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1. 2006 Men's Conference Previews
August 22nd, 2006 10:50PM

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Soccer America continues its countdown the 2006 college season, which starts Friday for men and women, with a look at 2006 NCAA Division I men's conferences.

ACC
Defending Champion: Duke. Preseason Poll: 1. North Carolina (No. 1 in Soccer America Top 25), 2. Virginia (No. 3), 3. Maryland (No. 4), 4. Duke (No. 15), 5. Clemson (No. 6), 6. Wake Forest (No. 18), 7. Virginia Tech (No. 19).
Players to Watch: Eight players were named to the Soccer America Men's Top 25 Preseason All-American Team: goalkeepers Phil Marfuggi (Clemson) and Chris Seitz (Maryland), defender Julian Valentin (Wake Forest), midfielder Mike Videira (Duke) and forwards Charlie Davies (Boston College), Ben Hunter (North Carolina), Patrick Nyarko (Virginia Tech) and Yannick Reyering (Virginia). Other players of note include 2005 All-ACC second-team picks Scott Campbell, Michael Harrington and Andre Sherard (North Carolina), Nico Colaluca and Adam Cristman (Virginia), Maurice Edu (Maryland), Chris Loftus (Duke), Sherron Manswell (Boston College) and Ryan Solle (Wake Forest). Jamaica international Dane Richards and Brazilian transfer Frederico Moojen will lead the Clemson attack, which could be one of the best in the country.
Composite ACC Schedule

AMERICA EAST
Defending Champion: Stony Brook. Preseason Poll: 1. Vermont, 2. Boston University, 3. Stony Brook.
Players to Watch: Vermont's Lee Stephane Kouadio was America East's Rookie and Striker of the Year as a freshman in 2005.  First-team all-conference defender Michael Palacio gives Stony Brook one of the best defenses in the America East.  Brian Levey, the 2005 America East Goalkeeper of the Year, played every second of every game for New Hampshire in 2005.

ATLANTIC 10
Defending Champion: Duquesne. Preseason Poll: 1. Saint Louis, 2. Rhode Island, 3. Duquesne.
Players to Watch: Saint Louis midfielder John DiRaimondo (9 goals, 10 assists in 2005) was named to the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Duquesne goalie Zach Varga (league-best nine shutouts) was named the Atlantic 10's 2005 Defensive Player of the Year. Other returning first-team all-conference honorees are Rhode Island's Jeffrey Gonsalves (13 goals), Duquesne junior midfielder Travis MacKenzie and Duquesne senior defender Noah Salsi.

ATLANTIC SOCCER
Defending Champion: Hartwtick. Preseason Poll: none.
Players to Watch: Hartwick senior Tyler Hemming earned 2005 the Atlantic Soccer Player of the Year award. Hartwick defender Adam Mitchinson won 2006 All-PDL honors with Cape Cod, while forward Chris Sardon was an all-conference pick for the PDL's Yakima Reds. Also back for the 'Wick are 2005 All-Atlantic Soccer picks John Paul Boyle and Chris Greatwich.
Composite Atlantic Soccer Schedule

ATLANTIC SUN
Defending Champion: Stetson. Preseason Poll: 1. Campbell, 2. Stetson, 3. Mercer.
Players to Watch: Willy Guadarrama, a Soccer America Preseason All-American selection, scored 21 goals in 20 games last season for Campbell, which also returns co-Defensive Players of the Year Aaron Johnson and Devin Sheppard.  Stetson returns sophomore Armante Marshall, whose goal gave the Hatters the 2005 A-Sun title. Mercer will look to 2004 A-Sun Freshman of the Year Vicente Arze to put his injury-plagued 2005 campaign behind him.

BIG EAST
Defending Champion: Connecticut. Preseason Poll: Blue Division -- 1. Connecticut (No. 8 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Notre Dame (No. 10), 3. Seton Hall; Red Division -- 1. South Florida (No. 9), 2. St. John's, 3. Cincinnati
Players to Watch: Connecticut's Julius James, Notre Dame's Greg Dalby and Rodrigo Hidalgo of South Florida were named to the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Cincinnati's Omar Cummings is the 2006 Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while St. John's junior Jason Landers is the preseason pick for Goalkeeper of the Year.

BIG SOUTH
Defending Champion: Coastal Carolina. Preseason Poll: 1. Winthrop 2, Coastal Carolina, 3. Birmingham-Southern
Players to Watch: Kenyan forward Saidi Isaac, who plays for Winthrop, is the Big South Preseason Player of the Year. Liberty's Trinidadian star, Osei Telesford, was named the PDL's 2006 Defender of the Year with Carolina. Birmingham-Southern's Gino Cozzolino received two first-place votes in Big South Preseason Player of the Year balloting.
Composite Big South Schedule

BIG TEN
Defending Champion: Penn State. Preseason Poll: 1. Indiana (No. 14 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Penn State (No. 11), 3. Ohio State.
Players to Watch: Indiana midfielder Brad Ring played for the U.S. U-20s at the Milk Cup. Penn State is led by the 1-2 punch of speedster Simon Omekanda and powerful Jason Yeisley. The return of a healthy Gerardo Alvarez should reignite the Northwestern attack. Wisconsin captain Aaron Hohlbein earned all-Big Ten honors as a junior.
Composite Big Ten Schedule

BIG WEST
Defending Champion: Cal State Northridge. Preseason Poll: 1. UC Santa Barbara (No. 21 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Cal State Northridge (No. 23), 3. UC Irvine
Players to Watch: UC Santa Barbara junior Andy Iro and UC Irvine senior Brad Evans were named to the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Big West Goalkeeper of the Year Kevin Guppy returns for Cal State Northridge, as does his entire backline that includes former U.S. U-20 Sean Franklin.
Composite Big West Schedule

CAA
Defending Champion: Hofstra. Preseason Poll: 1. Old Dominion (No. 22 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Hofstra, 3. Old Dominion.
Players to Watch: Old Dominion's Trevor Banks, the 2005 CAA Rookie of the Year, is one of the country's most promising midfielders. Hofstra's Gary Flood was the MVP of the 2005 CAA Tournament. Senior midfielder Kurt Morsink (nine goals in 2005) is a two-time first-team All-CAA pick for James Madison.

CONFERENCE USA
Defending Champion: South Carolina. Preseason Poll: 1. SMU, 2. South Carolina, 3. UAB.
Players to Watch: SMU's Paulo da Silva and South Carolina's Mike Gustavson are Soccer America Preseason All-Americans. Returning All-Conference USA first-team selections Mike Sambursky (South Carolina) and Jay Needham (SMU) are the Preseason C-USA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.
Composite Conference USA Schedule

Tomorrow: The rest of the men's conference previews.


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