[MARYLAND: SA Preseason #1] Maryland has had a long history of producing top talent, like current U.S. national team players like Graham Zusi, Omar Gonzalez, Maurice Edu and Clarence Goodson, but none accomplished what Patrick Mullins did in winning the 2012 Hermann Trophy as the nation's top player. Mullins returns for his senior year to lead the Terrapins, who are first in the Soccer America Preseason Men's Top 25 rankings.
Maryland lost to Georgetown on penalty kicks in one of college soccer's all-time classics -- a Men's College Cup semifinal that ended 4-4 -- but returns eight starters, including Mullins (17 goals, 10 assists) and highly regarded Schillo Tshuma (10 goals) up front and Mikey Ambrose, both members of the 2012 All-ACC Freshman Team.
Maryland is also loaded in midfield, where upperclassmen Dan Metzger,Sunny Jane and Mikias Eticha all return.
The Terrapins' depth was a key to their 2012 ACC title, and it will again be a key factor as they make up for the loss of John Stertzer, London Woodberry and Taylor Kemp, who all joined MLS clubs. The biggest task Coach Sasho Cirovski has is on the backline, where the only returning starters are Dakota Edwards and Ambrose.
Junior Keith Cardona returns in goal, but U.S U-20 keeper Zack Steffen should get the starting job when the Terrapins open this weekend on the road at Stanford and Cal.
Other recruits who are part of one of the nation's top freshman classes include U.S. U-18 Suli Dainkeh, Daniel Johnson, who hails from Duluth, Ga., but spent time in the West Ham United academy program, 6-foot-5 defender Anthony Crognale, and local product Chris Odio-Atsem.