their second consecutive regular season Big South championship and their sixth in program history. Defender Daniel O'Keefe became the first player in Radford history to be named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year.  He was also named to the NSCAA All-South Region First Team. Defender Jo Vetle Rimstad was named to the NSCAA All-South Region Second Team. Goalkeeper Aitor Pouseu Blanco, midfielder Jamie Summers and forward Sivert Daehlie who was named the Big South Freshman of the Year were NSCAA All-South Region Third Team selections. O'Keefe, Daehlie, and Summers were all All-Big South First Team selections.   


SMU - The Mustangs exceeded expectations in 2015 under the guidance of first year head coach Kevin Hudson. It was a season that will set the pace for seasons to come under Hudson. SMU won the AAC regular season title with a 7-0-1 mark in regular season conference play. They earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tourney to earn a spot in the tournament for the 18th time in the past 22 years. They then topped Utah Valley in the first round and upset number 13 seeded Denver in the second round before losing to Akron 2-1 in the Sweet Sixteen to close out a very successful season with a 15-3-4 overall record. Mauro Cichero was named an All-American by both the NSCAA and College Soccer News. Cichero was also named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year. MIchael Nelson was named the AAC Goalkeeper of the Year. John Lujano was named the AAC Midfielder of the Year. Kevin Hudson and his staff were named the ACC Coaching Staff of the Year. Nelson, Cichero and Lujano were All-AAC First Team selections.


Santa Clara - The Broncos returned to prominance on the national scene in 2015. After beginning the season with a 1-4-0 record and a loss to San Francisco in their first West Coast Conference game they rebounded to finish the season with a 11-8-1 overall record and a 5-1-1 mark in West Coast Conference play. Cameron Rast stated, "Any time this team had its back against the wall, they were able to focus and be sharp." Santa Clara finished the season on a six-match unbeaten streak to claim their 12th WCC title on the final day of the regular season. The Broncos returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2010 season and defeated Cal State Fullerton in the first round 3-0 to secure their first win in NCAA Tournament play since the 2007 campaign. This was a season that bodes well for the future of the program. Rast stated, "This is just a starting point for us with a lot of young guys at key positions coming back." He added, "Our senior five (Dylan Autran, Alfred Edmonds, Matt Escobar, Kendall McIntosh, Max Ornstil) were fantastic this year when it mattered most. A great credit to them for everything they gave to our program." Sophomore forward Delgadillo was named to the NSCAA All-Far West First Team and goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh was named to the NSCAA All-Far West Third Team. Rast was named the WCC Coach of the Year. Delgadillo and sophomore defender Valedar Anderson were named to the All-WCC First Team. McIntosh and senior midfielder Max Ornstill were named to the WCC All-WCC Second Team.  McIntosh was also named the Co-WCC Goalkeeper of the Year and defender Luis Urias was named the WCC Freshman of the Year.


FIU - The Panthers finished the 2015 season with their best record in over eleven years. Under the direction of Scott Calabrese, who was in his second season as the head coach at FIU, the Panthers were 12-7-1, finished regular season play with a record above .500 for the first time since the 2005 season, won the 2015 CUSA title by defeating ODU, Kentucky and Marshall in the conference tournament, and returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since the 2004 season. Calabrese was named the NSCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year and the CUSA Co-Coach of the Year. Junior defender Marvin Hezel was an NSCAA All-Southeast Region First Team selection. Senior midfielder Daniel Gonzalez and junior forward Luis Betancur were All-Southeast Region Second Team selections. Henzel was a CUSA First Team selection. Gonzalez was a CUSA Second Team selection as was midfielder Ismael Longo and Betancur. The 2015 season was a difference maker at FIU and one that provides a springboard for even greater success in the future.  


