In January, Messiah forward Josh Wood and Redlands defender Richie Marquez carried the banner for Division III soccer into the MLS Combine. The two practiced seniors were fresh off ballyhooed four-year campaigns, and they'd raised enough eyebrows in MLS HQ that they earned an official look during the league's pre-draft prospect meat market.
Wood went undrafted, but Marquez was selected by the Philadelphia Union with the No. 44 overall pick, and he's currently out on loan with the Harrisburg City Islanders, a pro future very much within his grasp. Are there any DIII players who can follow in those footsteps this season? We're about to find out.
As the start of the DIII season ripples through the country this month, we take a look at 10 of the top men's and women's DIII players in the country. Whether they're chasing MLS dreams or an NWSL future (or even opportunities abroad), these 10 players have the talent to make some waves in 2014.
Ryan was the only sophomore to make the All-America first team last year. Rutgers-Camden made an improbable run to the national title game, and Ryan’s 22 goals, which tied for fifth nationally, were a major factor. The tricky Scarlet Raptor forward has a handful of program records in his sights, and another season even remotely like his record-breaking 2013 will be enough to shatter them. The first All-American first teamer in program history is only just getting started.