Thursday, August 29, 2013
The NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer season kicks off this weekend, with PDL players getting set to star for their teams as they begin their pursuit of a national championship. A number of big games will be aired on national television and online, featuring standouts from the Chicago Fire PDL, Reading United, Orlando City U23 and SC United Bantams who are aiming to play big roles in their college’s success this fall.
No. 1-ranked Indiana opens the season with a spotlight game against No. 9 UCLA on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in a game to be aired by the Big Ten Network. The defending national champions are hoping for key contributions from Chicago Fire PDL alumni Jacob Bushue, Dylan Mares and Patrick Doody, with Mares arriving in Bloomington coming off a 2012 season with Louisville that saw him lead the Cardinals with 20 points.
The Bruins, meanwhile, are looking for another big season from Reed Williams, with the former Orange County Blue Star standout coming off a junior season that saw him finish second on the team with 18 points. Named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list, Williams is backed by Ventura County Fusion defender Joe Sofia, and Sounders FC U-23 goalkeeper Earl Edwards.
No. 3 Georgetown, meanwhile, heads to the west coast to start the season with a pair of games that can be seen on the Pac-12 Network, starting with Friday evening’s contest against California at 5 p.m. ET. Led by Reading United’s Steven Neumann, the Hoyas are aiming for a strong start to the season, with Neumann’s Reading teammate Keegan Rosenberry and Orlando City U23 midfielder Tom Skelly and goalkeeper Tomas Gomez also expected to play an important role.
Also facing Cal this weekend are reigning MAC Hermann Trophy-winner Patrick Mullins and No. 2 Maryland, with the contest set to air on the Pac-12 Network on Sunday evening at 5 p.m. ET as the former New Orleans Jesters standout leads the Terrapins into the new season. Also set to play a key role for Maryland this season are Austin Aztex defender Mikey Lopez, and the Baltimore Bohemians’ Christiano Francois, who had five goals and four assists last fall.
While Neumann and Rosenberry start the season on the road, another pair of Reading United standouts open their seasons at home on Friday night as South Florida’s Ben Sweat and Wesley Charpie get set to lead the Bulls against Florida Gulf Coast at 8 p.m. ET on NSCAATV.com. FC Tucson goalkeeper Dallas Jaye is expected to start for the Bulls after a solid summer in the Southwest Division, while VSI Tampa Bay FC’s Stiven Salinas will provide speed in attack.
Elsewhere on Friday night, St. John’s and standout goalkeeper Rafael Diaz host the New Jersey Institute of Technology in a game that can be seen on ESPN3. Diaz recorded a 0.727 goals-against average for the Jersey Express in 2012 before going on to play every minute for St. John’s last fall, where he posted a 0.75 GAA. Now a senior, he is aiming for another standout season as one of the top goalkeeping prospects for the MLS SuperDraft next spring. Diaz is joined by former Long Island Rough Riders defender Tim Parker, who joined Diaz in playing every minute of the season last fall for the Red Storm.
The holiday weekend wraps up on Monday night as Clemson and South Carolina meet on ESPN3.com at 7 p.m. ET. The Tigers are hoping for another strong season from SC United Bantams midfielder Alex Stockinger, who had three goals in eight appearances this summer in the PDL, and he will be joined by Orlando City U23 midfielder Paul Clowes, who had a goal and an assist for the Lions this summer.
Stockinger could go up against a number of his Bantams teammates from the past summer on Monday night, with Devin L’Amoreaux, Ryan Freiberger, Braeden Troyer and goalkeeper Robert Beebe returning to compete for South Carolina. L’Amoreaux finished tied for the team lead with seven points for SC United this summer, and is looking to play a bigger role for the Gamecocks this summer as he enters his sophomore season.