2013 College Soccer News Preseason Top 30 National Poll

 

 

#1

Indiana

The 2012 National Champions return eight starters including a stellar midfield that includes seniors A.J. Corrado (1g, 12a), Nikita Kotlov (9g, 4a), Jacob Bushue (1g, 5a) and Harrison Petts (1g, 2a). Add Dylan Mares who transfers in from Louisville and sophomore Richard Ballard among others to the mix and you have one of the top midfields in the country.  The challenge is replacing the offensive firepower that left the building when Eriq Zavaleta (18g, 4a) elected to forgo his final two seasons of eligibility to enter the professional ranks.  Solve that and the Hoosiers will be a team to recon with. 

#2

Georgetown

Seven starters return from the record setting 2012 team that finished with a 19-4-3 overal record and advanced to the national championship game.  Senior All-American Steve Neumann (10g, 13a) returns up-top along with sophomore Brandon Allen (16g, 2a) who was the 2012 Big East Rookie of the Year. Georgetown will again have a big play offense that will be very dificult to contain.  The graduation of All-American Ian Christianson (2g, 2a) and Jimmy Nealis (0g, 6a) means some rebuilding will be required in the midfield.  Senoir Joey Dillon (0g, 1a) is among returning linkmen. Sophomores Cole Seiler and Keegan Rosenberry return in the back along with junior Tomas Gomez in goal.  The Hoyas have also added a dynamic recruiting class led by forwards Brett Campbell and Alex Muryl.   

#3

Maryland

The Terps appear to have all the ingredients needed to end their tenure in the Atlantic Coast Conference with another regular season and tournament title and perhaps add another national championship to their trophy case.  Eight starters return led by 2012 Hermann Trophy winner forward Patrick Mullins (17g, 10a) who likely returned for his senior season with the sole goal in mind of wining a national championship.  Senior Sunny Jane (2g, 4a) and super sophomore Schillo Tshuma (10g, 2a) will add additional punch to a very high powered Maryland attack.  Junior Dan Metzger (3g, 1a) is among key returning midfielders.  Redshirt senior Jordan Cyrus returns along with highly regarded sophomore defenders Mikey Ambrose and Dakota Edwards. Junior Keith Cardona returns in goal along with rising star freshman netminder Zack Steffen.    

#4

Creighton

A College Cup would seem incomplete without Elmar Bolowich on the sidelines.  The Bluejays will begin play in the Big East Conference with a solid core of players returning on both sides of the ball supplemented by a nine member recruiting class that features midfielder Ricardo Perez.  Creighton will be without the services of All-American midfielder Jose Gomez (6g, 9a) and All-American defender Andrew Ribeiro but with a midfield returnig that includes Timo Pitter (10g, 4a), Bruno Castro (2g, 3a), CSN Presesaon All-American Eric Miller, Zach Barnes and Christian Blandon (4g, 1a) the Bluejays are going to be very competitive.  Jose Ribas and Brendan Hines-Ike are among returning defenders.  Alex Bolowich will likely assume the starting role between the pipes which became vacant when Jeff Gal elected to transfer to the University of Virginia.  

#5

North Carolina 

Seven starters return from the 2012 team that was 16-4-3 overall and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.  The decision of Danny Garcia (4g, 6a) to enter the professional ranks creates a big gap in the midfield but the cupboard is never bare in Chapel Hill.   The Tar Heels must also replace Scott Goodwin in goal and defender Jordan Gafa but should still be tenacious on the defensive side of the ball with juniors Boyd Okwuonu and Jordan McCrary and sophomore Jonathan Campbell returning to form a solid backline.  Seniors Andy Craven (6g, 5a) and Rob Lovejoy (5g, 2a) return to provide offensive firepower.  Transfer forward Tyler Engel from SMU is a very solid and promising addition.  Sophomores Raby George (1g, 1a) and Alex Olofson (1g, 0a) and junior Verneri Valimaa (0g. 1a) will be called upon to play a greater role in the midfield.   Freshmen Colton Storm and Jalen Markey may contribute immediately. 