Hofstra - The Pride won the CAA regular season and tournament titles and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time overall and the first time since 2006. The Pride then topped Lehigh 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tourney before falling to Georgetown 3-0 in the second round to conclude a very special season. Richard Nuttall was named the CAA Coach of the Year.   Junior midfielder Joseph Holland was named an NSCAA All-American after a season in which he powered the Hofstra attack with eight goals and nine assists. Holland was also named the CAA Player of the Year and a First Team All-CAA member along with junior defender Harri Hawkins. Senior goalkeeper Patrick Pray was named an All-CAA Second Team selection.  Hofstra concluded the season with a 14-8-0 overall record with a 6-2-0 mark in CAA play.  They were ranked as the number twenty-two team in the country in the College Soccer News season ending poll.


Drake - Resilient and determined were words that could be used to describe Drake in 2015 particularly down the home stretch under first year head coach Gareth Smith. The Bulldogs finished strong winning three contests in five days, shutting out Central Arkansas, Bradley, and host SIUE, to win the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to earn the program's third overall invite to the NCAA Tournament and first since the 2009 season. Smith stated, "Great teams find a way to win regardless of the obstacles such as injuries and three consecutive games and that is what these young men have done." The Bulldogs then upset Kentucky on the road 2-1 behind goals from senior defender Alec Bartlett and redshirt junior James Grunet in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing in the second round to Creighton in Omaha to conclude a gutsy season with a 13-5-3 overall record. The thirteen wins were the most for the program in a single season since the 2009 campaign. The Bulldogs were ranked as the number twenty-four team in the country in the College Soccer News season ending national poll. Bartlett, junior forward Mueng Sunday, and junior midfielder James Wypych were named to the All-MVC First Team. Sunday and Wypych were also NSCAA All-West Region First Team selections. It was a season that Smith and the Drake players will look back upon with fond memories and one which should provide momentum for the future.  


Elon - This is a program that has enjoyed its share of success in the past but nonetheless they belong on the short list of teams that significantly exceeded expectations in 2015 with fourteen wins, a share of the CAA regular season title, and a multi-week stay in the top twenty in most national polls. The Phoenix gained attention on the national scene and rocketed upward in the polls when they began the 2015 campaign with a 7-0-0 mark that included a signature win over highly regarded Wake Forest on the road. Elon was subsequently awarded an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament and topped Winthrop in the first round of play before losing to Clemson at Clemson in the second round to conclude the year with a 14-6-1 overall record.  A very good showing for a team that was picked to finish in the number five spot in the CAA race in the conference's preseason poll.  Second year head coach Chris Little was recognized by the NSCAA as the Midwest Region Coach of the Year. Senior Nathan Diehl was named the CAA Defender of the Year and an All-CAA First Team selection. Seniors James Brace and Miguel Salazar were also named to the All-CAA First Team. It was a bit of an up and down season but all things considered the Phoenix soared in 2015. 


2016 SuperDraft Anaylsis by Ben Roth

One of the most exciting days of the MLS year didn’t disappoint. The MLS Superdraft, unofficially signifying the beginning of the 2016-17 MLS season was as exciting spectacle as a draft could be. There was wheeling and dealing all over the place with teams trading draft picks, allocation money and players throughout the day.  To start things off, the consensus #1 pick didn’t go first and then the actual #1 pick was traded away.  Throughout this day of chaos, dreams came true for 41 young individuals. It’s the start to their long journeys as professional players. With that said, College Soccer News reviews each one of these picks.

Pick

Team

Player

School

Analysis

1

NYCFC

(Traded from Chicago Fire)

*Trade made after selection

Jack Harrison**

Wake Forest

The Fire went against the consensus and picked 19 year old Harrison over Yaro.  This pick was then traded to NYCFC.  The crafty midfielder should be able to make an impact in year 1 under Patrick Viera. Harrison is capable of playing centrally or on the wing and has one of the biggest upsides in the draft.  NYCFC originally tried signing the former Demon Deacon as a homegrown player, but was denied by MLS.  For a team that lacks width, Harrison should be a great addition.In my opinion, the correct pick.

