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Tar Heels shouldn't miss a beat again
August 22nd, 2012 6:05AM

TAGS:  college men


[ELITE EIGHT: #6 NORTH CAROLINA] Turnover has been a constant at Chapel Hill in recent years, and the Heels haven't missed a beat. They returned only three starters from the 2010 team that included Jalil Anibaba, Michael Farfan and Stephen McCarthy, now all MLS regulars, and won the 2011 College Cup. Only four starters return in 2012, but that shouldn't prevent Carolina from contending for a fifth straight trip to the Men's College Cup.

Carlos Somoano became the second coach to win the NCAA Division I title in his first season, benefiting from the addition of one-year transfers Matt Hedges and Ben Speas, who scored the winning goal against Charlotte at the College Cup final. He could also count on the inspirational play of the late Kirk Urso, who recently died midway through his rookie season with the Columbus Crew.

RETURNEES. Goalie Scott Goodwin is the only returnee who started on the last two College Cup teams. But Somoano returns a trio of outstanding sophomores, Mickey Lopez, Boyd Okwuonu and Jordan McCrary. Seniors Jordan Gafa and Martin Murphy have plenty of experience in preseason.

Danny Garcia, who starred on the FC Dallas Development Academy U-17/18 championship team, and Swede Raby George have been starting up front in preseason. Three transfers have been brought in: Andy Craven (College of Charleston), Verneri Valimaa (George Mason) and Chipper Root (South Carolina).
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