Conference tournaments may not produce the most memorable style of soccer, but with the MLS season wrapped up for all but four teams, scouting will ratchet up a notch at this week’s league knockout competitions.
For teams outside the bubble, it’s one last chance for seniors interested in pursuing a pro career to impress observers, as pro combines are far from ideal in evaluating players.
Keep an eye on the eight seniors below as knockout soccer continues this week.
D Andrew Souders, Akron
The former U.S. U17 MNT youth international has enjoyed a solid and steady career at Akron. Eligible to sign a Crew homegrown deal, he may not be the ideal fit for Columbus’ system that emphasizing attacking outside backs. Regardles,s if the Crew would be interested in signing him or not, he’ll be a cornerstone for the Zips this weekend as they look for a MAC tournament title at home and stake a claim at a top four tournament seed.
M Mael Corboz, Maryland
An enticing midfield battle is set for Friday’s Big Ten semifinal, as Corboz will go toe-to-toe with Big Ten Midfielder of the Year Tanner Thompson. His ability to create scoring opportunities from set pieces is well known; this weekend’s trip to Columbus for the tournament is a good chance for Corboz to match up against quality opposition and show that he can help boss things in the run of play for the young Terps.
M/F TJ Casner, Clemson
Paul Clowes and Kyle Fisher both earned individual ACC awards, though Casner was just as influential this season for the Tigers, earning First Team All-ACC honors. With eyes on an ACC tournament title, Clemson plays host to Syracuse on Wednesday, providing Casner the chance to showcase not just his scoring ability, but the threat he poses with his pace and physicality no matter where he’s lined up on the field.
M/D Kyle Culbertson, Ohio State
While the Buckeyes aren’t known as a conveyor belt of talent for the pro ranks, a crop of intriguing seniors could hear their names called in the draft. Culbertson, primarily playing in the midfield this season, looks like a solid candidate to switch to an outside back at the pro level. Friday’s semifinal matchup puts the top seed and tournament host Ohio State against an underrated Rutgers side.
GK Callum Irving, Kentucky
As this point, what does Irving have left to prove at the college level? Recently named the Conference USA Player of the Year for the second year running, the Whitecaps FC Academy product has to be on the club’s radar despite playing across the continent. The No. 1 seed Wildcats earned an extra day off and will begin play on Thursday at the Conference USA tournament in Charlotte, another chance for Irving to cement his status as the top goalkeeping prospect amongst the seniors.
M Jordan Schweitzer, Denver
The Sounders Academy product is one of two seniors on the roster for Denver, which has emerged as one of the top teams in the nation this season. Schweitzer’s likely to get a look from the Sounders for a homegrown deal after competing for the U23 team this summer in the PDL. Denver takes on Western Illinois to kick off the Summit League tournament on Thursday night, in case other scouts are watching and the Sounders pass on the midfielder.
D Keegan Rosenberry, Georgetown
Since beginning his college career on the hilltop back in 2012, Rosenberry has developed into one of the nation’s top right backs and is poised to make the leap to the pro ranks. Eager to shed his homegrown ties to the Philadelphia Union and enter the draft, Thursday’s Big East semifinal against Xavier is another opportunity for Rosenberry to continue and showcase his abilities at both ends of the field.
D Brendan Hines-Ike, South Florida
The former Chivas USA Academy player has enjoyed his transfer to South Florida, back-stopping a quality defense that conceded 14 goals in 18 games. Hines-Ike trained this summer with the Rapids and Sounders, and leads the Bulls into their American Athletic semifinal on Friday against Connecticut.