2

Philadelphia Union (trade from Rapids)

Josh Yaro**

Georgetown

The Union nab the player who many believed would go #1.  Yaro, probably the quickest guy in this draft should compete for minutes immediately.  While he was a central defender in college, he may be moved to outside back in MLS due to his lack of height.  There are many questions still surrounding Yaro’s game, but he has an unbelievable work ethic and should be one to watch going forward.

3

Philadelphia Union

Keegan Rosenberry

Georgetown

Union go with the local product Rosenberry in a huge surprise.  Many believed Brandon Vincent was the top outside back, but Curtin & staff felt otherwise.  The Union get a player who’s a physical beast and loves to get down the line.  The former Hoya may not have the greatest upside in the draft, but he’s a solid force who should be in MLS for many years to come.

4

Chicago Fire

(trade from NYCFC)

Brandon Vincent

Stanford

The Fire smartly draft here and select Vincent, the most sure fire player in this draft who is a day one starter.  Vincent, currently in U.S. national team training camp is a hard-nosed left back with a great work rate on both sides of the ball.  Don’t be surprised if he’s one of the top left backs in the league in a couple years.

5

Real Salt Lake

Omar Holness**

North Carolina

RSL go with another great athlete who has loads of raw talent.  Holness can play anywhere in the midfield or attack, but needs to refine parts of his game.  The former Tar Heel has an explosive ability that you can’t teach.  If RSL can be patient and give Holness minutes off the bench, he’ll be a very special player sooner than later.

6

Philadelphia Union

Fabian Herbers**

Creighton University

The Union already sured up their backline with their first two picks, so they go with the best true forward in this draft in Herbers.  The German striker lit up college soccer this year and will look to do the same in Philadelphia.  The former Bluejay is great at linking up with teammates and has pace to turn the corner on MLS defenders.  Herbers has a knack for scoring goals and if he can get proper service, he can do the same damage CyleLarin did in his rookie campaign.

7

Orlando City SC

Richie Laryea**

Akron University

Orlando City take another GA prospect Laryea.  The Akron playmaker has Darlington Nagbe-esque qualities, but Heath and staff will need to take their time with him. Laryea can play anywhere centrally and has great creativity in the attacking third.  The Sigma FC product is reunited with former teammate Larin and they should form a dynamic duo for years to come. 

8

San Jose Earthquakes

Andrew Tarbell**

Clemson University

The Quakes add a third goalkeeper to their roster in Tarbell, the top keeper in this draft.  Tarbell should be a great backup for David Bingham as they mold him into a future starter.  A solid pick at #8 who doesn’t waste any salary cap space.

9

Toronto FC

Tsubasa Endoh

University of Maryland

Toronto pick the 2016 MLS combine MVP and one of the top playmakers in the draft in Endoh.  The Japanese midfielder boosted his stock tremendously at the combine, but rightfully so.  Endoh is a crafty midfielder who can beat players off the dribble or with great service.  A surprise pick here for Toronto but a good one to bolster their attack.

10

New England Revolution

Jordan McCrary

North Carolina

The Revs grab McCrary, a very talented outside back.  The former Tar Heel would’ve been a top 5 pick, had he not sustained injuries throughout his collegiate career.  McCrary is a great lockdown defender who can play both outside back roles.

11

DC United (Trade from Sporting KC)

Julian Buescher**

Syracuse University

DC United get the only player they really wanted in this draft in Buescher.  Many feel the German midfielder is the top player in this draft class.  The College Soccer News 1st Team All American projects as a box-to-box midfielder at the next level and should find minutes in year 1.  The former Orange playmaker is already 23 years old and ready to make his mark in MLS.

12

Chicago Fire (Trade Colorado Rapids)

Jonathan Campbell

North Carolina

The Fire take Campbell who many believed would be a top 5 pick.  The 6’2” center back is the third Tar Heel taken off the board and may be the most pro-ready of them all.  Campbell had a poor combine showing, but is still a top defender.  He’s dominant in the air and confortable playing out of the back.  The Fire get a safe pick in Campbell.

