While the PDL is perhaps the more commonly known destination for men’s college talent to spent their summer, the National Premier Soccer League is another outlet that provides competitive games.
The NPSL season gets off to a rolling start, with some teams kicking off in March, while others began at the start of May. The upcoming season should provide for interesting viewing, particularly from players looking to stay sharp ahead of the new season.
Check out some of the college players to watch in 2018.
The midfielder was one of the top freshmen in the Big Ten and the rest of the country last fall, logging 1,628 minutes during his first season of college soccer. The Ann Arbor native will stay close to home and compete for the NPSL side over the next couple of months.
A star from New Jersey, Antunes suffered a season-ending injury in his very first college game in 2016. Bouncing back after taking a medical redshirt, his quality was easy to see for Monmouth despite the program’s iffy season from a results perspective. He’ll stay close to school and suit up for FC Monmouth.
Giovanni Vasquez, Northern Virginia United (Maryland)
One of the new teams to join the NPSL this season, Northern Virginia United features a roster heavy on college talent, with a splash of veteran nous mixed in. Vasquez is a premier talent that missed the 2017 campaign at Maryland – expected to be his first – due to an injury. Getting rolling at Northern Virginia United will be the first start towards carving out a role in College Park this fall.
Taieb is slated to spend one final summer in New York before swapping coasts; he transferred to UC Santa Barbara earlier this season from St. Francis Brooklyn. The Frenchman has shown that he can be a dominant force in the NEC, so the challenge of a new program and a new level is something for him to prove starting for the Italians in the summer.
Manny Perez, Asheville City SC (NC State)
Perhaps the top U.S. prospects in the college ranks, Perez will be tucked away in Asheville, far from a major metropolis that the European scout may stumble upon. It’ll be curious to see what his role will be in Asheville this summer, for a team set to compete in its third season in the NPSL.
Djimon Johnson, Syracuse FC (Syracuse)
After spending most of his freshman season as a role player, getting minutes for the Orange off the bench, Johnson is slated to stay in upstate New York to get sharp ahead of another season at the ACC program.
Eli Lockaby, Palm Beach United (VCU)
An under-the-radar player for a solid VCU side, Lockaby’s been a fixture for the Rams over the past two seasons. Like many others, he’ll be much closer to home in the summer competing for Palm Beach United.
There’s no doubt that George Mason’s roster has some decent individual talent, including Robinson and Tunde Akinlosotu, who will both look to break free and make an impact this summer with FC Baltimore. A new team in the NPSL, that just might be what the pair needs to get rolling before heading back to Mason.
An attacking talent from Southwest Virginia, Donasiyano didn’t get much run during his freshman season at Virginia, playing just 117 minutes in nine games. A standout performer in high school and club level before arriving at the ACC program, competing for new NPSL side Charlottesville Alliance will be a good barometer to see if he can take a step forward later this fall.
Jamett has taken quite the path to Kitsap Pumas in the Pacific Northwest. A native of Chile, he arrived in the United States to play high school soccer at South Kent School in Connecticut. He also took advantage of the opportunity to play in the Development Academy for Beachside SC, before jumping into the college game last fall at Iona. He made 15 appearances (all starts) for the Gaels and looks like a tidy option out on the flank.
Joshua Fawole, FC Baltimore 1729 (Loyola (MD))
After a star turn as a sophomore, Greyhounds attacker Josh Fawole is another interesting name that’s popped up on the FC Baltimore roster. He scored five goals and added four assists last fall, and can spend the summer in Baltimore working towards another strong season in the Patriot League.
The New York native logged more than 1200 minutes last fall and is one of seven players on the Stockdale FC roster with ties to Marist. He’ll face a logjam for playing time on a roster that features 19 college players along with a number of veterans that have moved on yet keep the dream alive.
Drew Viscomi, Chattanooga FC (Northwestern)
Another former local standout comes home for the summer, with Viscomi’s return to compete for Chattanooga FC. The former Gatorade State Player of the Year in Tennessee was solid in his first season with Northwestern, albeit the team struggled for most of 2017. Returning to compete at an organization like Chattanooga FC will push him on the field, which bodes well for his development and his chance of carving out a bigger role this fall back in Evanston.
The quality box-to-box midfielder hasn’t quite taken off during his three seasons at UMBC so far. Part of that is his position, and the Retrievers' inability to reach the same heights as their College Cup run in 2014. Regardless, Jean-Gilles in an unheralded talent that should have ample room to take a step forward while competing for new side Northern Virginia ahead of his final and decisive senior season.