When it comes to winter high school boys soccer, SIMA FAB 50 No. 1 is an easy call.
Basically, it’s Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) spot until someone can prove otherwise.
This powerhouse program has produced 58 college scholarship players — 32 to NCAA Division I programs — since coach Mike Potempa took over for the 2010-11 season, and the Eagles have yet to lose a game, carrying a 96-match regular-season undefeated streak into this winter season.
Montverde Academy has been the SIMA FAB 50 winter champion three of the past four years, and the overall national champion (fall-winter-spring combined) the past two years.
So it’s no surprise that Montverde starts the year No. 1 for the 2014-15 winter campaign.
All six seniors in the starting lineup are likely headed to NCAA Division I programs, led by top prospects Matheus Martins Silva, Andre Shinyashiki and Lucas Fagotti. One of the top transfers is sophomore Kizza Edward, younger brother of Ugandan national team player Henry Kalungi. Edward scored 37 goals as freshman at Carlisle School (Martinsville, Va.) last school year.
The Eagles get the nod for No. 1 over a loaded Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) team, which has five NCAA Division I senior commits in the starting 11.
On the girls side, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.) is the preseason No. 1 as it returns 13 players from last year’s CIF Southern Section title-winning team, including eight players committed to Division I programs. Cathedral Catholic’s lineup features UCLA commit Sunny Dunphy and Stanford commit Olivia Erlbeck, both juniors, and Santa Clara commit Alyssa Fiddes, a senior. Other commits include Jessica Clegg (UC Santa Barbara) and Kelsey Irwin (Virginia Tech), Shelby Cormier (Loyola Marymount), Riley Marshall (UC Davis), Dana Dalton (Arizona) and Niamh Nelson (Louisville).
Cathedral Catholic starts ahead of last year’s Winter FAB 50 No. 1 Monte Vista (Danville, Calif.), which returns eight starters from last year’s undefeated squad. The lineup of committed players at Monte Vista includes Leah Emerson (St. Mary’s), Chelsea Barry (Cal Poly), Marissa Savoldi, Mallory Hromatko and Maddy Gibson (UC Santa Barbara) and Ari Zamora (UC Davis). Lindsay Rood and Amanda Outcalt have committed to NCAA Division I programs for other sports.
The Winter SIMA FAB 50 is comprised of schools from the seven winter-playing states: Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The preseason rankings were assembled in October and do not reflect any matches already played by teams in the few winter states that have already started competition. In addition, the rankings were set based on which players were expected to return for the high school season. Reasonable expectations for some teams will change greatly as top players opt to or not to play high school soccer this season. Soon enough, results will replace the hype once the season is under way.
The SIMA FAB 50 weekly rankings will start with the state/regional rankings Monday, Dec. 1, and the FAB 50 on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Each week new teams will cycle in and out of the rankings — state, region and SIMA FAB 50 — based on recent results. It is likely that near 100 teams will make appearances in each the boys and girls SIMA FAB 50s at some point this season.
WINTER PRESEASON RANKINGS: