Thursday, January 30, 2014

RNO: NCAA Division 1 All Canadian team

NCAA Division 1 All Canadian team
Canadian Men's National Team

Posted by Aaron Nielsen
January 27, 2014
Aaron Nielsen

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With the 2014 MLS draft coming to a close last week it's the end to another college/development season for North American soccer. The second part of the draft was interesting, including Canadian clubs doing well with the biggest steal of the draft potentially Pete Caringi taken by the Montreal Impact in the third round.
While younger players are still playing youth soccer, many are now participating in the US Soccer Development Academy, including future Home Grown Players (HGP) for a number of MLS affiliated clubs. College players continue with school and have some spring practice, optional PDL in the summer and return to play next fall.
Before I complete my college/development coverage I thought that it would be important to reflect on the top Canadian talent from the past season, including two players who ended up being drafted in the later rounds. This is my first version of the NCAA Division One Men's Soccer All-Canadian team.
According to my data, there was over 120 players competing in NCAA Division One who were recruited via Canada. With the continued issues, discussions and debates surrounding the Canadian National Team, here is a list of players who can potentially add to a player pool that has always lacked depth.
Legend: FR = Freshman, SO = Sophomore, JR = Junior, SR = Senior
Goalkeeper - Darrin MacLeod, FR, Drake

MacLeod is a redshirt freshman for Iowa-based Drake University after sitting out his first season of college. The 6'3 Waterloo native played his first 17 college games as the starting keeper in 2013 and finished with a 1.15 goals against average and .809 save percentage, which was 33rd highest in NCAA Division 1 soccer. MacLeod could play three more seasons in college and although Drake is a smaller school he could establish himself as one of the top goalkeeping prospect in the 2017 MLS Draft.

Defender - Quinton Duncan, FR, Tulsa

A Vancouver Whitecaps residency player, Quinton Duncan played 20 games as a true freshman this past season at Tulsa University. Duncan is 6'0 and was asked to play centre back, although if he wants to establish himself as a prospect in this position he will need to bulk up for his listed weight at 155 pounds. Quinton should play in some high profile games next season as Tulsa already has two 2015 draft prospects in Cristian Mata and Akeil Barrett and can also see time with the Canadian youth national team.

Defender - Emeka Ononye, JR, Wright State

I already have Ononye in my top 100 prospects for the 2015 MLS Draft. Ononye has great size at 6'3/191 and has college experience playing both centre back and defensive midfielder, and established himself as an All-Horizon League Honors player. The Richmond Hill, Ontario native might struggle getting attention, as his school Wright State doesn't play the most high profile schedule, however, if invited to next season's MLS combine he should grab the attention of the coaches and scouts.

Defender - Kwame Awuah, FR, UCONN

UCONN should be the college team to follow next season, from a Canada perspective, with Larin, Goodridge, Matheson and Kwame Awuah all coming from the Toronto region. Awuah plays full-back/wing at UCONN and as a true freshman played in all of UCONN 23 games last season starting 22. Awuah's biggest issue regarding a pro/national team career is his size listed only 5'7/145 pounds. Traditionally UCONN is one of the stronger schools in NCAA soccer, so if Awuah can start all four seasons with the Huskies, he should have a good reputation for the 2017 MLS draft.

Midfiedler - Sergio Camargo, FR, Coastal Carolina

Outside of Larin, Sergio Camargo might be the most familiar player to Ontario based soccer fans as he played with Toronto FC in the 2012 Liverpool friendly, was TFC Academy MVP, as well part of the Canadian U17 and U20 teams. Camargo started well in his college career scoring nine goals and five assists in 24 games, starting 15 of them as a freshman. Sergio should remain a key player at Coastal Carolina, pile up the offensive numbers and might also leave school early signing with Toronto FC as a home grown player.

Midfielder - Jay Chapman, SO, Michigan State
Another Toronto FC academy player and Canadian national team player, and despite Chapmen being a junior next season, he's projected as one of the top candidates for leaving school early and joining either TFC as a Homegrown Player or as a GA pick in the draft. The 6'0/150 Campbellford, Ontario native has scored seven goals and five goals in 43 career college games so far, but what makes him a pro prospect is his ability to play with the ball at his feet, which means he offers a MLS club more than your typical college midfielder.