#6

Connecticut

The Huskies are a legitimate national title contender.  They lose the likes of midfielders Carlos Alvarez (7g, 9a) and Stephane Diop (2g, 3a) and defenders Jossimar Sanchez, Max Wasserman (2g, 6a) and Flo Liu to graduation but at Connecticut there's always someone talented coming on board or waiting in the wings to assume a greater role.  Senior All-American forward Mamadou Diouf (15g, 2a) returns to power the attack.  Junior forward Allando Matheson (7g, 1a) adds another dimension to the offense.  Seniors George Fochive and Colin Bradley and junior Adria Beso (2g, 5a) give Ray Reid a solid core of midfielders to build around.  Senior Michael Mercado and junior Sergio Campbell return in the back.  Junior All-American Andre Blake is as good as they get between the pipes.  Perhaps the only team that can beat Connecticut is Connecticut as reflected in their season ending losses in the Elite Eight in the friendly confines of Morrone Stadium the past two seasons. 

#7

UCLA

The Bruins must overcome the loss of several key players but a solid core returns supplemented by the number one recruting class in the country.  Seniors Reed Williams (7g, 4a), Victor Chavez (5g, 0a) and Max Estrada (3g, 1a) will provide offensive punch.  Junior Leo Stolz (0g, 8a), senior Victor Munoz (1g, 5a) and sophomore Grady Howe will lead the way in the midfied.  Senior Joe Sofia will be joined in the back by junior Patrick Matchett and sophomore Javan Torre among others.  Junior Earl Edwards returns in goal to give the Bruins a solid presence between the pipes.  Freshmen Nathan Smith, Willie Raygoza, and Michael Amick and transfers junior defender Aaron Simmons and sophomore midfieder Jordan Vale are part of a stellar recruiting class.  The Bruins will be tested right out of the gate with contests on the road against Notre Dame and Indiana.  

#8

Marquette

The Golden Eagles were a much better team last year than their one and done performance in the NCAA Tournament indicated.  Marquette will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the men's soccer program with a team that could be the best yet that the Golden Eagles have put on the pitch.  A solid core led by senior attacking mid Bryan Ciesiulka (5g, 9a),senior defensive mid Eric Pothast (4g, 2a), sophomore centeral defender Axel Sjoberg, senior forward Adam Lysak (5g, 4a) and junior goalkeeper Charlie Lyon return supplemented by what looks to be the programs best ever recruiting class.  The healthy return up-top of redshirt sophomore forward C. Nortey who missed the 2012 is a big boost to the attack.  If the newcomers gel with the returning players Marquette will put a lot of wins on the board.  

#9

Akron

The Caleb Porter era has come to an end and the Jared Embick era has begun.  Embick takes over the reigns of the program with some pretty staggering gaps to fill but nonetheless the Zips return a very talented core than includes forward Reinaldo Brenes (11g, 2a) who led the team in scoring last year.  Seniors Aodhan Quinn (4g, 3a), Eric Stevenson (7g, 5a), Robbie Derschang (1g, 4a) and Zac Portillos are among key returning players.  Junior centerback Bryan Gallego, a CSN Preseason All-America selection, will anchor what will once again be a solid Akron backline that will also include Saad Abdul-Salaam and super sophomore Andrew Sounders.  Redshirt freshman Fernando Pina is ready and primed to assume the goalkeeping role.   The Zips once again play a tough schedule but should be fine unless they have injury problems. 

#10

Saint Louis

Expectations are running high in Saint Louis. The Billikens return almost everyone including players who netted forty-three of the forty-six goals scored by the 2012 team that was 16-5-0 overall, won the Atlantic-10 Conference Championship, and received the number eight seed in the NCAA Tourney.  The offense will be powered very capably by junior forward Robbie Kristo (11g, 5a), junior forward Kingsley Bryce (7g, 3a) and senior forward Adnan Gabeljic (7g, 5a).  Senior Alex Sweetin (6g, 5a) is part of a deep and talented group of midfielders.  Senior Jon Roeckle and junior centerback Anthony Manning anchor the defense.  Saint Louis should be very good but it remains to be seen whether they can win the really big games.  Nonconference contests with Connecticut in Storrs on September 21 and Creighton at home on October 2 will be huge.  

