The College Cup was one final chance for seniors to showcase themselves ahead of the 2014 pro draft season. The transition between levels is always something of a shot in the dark, as the stark difference in the length of seasons and quality can be difficult to project.
Scouts were watching nonetheless at last weekend’s College Cup. Here’s a look at which players helped and hurt their case.
D Grant Van De Casteele, Notre Dame: The 6-foot-2 center back showcased his aerial prowess in both games, hardly putting a foot wrong against either the Terps or New Mexico. His distribution remains in question, as he didn’t see much of the ball, but he showcased himself well against what was in front of him. He handled Mullins pretty well in Sunday’s final.
F Patrick Mullins, Maryland: While making the transition from college to pro soccer is more of a challenge for attackers than defenders, Mullins’ two goals against Virginia certainly showcased his ability to put the ball in the net. His future position remains a question, and he’ll need to work on that right foot, but who wouldn’t want a top character player who can play up front or out wide?
MF Harrison Shipp, Notre Dame: While the midfield maestro doesn’t have to worry about his draft stock since he’s a homegrown signing option for the Fire (which looks all but a done deal), Shipp was the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, assisting on three of the four goals on the weekend. He looks primed to contend for MLS Rookie of the Year honors in 2014.
MF Michael Kafari, New Mexico: A hulking physical presence, Kafari is an intriguing prospect. And while he wasn’t poor against the Irish, he didn’t control the game and break up plays in the midfield like he would need to in order to show scouts that they can look past his international status.
F Schillo Tshuma, Maryland: The explosive striker from Maryland would have to sign a Generation adidas contract to leave school early, and that would’ve taken a strong finish to his 2013 campaign. He was unable to make much happen not only over the past two games in Philly, but in the tournament as a whole. His last goal came in the regular season against Virginia Tech. Tshuma remains a talented player with plenty of tools, but he didn’t make an impact in the way he is capable of doing.
MF Michael Calderon, New Mexico: Playing a holding role for the Lobos, Calderon wasn’t bad necessarily. He helped New Mexico keep the ball and circulate it around the field against a tough ND back line. But he wasn’t dynamic or athletic enough for scouts to overlook two strikes he has against him heading into draft season: age (he turned 25 recently) and international status (Calderon is a Costa Rica native).