Midfielder - Ben McKendry, SO, New Mexico

McKendry is a Vancouver Whitecaps academy player who could have joined the Whitecaps senior team the past two seasons. The 5'11/150 midfielder already has 12 goals and 3 assists in 44 games at New Mexico and should be a key team leader for the Lobos next season. McKendry has had a great reputation as a youth player in BC winning multiple awards, as well as playing games with both the U18 and U20 Canadian national team. McKendry's potential future partnership in central midfield with Will Johnson could help give Canada the spine needed to develop a productive midfield.

Midfielder - Tomislav Zadro, SR, Wisconsin

Although not drafted, Zadro was my top Canadian senior in NCAA Division 1 this past season. Unlike Ongaro and Pridham, Zadro lead his school Wisconsin to the National Tournament. Zadro has a lot of positives with good size at 6'3/175 and an ability to cross the ball, which led to many assists in college. Tomislav did have issues with injuries and also had to start his college career in Junior College which probably hurt his chances for a guarantee pro contract. I hope he get chances with MLS and NASL clubs this preseason as I think he has the tools to be a professional player.

Forward - Jordan Ongaro, SR, San Diego State

Ongaro was one of the top goal scorers in the most difficult conference in college the past two seasons, scoring 17 goals with San Diego State against mostly PAC-12 opposition, but unfortunately most of those games were also losses. The 6'0/175 striker has experience with both the U17 and U20 Canadian national teams and has shown the ability to be a poacher, which meant Montreal drafted him 67th overall. However, I don't think he has the skill set that a MLS club requires. This being said I wouldn't be surprised if he plays professionally next season with his hometown club FC Edmonton.    

Forward - Mackenzie Pridham, SR, Cal Poly

Pridham earned a reputation for being a player at the right spot in his opponent's 18 yard box, which help him score 25 goals in his last two seasons of college, including 14 in 2013. The Toronto native has good size at 6'1/180 and also some Canadian national team experience. However, he didn't make the U-20 team and further questions remain about his pro ability when Montreal choose to draft his Cal Poly team mate instead of him. Eventually drafted by the Whitecaps in the 4th round and 58th overall, Pridham will need to take his opportunities with Vancouver to gain a roster spot.

Forward - Cyle Larin, FR, UCONN

Cyle Larin might be the most exciting men's soccer prospect coming out of Canada since Junior Hoilett, and unfortunately from a Canadian perspective, he left his options open regarding his pro career and playing for Canada. However, he did join Canada's most recent national team training camp. The true freshman took full advantage of an injury to fellow UCONN striker Mamadou Diouf and scored 14 goals, 3 assists, via 44 shots on goal in 23 games. Larin has all the tools you like in a prospect, size 6'2/190, athleticism and an ability to perform in pressure situations and if he accepted a GA spot for the 2014 draft he would have been a top three pick.

Honorable Mentions:
Some honorable mentions are UCONN striker Allando Matheson who scored seven goals off the bench and should be a starter next season; Duke striker and Whitecaps Home Grown prospect Brody Huitema who scored 6 goals in his freshman season; Saint Bonaventure senior Emmett O'Conner who scored 8 goals including 4 game winners; South Florida defender Nikola Paunic; Syracuse midfielder Jordan Murrell;  Washington forward Josh Heard; Robert Morris forward Bruce Cullen and UAB midfielder senior Chase Wickham who all played key roles for their schools throughout the 2013 NCAA Division 1 season.

2014 MLS Superdraft Recap Podcast

2014 MLS Superdraft Recap Podcast:
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 MLS Draft - Mock Draft and Podcast

2014 MLS SuperDraft podcast and mock draft

Podcast of myself joining Kamal Hylton talking about the 2014 MLS Draft:
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2014 MLS Mock SuperDraft
Put together after the recording of this episode of the Gaffer & Hooligan, there have been a few small revisions to Aaron Nielsen's and as an update to the first round mock draft, we offer Aaron's most recent selections for the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.