#11

Notre Dame

The Irish return a solid core from the 2012 team that was 17-4-1, won the Big East Conference Championship, and was awarded the number one seed in the NCAA Tourney.  However head coach Bobby Clark faces the big challenge of replacing All-American forward Ryan Finley who scored twenty-one goals and All-American midfielder Dillon Powers (5g, 9a) among others.  Senior forward Harrison Shipp (6g,6a) and sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan (6g, 5a) are among those who will be counted on for offensive firepower.  Center Nick Besler is a solid center mid while fifth year senior center back Grant Van De Casteele will be at the heart of what looks to be a very good backline.  The Irish will begin play in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013.  

#12

San Diego

Can the magic continue in 2013?  San Diego head coach Seamus McFadden stated, "We are really excited to get going this year and build off our success from last season."  For that to happen some players are going to have to step up at a number of positions. The Toreros will be withot a nine member senior class that included All-WCC First Team selections forward Patrick Wallen (8g, 3a) and midfielders Dan Delgado (9g, 10a) and James Cohn (1g, 3a).  Six starters return led by All-West Coast Conference Second Team selections senior midfielder Eli Galbraith-Knapp (3g, 1a) and senior defender Julian Ringhof (2g, 0a).  Junior forward Sergio Lopez (4g, 0a), junior midfielder Connor Brandt (4g, 3a) and sophomore midfielder Torrey DeArmas (2g, 1a) are the likely candidates to fill the gap on the offensive side of the ball.  Junior back Thomas Fiskerstrand and junior goalkeeper Drew Ilijevski add defensive stability to a team that will seek to keep the ball rolling that carried them all the way to the Elite Eight last year.  

#13

UC Santa Barbara

The Gauchos will seek to get back on track in 2013. UCSB's string of ten consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances came to a halt last year when they finished with a 10-6-3 overall record and 4-5-1 mark in Big West Conference play.  The Gauchos were hampered last year by injuries and the inability to finish scoring opportunities. With seven starters returning including senior forward Achille Campion (6g, 1a) and senior center back Peter Schmetz who missed a large portion of the 2012 season due to injury things should be much better in 2013. Senior Fifi Baiden, a 2012 All-Big West First Team selection returns in the midfield.  Senior center back Daniel Welsh and sophomore goalkeeper Austin Mansker also return.  The Gauchos took a hit when midfielder Ema Boateng decided to enter the professional ranks.  UCSB remains the team to beat in the Big West Conference but for the first time in a while that is a topic open for debate.      

#14

Virginia 

Ten starters return from the very young 2012 squad that earned Virginia's 32nd consecutive invitation to the NCAA Tournament.  Virginia has also added one of the top recruiting classes in the country that includes Nicko Corriveau and Jordan Allen who are ranked by CSN as the number two and three recruits coming out of the class of 2013.  The freshmen may need a little time to mature but there is no doubt that they're very talented.  Sophomores Darius Madison and Marcus Salandy-Defour are among returning players who George Gelnovatch will likely look to to fill the big void that exists in the offense due to the graduation of forward Will Bates.  Juniors Kyler Sullivan and Matt Brown and sophomores Zach Carroll and Scot Thomsen (0g, 8a) return in the back along with goalkeeper Spencer LaCivita and talented transfer netminder Jeff Gal. 

