Each week, I will be highlighting some of the names from the top college teams in the country to prepare for the offseason, and keep you up to date on which players you should be keeping an eye out for. I’ll keep you updated on the happenings of the College Cup tournament as well, which begins at the beginning of November. This will all lead up to my picks and favorites for who Chivas USA should select in January. A small disclaimer – while I will be highlighting various players, it should be noted that none are guaranteed to be a part of the draft. Remember, only top seniors and Generation Adidas picks are invited to the Combine.
I’ll start with the current number one team in the nation – the Maryland Terrapins. A team that has supplied MLS with many players over the years (Robbie Rogers, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, and our very own Casey Townsend), the Terps have continued their strong soccer tradition this season to be the best team in the nation with an undefeated conference record, and a 14-0-1 record overall. They have a loaded roster filled with players who are sure to be involved with MLS in the years to come. Here are some players to look out for:
John Stertzer – The senior midfielder from Virginia is the biggest name on the Maryland roster and slated to be a top 10 pick in the Draft. His junior season was stellar – Stertzer had 4 assists, and most notably, 14 goals out of 31 total shots and 21 on target. His efficiency last year made him a top prospect for MLS. However, he opted to turn down becoming a pro and extended his college career for another season as he felt he still had room to grow. His stats this season are not as prolific, but he is still the heart of the Terps’ midfield. He is probably the biggest name for Maryland this season, and someone I think will do well in MLS. Read more about him here.
Taylor Kemp – A member of prior U.S. U-18 and U-20 squads, Kemp actually has an odd connection to Chivas USA. His sister is married to ex-MLS player Julian Valentin, the older brother of former Chivas USA player Zarek Valentin. There was talk of Kemp signing a Generation Adidas contract for last year’s Draft due to the lack of defensive options in that class, but Kemp decided to stay for his senior season. There tends to be a lack of quality defensive options in every draft, especially when it comes to outside backs. Kemp has been sidelined with injuries this season, which could affect how well teams rate him. Nonetheless, he is someone to keep an eye out for.
Patrick Mullins – The junior forward from New Orleans has had a stellar 2012 season thus far. With 10 goals and 5 assists already, Mullins looks to be one of college soccer’s top players this year.
London Woodberry – The final of the three Terps captains (Stertzer and Kemp are the other two) is a defender and a product of the FC Dallas academy. Woodberry has anchored the Terps’ defense this season, but is likely to sign a Home Grown contract with FC Dallas.
Michael Ambrose – The freshman defender is another FC Dallas academy product. The left back has had to step up to the plate and take over Taylor Kemp’s starting spot due to injury, and has been stellar.