With little to no focus in the world of soccer going to the collegiate level of the game, I
feel that it is time to start taking notice of the main pipeline for the increasingly successful
league that is Major League Soccer. Considering that the entirety of players entering the
professional level via the SuperDraft mostly ply their trade at the Division I level in college, we
have decided to chronicle the upcoming season until it culminates with the season ending
College Cup. We will go all the way from the current state of pre-season and end with us
actually being in attendance for the semi-finals and final of the Div. I championship.
Although we are about four months away from the Championship final (which I will
actually be attending (hope you can join me)), the pre-season poll has already been released and
it is a long list of the “usual suspects.” Then top ten teams only have one new entrant (Akron
moved from the 11th spot to the 10th spot) and the top 25 only sees one new team getting into the
ranking that had not been there before (Furman). The top five sees the return of last season’s
champion North Carolina at the top, followed by UCLA at number two- both teams still being
able to field impressive teams despite both teams losing two players in the first round of last
The remaining three teams are Creighton (3rd), Connecticut (4th), and South Florida (5th).
Creighton has the easiest path to the title as their early season fixture against Akron seems to be
the only road block on their way to having a very successful season. While the other teams may
be more talented and come from bigger schools, their schedules may lead to them beating each
other up and causing them to miss out on the big dance in December. North Carolina will have
to deal with the behemoth that is the ACC (Atlantic Coastal Conference) on their way to a repeat
of last year’s success and ULCA will have to deal with the massive wealth of talent that can be
found within California and the nearby states and schools.
Connecticut and South Florida both still face daunting schedules despite not being in as
impressive a conference as the ACC. Connecticut will face several teams that will inevitably
find themselves bouncing in and out of the top 25 and teams that will always find themselves on
the fringes of a berth into the end of season tournament. South Florida has scheduled several top
25 teams, including Akron, St. John’s, and Louisville, all while still keeping their schedule
relatively high profile. As mentioned earlier, only Creighton seems to have their schedule
packed with mediocre opposition for the majority of it, and I am sure that they will suffer greatly
in the rankings if they lose too many of these games.
The college game is one that has long been dominated by the same few teams and it will
be interesting to see if we get the same storyline this year. One thing is certain; we will certainly
be enjoying the thrills and pitfalls of teams until the bitter end.
Written by: Andrew McCole, Soccerprose.com
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