#15

Tulsa 

The Golden Hurricane look to be well positioned to have a banner season.  Eight starters return from the 2012 team that was 14-6-1 overall, won the Conference USA Championship, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.  Tulsa will once again have a high powered attack led up-top by sophomore Cristian Mata (14g, 6a) and junior Akeil Barrett (7g, 4a).  Senior Kyle Cumings (3g, 3a), junior Abe Matamoros (2g,1a) and sophomore Bryce Follensbee (9g, 3a) will add additional pop to the attack  Senior midfielder Omar Mata (7g, 6a) is a playmaker who makes good things happen. Junior Tony Rocha and sophomore Bradley Bourgeois anchor the backline. The graduation of goalkeeper Mark Pais creates the biggest unanswered question.   

#16

Northwestern 

The Wildcats under Tim Lenahan are among the most consistent programs in the Big Ten winning the regular season and tourney titles in 2011 and a share of the regular season title last year.  Northwestern must replace three senior starters but with eight starters back including fifth year senior Chris Ritter (5g, 6a), the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a CSN 2013 Preseason All-America selection, the Wildcats should be very competitive.   Super sophomore forward Joey Calistri (9g, 2a) returns to power the attack.  Senior Lepe Seetane (1g, 0a) and juniors Layth Masri and Eric Weberman (3g, 4a) return in the midfield.  Junior center back Nikko Boxall and junior goalkeeper Tyler Miller are prime timers who will anchor what should be another rock solid defense.  

#17

Coastal Carolina 

The Chanticleers are coming off a twenty win season that included a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in NCAA Tourney play.  Coastal Carolina will seek to carry that momemtum into the 2013 campaign despite the reality of being without a couple key players including forward Ashton Bennett (16g, 9a) who was the Big South Attacking Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012.   What Bennett brought to the table isn't easily replaced but Coastal returns a host of proven players including forward Ricky Garbanzo (13g, 5a) and midfielders Pedro Ribeiro (5g, 10a) and Justin Portillo (4g, 10a) who can light up the back of the net.  Junior backs Uchenna Uzo (4g, 1a) and Shawn McLaws (0g,5a) return along with goalkeepers Federico Bertele and Mark Petrus.  The Chanticleers stock will likely rise or fall early in the season since they open with Wake Forest in Winston Salem and then tangle with North Carolina in Chapel Hill before returning home to host Charlotte and South Carolina. 

#18

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons will hit the pitch running on the offensive side of the ball with seven starters returning including players that netted 35 of the 40 goals they scored last year.  Rebuilding is required on the defensive side of the ball.  Senior Luca Gimenez (7g, 3a), junior Sean Okoli (11g, 3a) and sophomore Michael Gamble (8g, 4a) will power the attack.  Senior Jared Watts (2g, 4a), a 2013 College Soccer News Preseason First Team All-America selection, is a prime timer and will set the pace in the midfield.  The decision of midfielder Collin Martin to enter the professional ranks after one season in Winston-Salem created an unexpected gap in the midfield. Sophomore Jalen Robinson will be at the heart of the defense.  Gamble and Robinson are among the top sophomores in the nation.  

#19

Louisville 

Ken Lolla has a history of reloading as quickly and effectively as anyone but it is difficult to get a handle on the Cardinals heading into the 2013 season.  Midfielder Dylan Mares (7g, 6a) and defender Andrew Farrell (4g, 1a) had a lot to do with Louisville's success last year.  Mares transferred to Indiana and Farrell departed early and is now playing for the New England Revolution in MLS.  The Cards also will be without midfielders Paulo Del Piccolo and Greg Cochrane among others due to graduation.  Junior forward Will Vitalis (4g, 7a), sophomore midfielder Marlon Hairston (3g, 3a), senior midfielder Ade Akinsanya,  junior defender Daniel Keller, and goalkeeper MIke Mauro are among key returning players.  Lolla has added six transfers who should contribute immediately. 

