[MEN'S TOP 25 PREVIEWS: 1-10]
Top-ranked UCLA lost U.S. U-20 Sal Zizzo
, who signed with German club Hannover, and won't
have Soccer America Freshman of the Year David Estrada
for perhaps the first three weeks of the season, but the Bruins still have plenty of firepower.
The UCLA attack that was so brilliant in the late going of the 2006 season lost U.S. U-20 Sal Zizzo
, who signed with German club Hannover, and won't have Soccer America Freshman of the Year David Estrada
the first three weeks of the season. Estrada underwent foot surgery last week for a fractured metatarsal. Kyle Nakazawa
and Jason Leopoldo
return, along with Maxwell Griffin
, who was out for the latter half of the 2006 season.
Besides Zizzo, the Bruins had two
other players representing the USA at the U-20 World Cup -- right back Tony Beltran
and goalie Brian Perk
-- and three
UCLA players were at the Pan-American Games -- Greg Folk
, Chance Myers
The backline will be solid with Brandon Owens
, who missed the 2006 season, fellow senior Mike
, an all-American candidate, and junior Brad Rusin
. Preseason Notebook:
Freshman Kyle McAthy
scored on his first touch in his first minute of play in the Bruins' 2-2 tie with N.C. State in their only exhibition game. 2. WAKE FOREST.
After advancing to the Men's College Cup for the first time, the Deacons had three players taken in the first 30 picks of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft
-- Wells Thompson
, Ryan Solle
and Steven Curfman
-- but that shouldn't deter
Coach Jay Vidovich
returns the nation's best defense, led by U-20 starter Julian Valentin
and Pat Phelan
on the backline and Ryan Edwards
, a three-year starter in goal. Sam Cronin
is the man in midfield, while Marcus Tracy
, Michael Lahoud
and Zach Schilawski
are among Wake's many weapons up front.
, the 2006 NSCAA/adidas Youth Player of the Year, has started in preseason, while fellow
Junior Jamie Franks
shined in the preseason win over Cincinnati before more than 2,500
fans. Freshmen Jeff Leach
and Ike Opara
looked good in the 2-1 win. 3.
Retiring coach John Rennie
will look to go out with a national championship. Rennie won a national title in 1986 when Duke beat Akron, 1-0. The
'07 team is one of the best in Rennie's seniors played in the Men's College Cup as freshman and helped Duke achieve a No. 1 ranking as juniors.
Duke's huge (13-player) senior class includes
2006 Soccer America MVP Michael Videira
, Spencer Wadsworth
(79 points in three seasons) and Justin Papadakis
in goal. Mike Grella (13 goals in 2006) leads the Blue Devil attack. Preseason
The Blue Devils knocked off UConn, 1-0, on Saturday night in front of 5,324 fans at a jam-packed Morrone Stadium. 4. UC SANTA
It's been more than 30 years since a West Coast school has repeated as national champion, but UCSB has a good shot in 2007. "We feel very, very good," says Coach Tim Vom Steeg
of the Gauchos' 2007 prospects.
The Gauchos are returning Andy Iro
, the nation's most intimidating
defender, and Eric Avila
, their most creative midfielder. Spaniard Nick Perera
was named the Most Outstanding Offensive
Player at the 2006 Men's College Cup.
Former U-17 goalie Bryant Rueckner
should take over in goal, and three recruits should have an immediate
impact -- two starters from the New Zealand U-20 national team, Sam Jenkins
and Michael Boxall
-- and transfer Ciaran O'Brien
from San Diego. Preseason Notebook:
UCSB went 4-1-1 on a summer trip to Argentina. Boxall scored
in the 2-0 victory in the 45th annual Bryant & Sons Cup against neighbor Westmont. 5. SMU.
The 2006 season ended in disappointment for the
Mustangs, who were coming off an appearance in the Men's
College Cup and returned just about their entire team. They went into the NCAA Tournament with only one loss but fell to UCSB in their
Injuries hurt in 2006. Brown transfer Scott Geppert
was lost in October to knee surgery, and Brazilian forward Paulo da Silva
(abdominal pull) failed to show his late-season form of two years ago when he emerged as one of the nation's best teams. Geppert and da Silva return
in 2007 along with another Brazilian transplant, Bruno Guarda
, who had a strong sophomore season. Preseason
The inaugural Jordan Mann SMU alumni game was played Saturday, paying tribute to Jordan Mann
, who played for SMU the last two years and
suddenly passed away from natural causes on May 26. Nearly 50 members of Jordan's family were present at the game. In memory of Jordan
: "Live with Life
with Passion!" 6. VIRGINIA.