13

Orlando City SC (Trade DC United)

Hadji Barry

University of Central Florida

Head Coach Adrian Heath takes a player he’s seen play a lot in college with Barry.  The speedster is capable of playing striker or as a winger and is only going to improve.  His improvement in two years at UCF was substantial and Orlando are hoping that climb continues going forward.

14

Montreal Impact

Kyle Fisher

Clemson University

The Impact grab Fisher, an intelligent defender who reads the game very well.  The former Clemson center back commands a back line well and is extremely difficult to beat in 1-on-1 situations.  A smart pick up by Montreal, who can have Fisher learn under Laurent Ciman.

15

Chicago Fire

(Trade from Seattle Sounders FC)

Emmanuel Appiah

Cincinnati University

The Fire get a flashy midfielder in Appiah.  The Ohio native is a bit of a gamble, but with 6 draft picks today, they can take a chance.  Appiah has a great shot from distance and pace.  He’s a good player for the future.

16

Vancouver Whitecaps

Cole Seiler

Georgetown University

Vancouver take a powerful center back in Seiler.  The former Hoya’s playing style is very similar to current Whitecaps defender Tim Parker.  Seiler should gain significant minutes with Whitecaps II this year.  A smart pick for the Whitecaps who take the best available player.

17

FC Dallas

Ryan Herman

University of Washington

FC Dallas grab 6’7” Hermann, a pure shot stopper.  The for U.S. youth national teamer had a fantastic season with the Huskies garnishing College Soccer News 2nd team All-American honors.  He should be the back up for Jesse Gonzalez.

18

New York Red Bulls

Justin Bilyeu

SIUE

Coach Jesse Marsch adds a much needed defender to the Red Bulls roster.  Bilyeu boosted his stock tremendously with a great combine.  The strong left back is very technical as well and can also play center back if needed.  Another smart move by the Red Bulls front office.

19

Columbus Crew SC

Rodrigo Saravia

Florida Gulf Coast University

The Crew take Guatemalan midfielder Saravia.  The Atlantic Sun player of the year has a great mind for the game and is best suited as a deep-lying playmaker.  Should be a good back up for Trapp.

20

Portland Timbers

Ben Polk

Syracuse University

With the steal of the 1st round, the Timbers select Polk, a hard-nosed quick forward. The Orange striker was projected as a top 10 pick, but fell into the MLS Cup Champs lap. The British forward has been compared to Dom Dwyer and if Caleb Porter can groom him well enough, we may see this come to fruition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick

Team

Player

Position

School

21

Columbus Crew SC

Chase Minter

Midfielder

Cal Poly

22

Chicago Fire (Trade from Colorado Rapids)

Alex Morrell

Forward

University of North Florida

23

Philadelphia Union

Taylor Washington

Defender

George Mason University

24

Montreal Impact

Michael Salazar

Forward

University of California-Riverside

25

Real Salt Lake

Max Lachowecki

Defender

Notre Dame

26

Houston Dynamo

Ivan Magalhaes

Defender

University of Maryland

27

Seattle Sounders FC

Tony Alfaro

Defender

Cal State University, Dominguez Hills

28

San Jose Earthquakes

Patrick Hodan

Midfielder

Notre Dame

29

Vancouver Whitecaps

Christopher Hellman

Forward

Lynn University

30

New England Revolution

Michael Gamble

Forward

Wake Forest

31

Columbus Crew SC

Kyle Parker

Forward

UNC Charlotte

32

DC United

(Trade from Orlando City)

Paul Clowes

Midfielder

Clemson

33

FC Dallas (Trade from Chicago Fire)

Timo Pitter

Midfielder

Creighton University

34

Montreal Impact

Eric Verso

Midfielder

Stanford University

35

Seattle Sounders FC

Zach Mathers

Midfielder

Duke University

36

Vancouver Whitecaps

Thomas Sanner

Forward

Princeton University

37

Colorado Rapids (Trade from FC Dallas)