#20

New Mexico

The Lobo faithful may be used to a higher ranking that this but a higher pre-season ranking may be a bit ambitious for a New Mexico team that has so many significant gaps to fill due to graduation.  However, this is a program with a total of thirty-five wins in the past two seasons and consecutive trips to the Sweet Sixteen so that counts for something.  The loss of forward Devon Sandoval (15g, 7a) and midfielder Blake Smith (3g, 13a) leave the biggest gaps to plug.  Junior forward James Rogers is a prime timer and will be the guy who is likely to power the Lobo offense in 2013.  Ben McKendry, Michael Calderon and Michael Kafari provide a solid nucleus upon which to build the midfield.  The Lobos could rocket upward.  

#21

St. John's 

A young St. John's team will welcome back just about everyone from the 2012 squad that was 10-5-4 overall and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tourney.  Defense has historically been St. John's calling card and should again be a team strength in 2013 with the return of senior defensive midfielder Jamie Thomas, junior back Tim Parker, and senior goalkeeper Rafael Diaz.  Senior Jimmy Mulligan (2g, 1a) and sophomore forwards Jelani Williams (4g, 0a) and Danny Bedoya (2g, 1a) are among returning players who Dr. Dave Masur will likely look to for offensive punch.  The Johnnies will be tenacious on the defensive side of the ball but there is a twinge of concern on the offensive side of the ball due to lack of a go-to goal scorer. 

#22

Xavier

The Musketeers will seek to build on their school best fourteen win 2012 season that included the programs third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and first ever NCAA Tourney victory.  However they must do it without forward Luke Spencer who has been the Musketeers go-to guy for the past three seasons.  Matt Walker (11g, 10a), Will Walker (7g, 6a) and Gino De Paoli (6g, 9a) will power what looks to be a very productive Xavier midfield.  Tanner Petrick and Garrett Halfhill are very solid defensive center mids.  All-American center back Nick Hagglund will anchor a backline that does require some rebuilding.   Xavier moves from the Atlantic 10 to the Big East in 2013.  

#23

Washington

The Huskies return a solid foundation beginning with 2012 All-Pac 12 First Team goalkeeper senior Spencer Richey who is among the top returning netminders in the country.  The backline will be led by central defenders Taylor Peay and Michael Gallagher and left back Andy Thoma.  Sophomore James Moberg (4g, 6a) and senior Michael Harris (1g, 4a) will anchor the center of the park.  Junior transfer Darwin Jones and highly regarded freshman Mason Robertson are among the new additions who look to play a key role up-top.  This is a program that has a ton of momentum and is gaining in confidence under Jamie Clark who begins his third season at the helm of the program in 2013. 

#24

Charlotte

Kevin Langan's first season as the head coach at Charlotte was a successful one.  The 49ers were 15-4-3 overall and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Tourney.   With seven starters returning supplemented by a very promising recruiting class Charlotte has the potential to be very competitive in 2013.  Giuseppe Gentile, Kyle Parker and transfer Monbo Bokar give the 49ers a very productive bunch of forwards.  Redshirt senior Tyler Gibson (3g, 6a) is among the best returning midfielders in the country.  Seniors Thomas Allen (2g, 1a) and Anthony Perez (2g, 1a) anchor what should be a very solid backline.  Klay Davis, a 2012 All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection, returns between the pipes.  Depth could be a problem but if the newcomers contribute Charlotte will be very good.   

#25

Michigan State

Nine starters return from the team that won the 2012 Big Ten Tournament and finished the season with a 12-10-1 record.  If Michigan State can avoid the slow start that has plagued them the past two seasons they should significantly increase their win total in 2013.  Junior forward Adam Montague (8g, 6a) and sophomore midfielder Jay Chapman (4g, 1a) provide offensive firepower.  Redshirt senior Cody Henderson (2g, 2a), junior Fatai Alashe (1g, 5a) and sophomore Sean Conerty (2g, 3a) are among returning midfielders.  Talented senior center back Kevin Cope will anchor the backline along with Ryan Thelen, Ryan Keener, and Josh Barens.  Sophomore Zach Bennett returns in goal.  

