Predicting the men’s college game can be a tricky prospect. After all, Georgetown began last season outside the top 20 and battled its way to the national title game on the back of an experienced and talented team.
Of course, there are favorites, and a lot of them are the usual suspects, programs that have been there and done that in recent history.
Here’s a look at ten contenders ahead of the men’s soccer season:
Connecticut: Even with the loss of playmaker Carlos Alvarez, there’s a lot to like about Ray Reid’s side. Mamadou Doudou Diouf and Allando Matheson should be a handful up front and provide ample goals – provided they get service – and in goal, Andre Blake is a game changer, a shot-stopper who can win games almost by himself, as he’s done over the past two seasons. Provided that the freshman class can add enough, including New York Red Bulls Academy graduate Ethan Decker, the Huskies have the talent to spin off a good run well into December.
Georgetown: On the back of a quartet of now-graduated seniors, the Hoyas made program history by reaching the national title game, only falling short against the Hoosiers by a 1-0 score. While Ian Christianson, Tommy Muller, Jimmy Nealis and Andy Riemer are all gone, there are very good reasons to include the Hoyas on this list. The first is senior forward Steve Neumann. The playmaker/attacker announced himself on the national stage with a hat trick last year in the national semifinal game against Maryland. He’ll look to effectively partner with 14-goal scorer Brandon Allen once again. Along with that pair, goalkeeper Tomas Gomez provides experience in net, right back Keegan Rosenberry showed quality in winning a starting role, and the team welcomes a solid recruiting class that includes Alex Muyl and Joshua Yaro.
Indiana: Never count out the defending champions, even after it lost valuable members off its championship-winning spine. Goalkeeper Louis Soffner, center back Caleb Konstanski and forward Eriq Zavaleta are gone, leaving plenty of issues the squad needs to address. On paper though, the team’s midfield is quite formidable. A.J. Corrado, Nikita Kotlov, Harrison Petts and Femi Hollinger-Janzen all very solid players – plus they added incoming transfer Dylan Mares. That group should be able to create opportunities. It will then boil down to having bodies up front to finish them off. Freshman Tommy Thompson has gotten a look at forward during preseason. He proved that if a reliable goal scorer can be found – or at least goals comes from enough sources – the Hoosiers are a team to watch.