The downside of having your pick of the best talent out of high school is that they'll likely turn pro early if
they do well. The Cavs had their best shot at winning a national title in a decade -- they fell to UCLA in the semifinals -- and lost underclassmen Nico
and Bakary Soumare
to MLS teams. Also gone is senior Adam Cristman
, who is thriving with the New England
Cav fans should not fear, however. There's plenty of talent left. German giant Yannick Reyering
could be the college game's best striker.
Sophomore Jonathan Villanueva
could be its niftiest playmaker. Preseason Notebook:
altered Virginia's preseason schedule several times. The Cavs downed South Florida, 1-0, in an exhibition Sunday morning on Jeremy Barlow
's goal in the 21st
minute. 7. MARYLAND.
The Terrapins also lost two young studs: Chris Seitz
and Maurice Edu
both moved on to MLS after
only two seasons in College Park. Seitz was awesome for the USA at the U-20 World Cup; Seitz is a candidate for MLS Rookie of the Year.
But Terrapin coach Sasho Cirovski
planned for their early departures. New Yorker Yannick Salmon
(who plays for
Jamaica's U-17s) is a versatile midfielder who can step in for Edu. Trinidadian newcomer Thorne Holder
should take over in goal.
The Terps also
have plenty of returning talent, led by midfielder Stephen King
and Omar Gonzalez
and Jeremy Hall
-- both starters on the U.S. Pan-American Games team. Preseason Notebook:
The Terps went 2-0-1 in preseason, beating
Fairleigh Dickinson (3-0) and the University of Montreal (3-2) and tying VCU (2-2) in a match that saw Cirovski rest King and several other starters. 8. SANTA CLARA.
It was a busy offseason for the Broncos, who won their ninth WCC championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Santa Clara toured
Japan in the spring, splitting a pair of games against Kansai University, a semifinalist in Japan's strong university championship.
Three players traveled to Brazil in July to play on the
U.S. Pan-American Games team -- sophomore midfielder Stephen McCarthy
and a pair of freshmen, midfielder Jalil Anibaba
and goalie Kevin Klasila
McCarthy, the WCC's Co-Freshman of the Year in 2006, and Peter Lowry
Broncos a solid foundation in midfield. Preseason Notebook:
Lowry was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List. 9. NOTRE DAME.
The eyes of all Irish supporters will be on Joseph Lapira
, who became an Irish international when he was capped on the
senior national team's tour of the United States in late May.
Lapira, who trained with Glasgow Rangers and Derby County over the summer, won the 2006 Hermann Trophy after leading the nation
with 22 goals and six assists for 50 assists.
As evidenced by Notre Dame's 1-0 victory over Mexico's U-20 national team in the spring, the Irish should be contenders again in 2007. Lapira's
supporting cast includes defender/midfielder Matt Besler
and defenders Ryan Miler
and Jack Traynor
No team can match Notre Dame for its depth in goal with Chris Cahill
. Preseason Notebook:
Senior Kurt Martin
had two goals and an assist in a 3-0 win over
Northwestern. It was the second 3-0 Irish win over a Top 25 team. Notre Dame also beat New Mexico. 10. ST. JOHN'S.
Last year was supposed to be
a rebuilding year for the Johnnies, who suffered massive defections. But David Masur pulled off one of the great coaching jobs in recent years, leading the Red Storm to the Big East title.
John's was the hottest team entering the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman Ryan Soroka
scored five game-winning goals in a stretch of six games, and St.
John's set a school record with seven straight shutouts before falling to Maryland in the second round. St. John's returns its top three scorers in Soroka (26 points), Tadeu Terra (11) and Jeff Stepan
(10), and 6-foot-7 keeper Jason Landers
is back for his senior season.
Former U.S. U-17 resident Michael Dal Pra
enrolled at St. John's after a stint in Italian club Udinese's youth system. Preseason
Soroka set up Colombian-born transfer Omar Alfonso
for the only goal in a 1-1 tie with Hartwick.