#26

Brown

You might not expect a program that lost seven very talented senior starters to be ranked.  Then again some might expect a higher ranking based on Brown's past success.  The Bears may struggle somewhat in the early going but you can expect head coach Patrick Laughlin to field a team that will continue to improve as the season progresses.  Junior Ben Maurey (5g, 2a), a 2012 First Team All-Ivy selection returns to power the attack up-top.  Senior Voltaire Escalona (1g, 5a) is among other returning players who will likely add offensive punch.  Junior Alex Markes who has been a starter for the past two seasons will anchor the backline.  A solid core of midfielders return including sophomore Tariq Akeel.  A new inexperienced face will be in goal which could cause some bumps in the road in the early going.    

#27

VCU

Seven starters return from the 2012 team that was 12-4-3 overall and returned the Rams to the NCAA Tourney field for the first time since the 2007 season.  The biggest gap to plug is the one created by the decision of forward Jason Johnson who was the 2012 Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year to depart early to enter the professional ranks.  Key returning players include sophomore forward/midfielder Devon Fisher (6g, 1a), senior midfielder Romena Bowie (0g, 2a) who was a 2012 All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection, highly regarded sophomore center back Dennis Castillo (6g, 0a) who was a 2012 CSN All-Freshman selection, and goalkeeper Andrew Wells.   A brutal schedule that includes Maryland, Akron, Virginia and Wake Forest on the road and Indiana at home could prove costly.  

#28

Michigan

Chaka Daley enters his second season as the head coach at Michigan with eight returning starters and one of the best recruiting classes in the country on its way to Ann Arbor.  A brutal non-conference schedule could take a toll on the Wolverines in the early going or it could prepare them well for Big Ten Conference play.  Redshirt junior Tyler Arnone (5g, 5a) and senior Fabio Pereira (6g, 8a) provide firepower in the midfield.  Senior T.J. Roehn (4g, 4a) and sophomore James Murphy (3g, 2a) return up-top.  Senior Ezekiel Harris and redshirt junior Nick Lewin will anchor a backline that requires some rebuilding.  Redshirt junior Adam Grinwis is solid in goal.  If the newcomers contribute the Wolverines will be very good. 

#29

UMBC

Eight starters including senior forward Pete Caringi III (14g, 4a) and fifth year senior netminder Phil Saunders who posted ten shutouts last year return from the 2012 team that won the America East title, advanced past Old Dominion in the NCAA Tourney, and then fell to North Carolina in penalty kicks in the second round.  The Retrievers have also added a very productive recruiting class that includes transfers Geaton Caltabiano, Marquez Fernandez, and Malcolm Harris who should hit the ground running.  Kadeem Dacres (5g, 3a) and central midfielder Mamadou Kansaye (1g, 6a) add additional punch to the attack.  Junior center back Oumar Ballo returns to anchor the backline.  This group has the  potential to be very good on both sides of the ball.  

#30

Fairleigh Dickinson

The Knights will be without the services of midfielders Jack McVey (6g, 5a) and Anthony Moore (2g, 7a) and center back Jason Wells but a solid core returns from the 2012 team that topped St. John's and Saint Louis in the NCAA Tourney before losing to North Carolina 1-0 in overtime in the Sweet Sixteen.  The defense will not rest at FDU in 2013 with the return of senior goalkeeper Jacob Lissek who posted ten shutouts last year along with senior centerback Nicholas Walker (2g, 0a), senior right back Jeffrey Barrenechea and sophomore left back Sam Durkot.  Junior Nico Wright (5g, 2a) and sophomore Simon Doherty (3g, 2a) are among returning players who Seth Roland will look to for offensive firepower.  Junior midfielder Anders Vest-Hansen is solid on both sides of the ball and is the guy who will set the pace for the entire team.  The lads at FDU love to play the game and are hungry for continued success in 2013.  

Others receiving votes:  Old Dominioin, South Florida, Boston College, Drexel, SMU, Elon, Duke, Furman, Santa Clara, Stanford, Syracuse, Cal State Northridge, Monmouth