Dennis Castillo

Defender

VCU

38

New York Red Bulls

Zach Carroll

Defender

Michigan State

39

Montreal Impact

Keegan Smith

Forward

University of San Diego

40

Portland Timbers

Neco Brett

Forward

Robert Morris University

41

Columbus Crew SC

Marshall Hollingsworth

Forward

Wheaton College

Note:** indicates a Generation Adidas signee 

Ben Roth covers the 2016 MLS Draft for College Soccer News. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at Twitter: Benjiroth_16           

These Underrated Players Could Make A Significant Impact In The MLS - By Ben Roth

As the MLS Superdraft rapidly approaches, MLS fans will be hearing about the big names (Josh Yaro, Jack Harrison, Brandon Vincent, etc) and rightfully so, but there’s always a few players whose talent sneaks past MLS scouts and become hidden gems of the draft.  Players by the names of Chris Wondolowski, Sean Johnson, and Tim Ream were all bypassed in the first round and have made stellar careers for themselves.  Here we’ll take a look at a few underrated players who we believe could make a significant impact in MLS.


Tsubasa Endoh (Maryland): The Terps tricky winger has been a key fixture in their lineup for years and isn’t getting the credit he deserves.  Endoh (5g, 6a), a Japanese youth international, is a crafty dribbler with an ability to find space and play in tight areas.  At 5’7”, Endoh may get overlooked by many teams, but his technical ability alone, should put him in the conversation as a top midfielder in this draft class.  The Terps #10 has performed well thus far at the MLS combine, hopefully boosting his stock ahead of next week’s draft.

 

 

 


Cole Seiler (Georgetown):  The Hoyas center back is one of the most complete defenders in this draft, but is underrated due to his center back partner Josh Yaro, the likely #1 pick in this year’s draft.  Seiler and Yaro combined to form one of the best back lines in college soccer over the past few seasons and Seiler has just as much to do with it as his teammate.  Seiler (2g, 1a), a Big East All 2nd team honoree, has been a sturdy force starting in 86 of 87 games in his Hoya career.  The 6’1” senior provides pace, great aerial ability, and reads the game very well.  Whoever scoops up the former U.S. youth international will be getting a possible steal.

 

 


Ty Thompson (Stanford): Thompson, the brother of San Jose Earthquakes’ midfielder Tommy Thompson and Indiana midfielder Tanner Thompson, may not have the same hype as his brothers, but he could very well end up being just as good.  The Cardinals midfielder was the anchor to a very talented Stanford attack that won the National Championship.  Thomson (3a) isn’t the type of player to be coming up on the score sheet, but he’s arguably even more important.  The two-time Pac-12 All 1st team honoree is the engine in the center of the park who wins every tackle and sprays the ball to allow the attacking players to produce their magic.  Thompson reminds me of a Kyle Beckerman type player, always in the right spot and will battle until the final whistle.  Thompson, a likely late round pick could be the surprise of the draft.

 


Justin Bilyeu (SIUE): Bilyeu (1g, 3a) is one of the best attacking outside backs in this draft. The 6’2” left back is a great athlete who reads the game very well.  The rather unknown defender has definitely played his way into many MLS team’s draft boards with a stellar performance at the combine thus far.  The Cougars’ defender comes from the same school as last year’s MLS rookie standout Matt Polster and there are definitely some positive similarities in work ethic and attitude.  In a league that lacks consistent left backs, Bilyeu could be a later round pick who finds his way on the field in year one.

 

 


Neco Brett (Robert Morris):You wouldn’t think a player who amassed 42 goals in his career while being among the top in the country in scoring on two separate occasions would be underrated but the Jamaican youth international isn’t likely going to be a early round pick.  Brett (13g, 5a), played in a small conference and takes up an international roster spot, two things which will make teams hesitant to draft the speedy forward.  The three time NEC player of the year is dynamic enough to play as a #9 or on either flank, though he likely will find himself as a winger at the next level. Although he’s a bit raw still, a scorer’s mentality translates at any level so expect some MLS club to take a chance on the talented 5’8” senior.

 


 

Ben Roth will cover the 2016 MLS Draft for College Soccer News.  He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at Twitter: Benjiroth_16