2012 SBI College Soccer Season Preview: Rankings, Players to watch and more

CarlosAlvarez (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The 2012 Men's College soccer season is ready to kick off tonight around the country and the best teams and players in America will give soccer fans plenty of added entertainment to go along with their usual pro soccer fix.

Defending champion North Carolina is back, and despite all the new faces, the Tar Heels should be in contention again. Another former champion, 2010 winner Akron, should be at the top of the list of teams capable of knocking off North Carolina for the crown, while schools like UConn, Maryland and UCSB also try make their case for being crowned national champions.

College soccer will feature a plethora of quality pro prospects, and if the contributions of this year's MLS rookies are any indication, the level of talent in the college game remains high. If you want to know which young players are coming through the ranks, and which players your favorite MLS team might be adding come the 2013 MLS Draft, you will be able to track those top talents here on SBI.

If you need a primer on the upcoming college season, this is your place. You can start with my FOX Soccer column discussing the state of the college game, as well as my Top 25 pro prospects list for 2012.

Once you get through that, SBI has plenty more for you. You can check out SBI's Pre-Season All-American Team, The SBI Pre-Season Top 25, and our list for best college games of the season, after the jump:

SBI PRE-SEASON TOP 25 

1- AKRON

2- UCONN

3- NORTH CAROLINA

4- MARYLAND

5- UCSB

6- INDIANA

7- UCLA

8- DUKE 

9- WEST VIRGINIA

10- BOSTON COLLEGE

11- SOUTH FLORIDA

12-ST. JOHN’S

13- LOUISVILLE

14- VIRGINIA

15- XAVIER

16- NEW MEXICO

17- COASTAL CAROLINA

18- CREIGHTON

19- SMU

20- CHARLOTTE

21- CSU-BAKERSFIELD

22- WAKE FOREST

23- UC-IRVINE

24- NOTRE DAME

25- GEORGETOWN

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SBI PRE-SEASON ALL-AMERICAN TEAM 

GOALKEEPER- ANDRE BLAKE, UCONN

DEFENDER- SEBASTIEN IBEAGHA, DUKE

DEFENDER- ERIC SCHOENLE, WEST VIRGINIA

DEFENDER- WALKER ZIMMERMAN, FURMAN

DEFENDER- TAYLOR KEMP, MARYLAND

MIDFIELDER- DILLON POWERS, NOTRE DAME

MIDFIELDER- CARLOS ALVAREZ UCONN

MIDFIELDER- MIKEY LOPEZ, NORTH CAROLINA

MIDFIELDER- ROBBIE DERSCHANG, AKRON

FORWARD- GYASI ZARDES, CSU-BAKERSFIELD

FORWARD- MAMADOU DIOUF, UCONN

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SBI'S TOP COLLEGE MATCHES TO WATCH IN 2012

Aug. 24th- UCLA vs. New Mexico

Aug. 26th- Maryland vs. Louisville

Aug. 31st- North Carolina vs. West Virginia

Aug. 31st- Creighton vs. Akron

Aug. 31st- Maryland vs. UCLA (ESPN3.com)

Sept. 2nd- Wake Forest vs. West Virginia

Sept. 7th- Akron vs. Indiana (in South Bend, Indiana)

Sept. 7th- Maryland at Boston College

Sept. 9th- UCLA vs. UC-Irvine

Sept. 11th- Louisville vs. Wake Forest

Sept. 14th- North Carolina vs. Wake Forest

Sept. 16th- Akron vs. South Florida

Sept. 18th- UConn vs. Boston College

Sept. 21st- North Carolina vs. Virginia (FOX Soccer Channel)

Sept 21st- UCSB vs. UCLA

Sept. 21st- Wake Forest vs. Duke

Sept. 22nd- UConn vs. St. John’s

Sept. 26th- Indiana vs. Notre Dame

Sept. 28th- Duke vs. North Carolina

Sept. 29th- UConn vs. Notre Dame

Oct. 3rd- Georgetown vs. UConn

Oct. 5th- Maryland vs Virginia (FOX Soccer Channel)

Oct. 6th- Wake Forest vs. Boston College

Oct. 10th- Louisville vs. Indiana

Oct. 12th- Duke vs. Maryland

Oct. 12th- Virginia vs. Wake Forest

Oct. 19th- Maryland vs. North Carolina (ESPNU)

Oct. 20th- Akron vs. West Virginia

Nov. 1st- North Carolina vs. Boston College (ESPN3.com)

Nov. 1st- Wake Forest vs. Maryland (ESPN3.com)

Nov. 11th- Big East Final

Nov. 11th- ACC Final

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What are you most looking forward to this upcoming college season? Which players are you excited to see play? Which games are you planning to catch?