* Generation Adidas - (W denotes winger)
 1. DC United - Patrick Mullins, FW

DC picks Mullins to help replace offense left by the departing Dwayne De Rosario.
 2. Philadelphia Union - *Christian Dean, CB
With two early picks the Union can take the greater risk and pick Dean. The fact he will not count against salary cap help as well.
 3. Vancouver Whitecaps - Steve Birnbuam, CB
Despite Blake being the smarter choice, in my view the temptation of a starting CB in 2014 might be too much to give up.
 4. New England Revolution - *Andre Blake, GK
My top prospect will make the Revolution younger, yet stronger, and a club to watch for the future. 
  5. FC Dallas - Steve Neumann, AM
Very early in most people's opinion, but a lack of midfield offense and willingness to develop make Neumann a perfect fit.
  6. Philadelphia Union -  *Marlon Hairston, CM
Young box-to-box midfielder gives the Union another player with a GA contract.
  7. Vancouver Whitecaps - *Schillo Tshuma, FW
Overrated in my view, but Vancouver seems to never pass on a young forward with potential.
  8. Chicago Fire - *AJ Cochrane, DF
After adding two midfielders via HGP, Chicago takes DP defender AJ Cochrane for added depth.
  9. SJ Earthquakes - *Eric Miller, FB
San Jose try to replace a position after two left this winter, and take Miller before the Impact.
  10. Montreal Impact - Kyle Venter, CB
With Miller gone, the Impact work on replacing Nesta and likely have more knowledge of Venter than Cope.
  11. Colorado Rapids - Pedro Ribeiro, CM
The Rapids create a very interesting young central midfield combo of Powers and Ribeiro. 
  12. New England Revolution - Mamadou Diouf, FW
Revs grab a second UCONN player, this one helping in the much needed forward position.
  13. Seattle Sounders - JJ Koval, DM
Seattle stays on the west coast and goes for security in midfield depth. 
  14. LA Galaxy - *Damion Lowe, FB
LA Galaxy grabs the last GA in the draft for much needed help in the full back position.
  15. Toronto FC - Jared Watts, DM
The new TFC are looking for depth, but with rumors of Laba leaving Watts can provide some grittiness.
  16. Houston Dynamo - Kevin Cope, CB
Might be the steal of the draft so there will be no surprise if Houston will make a move for him.
  17. Portland Timbers - Mark Sherrod, FW
Sherrod played with the Timbers U23 and they will be happy to draft him he falls to number 17.
  18. Real Salt Lake - Joey Dillon, DM
Salt Lake goes for proven positional play over athleticism at defensive midfield.
  19. New England Revolution - Pete Caringi, FW
Adding to potential upfront, Caringi might be second choice in draft but first choice on the pitch.
20. Chivas USA - AJ Corrado, RM
Midfielder with good cross from the right, including corners.

21. Seattle Sounders FC - Ben Sweat, FB
Full Back can develop a partnership to DeAndre Yedlin on the left.

22. New York Red Bulls - Jacob Bushue, FB
Red Bulls have question in Defensive Midfield and Full Back with Jacob Bushue having pro potential in both positions.

23. Columbus Crew - Victor Chavez, W
There is a varity of Winger/Forwards in the draft still and although not local Chavez might be best.

24. Toronto FC - Grant Van de Casteele, CB
A defender who can play both Centre and Full Back might give the Reds more security in defense.

25. Philadelphia Union - Eric Stevenson, LM
Philadelphia can start to concentrate on offense and Stevenson provides options on the Left

26. Portland Timbers - Reinaldo Brenes, W
Akron product could excel under Porter who coached and recruited him at Akron.

27. Philadelphia Union - Luca Gimenez, W
Gimanez can match Stevenson from the right but the Brazilian will count as a foreign player

28. San Jose Earthquakes - Fife Baiden, DM  
Athletic Ghanaian Defensive Midfielder who played on the west coast.

29. Montreal Impact - Mackenzie Pridham, FW
Canadian born striker could provide some much needed depth in that position.

30. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Ryan Neil, FB
Good combine will bring Neil up in the draft as a full back. although a Midfielder in college.

31. New England Revolution - Nick Hagglund, CB
Talented defender only improves New England's draft.

32. Houston Dynamo - Aodhan Quinn, RM
Experienced college midfielder fits Houston's history of development.

33. Colorado Rapids - Zach Bolden, AM
Local player needs to show he can transfer success to the pros.

34. New York Red Bulls - George Fochive, DM
French Defensive Midfielder could provide Red Bulls with midfield depth.

35. Colorado Rapids - Patrick Slogic, CB  
Another Hometown player, at 6'6 has potential to be an intimidating Centre Back.

