A rash of injuries to star players has impacted the men's soccer season like none other in recent memory. The most notable injury was a knee injury 2007 Hermann Trophy winner O'Brian White
is reported to have suffered playing for Connecticut -- an injury that could impact his value in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. But other college stars
have also been affected.
Four of the six midfielders on Soccer America
's Preseason All-American team
have been sidelined with injuries this fall.
ago, Kyle Nakazawa
was considered one of the top prospects on the U.S. U-17 national team. In his first two seasons at UCLA, he started all 45 games the
Bruins played. This fall, he started six games and only played in 10 games because of injury. (Nakazawa wasn't the lone Bruin to go down. Forwards Prince
and Fernando Monge
battled injuries, and fellow freshman Chris Cummings
, the starting left back, was
lost with an ACL tear.)
Boston College's Alejandro Bedoya
, the 2007 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, missed the first two games of the season and
three games in early October because of injury.
Besides Bedoya and Nakazawa, both picked on Soccer America
's Preseason All-American first team,
Harvard's Michael Fucito
and Indiana's Brad Ring
, selected to the second team, were injured. Fucito missed time
because of an aggravated hip injury, while Ring missed the last five games of the regular season with a pelvic injury.
No team suffered such misfortune as Virginia did, losing two of the
most exciting freshmen in the country this fall with knee injuries. Chris Agorsor
, the nation's top freshman prospect, was lost for the season in September.
Then, Tony Tchani
, since named the ACC Freshman of the Year, went down with a knee injury of his own in late October.
Akron sophomore Steve Zakuani
emerged as a leading candidate for Player of the Year honors, but even the Englishman was hit by the injury bug, suffering an ankle injury that
hobbled him late in the season.
Now on to those still alive in the NCAA Tournament ...
Wake Forest's Ike Opara
, arguably the best
defender in college soccer, has been bothered by a groin injury. He returned for the Deacons' 7-0 win over Dartmouth in the round of 16, but Wake set-up man Austin
remained sidelined with a knee injury that has kept him out of action the past eight games.