College Soccer Weekend Preview

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photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The college season may still be in its infant stages but that doesn't mean there are no marquee matches to watch.

No. 1-ranked Louisville will aim to stay perfect in its quest for a national title, but it will have two tough road games against ranked opponents in a span of three days. Without injured midfielder Dylan Mares (ACL tear), the Cardinals will face no. 20 Wake Forest on Friday night before battling forward Billy Schuler and no. 3 North Carolina on Sunday.

Another duel between two ranked teams will be when no. 8 UCSB takes on no. 12 Duke. UCSB is coming off a 3-1 win against Seattle while Duke is fresh off a victory of its own against Furman. The sophomore match-up between Guachos forward David Opoku (who scored twice last week) and Blue Devils/U.S. U-20 men's national team defender Sebastien Ibeagha could be key in determining which team comes out on top.

UConn, currently at no. 7, will also face a fellow ranked team as it hosts no. 21 California. Currently at 2-0, UConn will have an advantage when it squares off with the Golden Bears, as the visitors should be more fatigued after going into overtime against Northwestern on Thursday night.

Here's a look at who the top 25 teams play this weekend:

FRIDAY

(1) Louisville at Wake Forest (20)

Oregon State at North Carolina (3)

Stanford at Maryland (4)

(5) UCLA at Santa Clara

(8) UCSB at Duke (12)

(9) SMU vs. North Carolina State

(10) West Virginia vs. Binghamton

Dayton at Notre Dame (11)

Georgia State at South Florida (13)

(14) Virginia vs. Cincinnati

(15) Indiana vs. Saint Louis

Stetson vs. Penn State (16)

Florida International at Ohio State (17)

Massachusetts at Central Florida (24)

(25) Brown at Providence

SATURDAY

(2) Akron at Cal State Northridge

SUNDAY

(1) Louisville at North Carolina (3)

Radford vs. Maryland (4)

(20) Wake Forest vs. Oregon State

(5) UCLA at UC Davis

Drexel at Creighton (6)

(21) California at UConn (7)

North Carolina State vs. UCSB (8)

(9) SMU at Duke (12)

(10) West Virginia vs. Old Dominion

Saint Louis at Notre Dame (11)

Robert Morris at South Florida (13)

(14) Virginia vs. Wisconsin

(15) Indiana vs. Dayton

Florida International vs. Penn State (16)

Stetson vs. Ohio State (17)

(18) Boston College at Dartmouth

Loyola at William & Mary (19)

Belmont at Central Florida (24)

(25) Brown at URI/Bryant

DO NOT PLAY

(22) Monmouth

(23) UNC-Greensboro

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What do you think of these matches? Which are you most looking forward to? Think Louisville will come away unscathed from its two games?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to College Soccer Weekend Preview

  1. cajun says:

    Think what you all want, college soccer is NOT where it’s at, with them silly rules and substition policy? Are you kidding me?! Go overseas and earn some money! You can worry about your “education” any time!

  2. Dennis says:

    In the USA, there is no simple route to move from H.S. (or before H.S. graduation) for a soccer player to get the attention needed to successfully move abroad. Just hopping on a plane and turning up in a foreign country to get a tryout will most likely lead to nothing, especially with work permits being not a certain thing, it might not even be about soccer. There are a hand full of precocious players who can move from H.S. to professional soccer, but very few 18 year-olds are mature enough either as players or as people to handle that. Reasonably good students who can play soccer pretty well, will likely find a path to greater recognition via college soccer if they want it. Kids who fail to graduate H.S. not so much.
    That said, NCAA rules that limit practice time and season length do hamper players’ development. The college game does not have mature players so the “old” guys are only 22 and that, along with the short season, does play a role in limiting the sophistication of the college game.
    The list of USMNT players who did not play soccer in college includes M. Bradley, F. Torres, Donavon, Beasely…; while those who did attend college (but who did not necessarily graduate) includes C. Davies, C. Dempsey, Bocanegra, Onweyu…, it is not clear their is an obviously better path. What I think is clear is that those players who did not play in college, yet found success are those players who were “discovered” when they were very young, those players who matured more slowly, did not get the attention of a professional team, or simply decided for other reasons that an education was more important seemed to do OK, despite the limitations of college soccer. What is missing is those players who neither played college soccer, or could find a professional or semi-professional team to continue their development. It is these missing players that is a real issue in the development of US soccer.

  3. Diddy says:

    The culture of the United States is different parents often stress their kids to get a college degree before going on with their future plans.

  4. chris says:

    Hey buddy. Go f*ck yourself. College soccer is and will always be a good route to the professional game. The problem is soccer is not engrained in our culture and most people are not educated about the game.

  5. Charles says:

    Yeah moms listen up !

    Instead of your boy going to get an education while he improves his soccer skills and plays in meaningful competitions…..

    Listen to a troll on SBI and have him play video games in his spare time, while making very low salaries and playing glorified friendlies.

    yeah…that makes sense.

  6. Shane says:

    The Generation Addidas program (project 40 before that) has shown that on average the players that had at least some college went on to have more successful pro soccer careers.

    This will probably become less true if we ever become capable of producing true world class players but for where we are now at least a year or two of college seems to help.

  7. Cajun is obviously right says:

    “substition”

    Shocking that with your spelling and grammar capabilities that you would de-emphasize education.

  8. fredmacmurray says:

    you think maybe there was some intentional irony in that post? Let’s hope, in which case it is actually pretty clever. And he succeeded in getting some heated replies.

  9. FredMacMurray says:

    “What is missing is those players who neither played college soccer, or could find a professional or semi-professional team to continue their development.”

    I would say what is missing is the list of players who skip college and end up laboring in minor leagues somewhere making very little money, then suffer an injury and have to face the future without soccer and without a college education.

    Given the struggle that even our most highly touted players face getting playing time in top leagues, i think that is the reality most kids who choose to skip school to play soccer probably would face, so i would not be too quick to recommend it.

  10. GY says:

    One thing to note for the UCSB v Duke game is that Ibeagha is out with a red card suspension from his last game. I’d love for UCSB to win and for people to think Ibeagha played, however I’d rather be honest about that.

  11. Ivan says:

    At 19, Rooney and Messi would play against Everton and Valencia before 60,000 people, and not against UC, Santa Barbara and UNC, Wilmington.

    Enough said.

    College sports may work for NFL and NBA, but is the biggest waste of very important 4 years of a footballer’s time.

    Imagine Mr. Rooney in his English History class challenging his teacher: “But, professor, I don’t agree with your assessment of the Battle of Trafalgar…”

  12. Dennis says:

    I agree that for most kids college makes sense, but there are those who will not make it in college or even graduate from high school. Right now few of those kids have an option to continue to play in anything approaching a league where any real improvement is likely.

  13. Dennis says:

    Of course, but there aren’t very many Rooneys, or Lebron James in the world and even they are just a bad injury from ending their sports careers.

  14. c mills says:

    Just got home from the 2-1 win by #2 UNC over #1 L-ville played at Chapel Hill. Nice crowd, great evening for some well played college soccer. Tar Heels deserved the win – had more chances, a lions share of possession and won the 50/50 balls. Lovejoy is coming into his own in his second year, now as a starter – quick as lightning. Urso does the dirty work in the middle and Hedges is a beast in the back. From what I’ve seen so far – UNC is top dog until someone knocks them off.