36. Portland Timbers - Robert Derschang, W
Another Akron product who can play all three positions on the left side.

37. Montreal Impact - Marco Franco, FB
Provides Montreal the full back depth that they missed out earlier in the draft.

38. Sporting Kansas City - Taylor Peay, CB
Centre Back who can score may also play defensive midfield.

39. Portland Timbers - Nikita Kotlov, W
Skillful winger fits the mold that Porter has liked in Akron and now in Portland.

40. Chivas USA - Richard Marquez, CB
Unknown local product with Hispanic roots.

41. Sporting Kansas City - Michael Calderon, AM
Talented attacking midfielder although needs to find purpose/role in MLS.

42. Columbus Crew - Thomas McNamara, CM
Offensive Central Midfielder needs to improve defense to be valuable.

43. FC Dallas - Zach Barnes, CM
Texas product, not invited combine, but has potential.

44. Philadelphia Union - Martin Ontiveros, W
Additional depth upfront with some skills and speed.

45. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Ronny Mendoza, CB
Ecuador Centre Back with upside, but will need adapt to play in MLS.

46. Philadelphia Union - Daniel Lovitz, CM
Smart and hard working Central Midfielder from the area.

47. San Jose Earthquakes - Joe Sofia, CB
Non combine invitee, although defensive leader at UCLA

48. Montreal Impact - Wojciech Wojcik, FW
Forward with size and skills although questions regarding pro ability.

49. Colorado Rapids - Tesho Akindele, FW
Local product from division two school has Canadian citizenship.

50. New England Revolution - Tyler Gibson, DM
Reliable midfield force, although not overly talented.

51. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Romena Bowie, DM
Jamaican who has struggled to reach his potential.

52. Philadelphia Union - Enrique Cardenas, W 
Small Winger with offensive potential.

53. Real Salt Lake - Adnan Gabeljic, FW
Big Forward who has yet to show touch.

54. Houston Dynamo - Sunny Jane, W
Highly touted preseason but fell and not invited to combine.

55. Seattle Sounders FC - Spencer Richey, GK
Injured Goalie although has good potential when healthy.

56. D.C. United - Jimmy Ockford, CB
Defender/Midfielder who should provide good depth.

57. Sporting Kansas City - Alex Sweetin, AM
Miss Combine with injury a dead ball specialist in college.

58. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Chris Duvall, FB
Overshadowed Fullback in college who ran track.

59. Chivas USA - Miguel Gonzalez, FW
Uninvited to combine but lead the NCAA in Shots on Target.

60. Toronto FC - Tomislav Zadro, AM
Canadian Attacking Midfielder with European Soccer background.

61. Chicago Fire - Matt Walker, W
Uninvited to combine and Undersized but has a history of scoring goals.

62. FC Dallas - Omar Matta, AM
Overlooked midfielder who lead Tulsa to a successful season.

63. Philadelphia Union - Jason Plumhoff, AM
Non combine invite although local and great offensive numbers.

64. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Rafael Diaz, GK
Smallish Keeper but can make saves.

65. Chicago Fire - Andre Lewis, W
Small Jamaican U20 Winger who is mostly an unknown.

66. San Jose Earthquakes - Alec Sundly, MF
West coast midfielder with some USNT background.

67. Montreal Impact - Alex Martinez, AM
Flair attacking midfielder although many questions.

68. Colorado Rapids - Fabio Pereira, AM
Free Kick Specialist who lacks in other skills.

69. D.C. United  - Andy Lubahn, FW
Experienced Forward who succeed through effort.

70. Real Salt Lake - Michael Kafari, DM
Ghanaian Defensive Midfielder will struggle for foreign spot.

71. Portland Timbers - Martin Ontiveros, W
Originally recruited by Akron became offensive leader at Furman.

72. Los Angeles Galaxy - Victor Munoz, AM 
Spanish Midfielder who never capitalized on skills.

73. Portland Timbers - Braian Acuna, FB
Unknown Argentinian youth international.

74. San Jose Earthquakes - Peter Schmetz, CB  
Big German Defender who played on the west coast.

75. Chicago Fire - Austin Oldham, CM
Versatile Midfielder who relies on hard work.

76. Sporting Kansas City - Kristopher Tyrpak, W
Was youth teammate with Whitecaps Kekuta Manneh.

77. Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Harris, FB 
Flip throw caused trouble in college could also work in MLS.