Virginia Tech reached the Men's College Cup for the first time with four first-year upperclassmen whose participation in college soccer has touched off a debate. Ringers or bona-fide students? Ohio State is known as a football school, but the Buckeyes' march to the Men's College Cup has raised awareness about the men's soccer team. Wake Forest goalie Brian Edwards chose to return as a fifth-year senior instead of turning pro, while Mike DeSantis chose to follow older brother Mark to UMass, for whom they will form the College Cup's only starting brother tandem.
Transient aspect soils games' soul
Virginia Tech features four first-year players who were imported from Europe -- three Germans aged 25, 23 and 23 and an Englishman, 6-foot-6 Robert Edmans. According to Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Bob Lipper, they are in Blacksburg only for one semester or this academic year. He calls them "ringers," whose participation "toys with the spirit of college athletics." Virginia Tech coach Oliver Weiss thinks otherwise. "They are bona fide students," Weiss said. "They are serious students. They are exceptional. They reflect the academic experience more than most kids. They're eligible by NCAA rules, and they're amateurs."
Best kind of busy
It's exam week at Virginia Tech, but members of the men's soccer team should be excused if they're a bit distracted. As the Roanoke Star's Mark Berman reports, theHokies are two wins away from the school's first national championship in any sport. "Sometimes you're studying and you get that feeling like, 'Wow. I'm in the final four,'" midfielder Scott Spangler says.
Goalkeeper's Goal: Edwards returned to help Deacons win soccer title
John Dell of the Winston-Salem Journal profiles Wake Forest's record-setting goalie Brian Edwards. While his teammates have been sweating out final exams, Edwards has been sitting pretty. As a fifth-year senior, he only needed one class to graduate, so he took Sociological Theory and skipped the optional exam. Edwards, who follows in the footsteps of Kansas City Wizards goalie Will Hesmer, chose to return to Wake to help the Demon Deacons in their quest for a national title. With a school record 43 career shutouts, he is a big factor why Wake heads to Cary as the Men's College Cup favorite.
Postseason run should boost program's image
Everyone knows about Ohio State and its football team, which will be playing for the national championship in January, but Buckeye men's soccer coach John Bluem says many players are still ignorant of his program. "'You have soccer at Ohio State?' We still hear that when we call some of the top recruits around the country," Bluem tells Jeremy McLaughlin of the Columbus Dispatch. "They know about Ohio State, but didn't know we had a soccer program."
UMass soccer brotherly affair
Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican profiles the DeSantis brothers, Mark and Mike, starters for the University of Massachusetts. Mark likes to yell at his younger brother on the field, but they still hang out together off the field. "Girls, grades, sports, we're always together for everything," Mike said. "I still get some confusion over which is which. He takes it a little more seriously than I do."