The NCAA College Cup Final always has its share of scouts tracking the top talent, and last weekend's matches in Hoover, Alabama drew extra attention from foreign clubs interested in the handful of top pro prospects on display.
At the top of that list was North Carolina striker Billy Schuler, who helped lead the Tar Heels to their second NCAA title after scoring the vital equalizer in the semifinal win against UCLA last Friday. Club scouts from Scandinavia, Greece and Germany were among the observers watching Schuler last weekend and sources tell SBI that a handful of European clubs have been tracking Schuler throughout the college season and are preparing offers for the 21-year-old striker.
One of Major League Soccer's top targets for a Generation adidas contract, Schuler does have the option of signing with MLS, though with increased interested in him coming from Europe, Schuler could join fellow top MLS Draft prospect Darren Mattocks among college standouts set to pass on MLS to sign in Europe.
A redshirt junior set to graduate from North Carolina this winter, Schuler earned NCAA All-American honors after scoring 16 goals to help the Tar Heels complete their championship season.
Schuler has been listed as an invitee to the 2012 MLS Combine, in part because as a graduating junior he is eligible for the draft, but with Schuler having no plans of signing with MLS as anything but a Generation adidas signee, the inclusion of Schuler's name on the Combine list was more organizational error by MLS than an actual plan of Schuler taking part in the Combine.
With Schuler and Mattocks potentially moving to Europe, the 2012 MLS Draft could wind up losing two of its top five prospects, and two top Generationa adidas targets. If Schuler and Mattocks do move on, MLS would then likely turn their attention to college forwards Chandler Hoffman (UCLA), Dom Dwyer (South Florida), David Opoku and Sam Garza (UCSB).
MLS is expected to announce its 6-8 player Generation adidas class in the next week or so, with Andrew Wenger on the verge of signing as the top prospect in the class.