Share your thoughts on the upcoming Men's College Soccer season below.

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18 Responses to 2012 SBI College Soccer Season Preview: Rankings, Players to watch and more

  1. Jerryjduran says:

    I think it would be more correct to say DI College soccer. There is no mention of DII or DII institutions or players. Those athletes do not get any exposure, and are pretty much written off.

    (SBI-Show me where TV or media make that designation when covering mainstream college sports. Guess what? They don’t. It’s just a fact of life. Far more people are interested in Division 1 than lower divisions and therefore the lower divisions are the ones that use designations to identify themselves and be identified in the media. That’s just how it is, nobody ever said life was fair, and it’s a bit unrealistic to think that every level of college sports can get coverage. That’s just not reality, and that’s coming from someone who played D-3 college football.)

  2. Ne-Dub says:

    New Mexico at 16? Tonight’s match @ UCLA should shed some light on that.

    (SBI- Not saying they’re a bad team, but not sold on them pulling off another season like last year with the key players they lost (Rozeboom, Green). UCLA will definitely let us know how legit they are.)

  3. This Guy says:

    Walker Zimmerman is a player to watch.

  4. jerp says:

    morgan brian is better than all of those dudes

  5. Robinswood says:

    University of Washington will be on that list before the end of the season. In each following year, they’ll climb a bit higher.

  6. sagcat says:

    I have a hunch you have Notre Dame too low. I think this year, the men’s team is going to have a really impressive run through the Big East.

    (SBI-They have talent, no question, but they woefully underachieved last season. It’s up to Dillon Powers to step it up and carry the squad.)

  7. Drew says:

    I’ve never really followed college soccer, even though I go to IU. If any Hoosiers here want to go to some games this year let me know!

  8. Carl says:

    I graduated a few years ago and live in Indy now but still make it down with friends for at least 4-5 games a year. Well worth it, especially since you get in free with a student ID.

  9. chris says:

    A lot of good talent coming through the college ranks definetly going to suprise a few people. While the college system isn’t ideal its getting better every year and is great place for domestic and even some foriegn talent

  10. Rob218 says:

    Let’s go MARYLAND! Kemp and Stertzer are getting all the headlines going into the season as they should, but watch out for Patrick Mullins. He’s going to light it up for Maryland. Maryland will start the season off with some pay back against Louisville!

  11. sup12 says:

    wake forest should be about 15 lot of talent

  12. Rob218 says:

    SBI – just read the top 25 article. For Stertzer, you have Patrick Mullins’ picture posted, not Stertzer. Just letting you know.

  13. Jhawk says:

    So how legit are they? UNM 3 UCLA 2. Nice win for the Lobos! Probably too early to say who is legit or not, but UNM has been showing that they are putting together a pretty decent program.

  14. THomad says:

    Dude, it’s just assumed its DI unless stated otherwise. At least in other sports. This is great coverage, all the info you need to start getting into college soccer which produces good talent.

  15. Modibo says:

    Northwestern is coming off a season where they won the Big 10 regular season AND the conference tournament… they’re a Top 25 NSCAA team. I’m curious why they don’t make the SBI Top 25.

  16. sagcat says:

    Well, I’m guessing it’s not going to escape your notice that they just dominated Duke. Finley is a hell of an addition, and Powers was outstanding. Duke was patient passing the ball around the back line, but could not seem to move forward at all. Meanwhile, ND produced chance after chance.

    You’re right that they need to play better than last year, and I’m hoping tonight’s performance is a template.

  17. Chaque fois que la majorité parle d’Internet, elle parle uniquement de ses dangers. C’est le même principe que lorsque l’on ne voit que les trains qui arrivent en retard, et que l’on oublie tous ceux qui arrivent à l’heure quotidiennement

  18. Spank says:

    Go Bakersfield! That’s about the only thing to look forward to in this crappy town! I wish they would at least show one of their games on tv.