2011 College Soccer Preview: MLS Academy Players To Watch

2011 College Soccer Preview: MLS Academy Players To Watch

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 26, 2011
  • Features

Jack Coleman will be a big part of the Hoosier's season this year. (Photo via USSoccer.com)

With each year that the MLS academy system is around, college teams will get a little richer for a couple years. That is certainly the case this season as several college teams are blessed with loads of talent from the MLS academy system.

Naturally the big dogs in the academy system are able to see several quality players go off to college. I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw all or most of these kids below in MLS within the next year or two. Once the NCAA opened up the rules to allow academy players to not lose any eligibility for college play from being in an academy system, the quality number of players going off to school certainly increased this year.

Below are a few guys to watch out for this season in the college ranks.

Jack Coleman, Indiana (FC Dallas) – Here is a guy I’ve seen plenty of over the last year or two. Coleman has all the tools to be a professional with FC Dallas and given the senior sides’ lack of depth at the moment in the defense, don’t be shocked at all if Coleman is offered a Home Grown contract before long. I’d say a year or two at Indiana will certainly get this captain of FC Dallas’ U-18 team ready for the next level.

Sean Okoli, Wake Forest (Seattle Sounders FC) – The Sounders have been really building up a strong academy over the last year and a half. Okoli is a strong forward from their system that will be a part of the big rebuilding effort at Wake Forest. Last year he scored 13 goals in 22 games for Seattle’s U-18 side.

Boyd Okuwonu, North Carolina (FC Dallas) – Another kid I’m very familiar with and another defender we’ll certainly see in MLS very soon. Okuwonu was part of the US U-18 side that competed at the recent Milk Cup. While UNC has depth in the back, expect Okuwonu to compete for a starting spot right away.

Keith Cardona, Maryland (New York Red Bulls) – I mentioned him yesterday as a possible replacement for Zac MacMath between the pipes at Maryland. He’s a big keeper at 6-foot-4 and will certainly be in the thick of things this season for the Terps.

Wil Trapp, Akron (Columbus Crew) – Talking with folks in Columbus you get a real sense that they are very excited about the future of this club because of players like Trapp. This central midfielder will fit in nicely at Akron and should be a big reason why Akron will compete for another title this season.

Nick Palodichuk, Duke (Seattle Sounders FC) – Another Sounder to the list, Palodichuk could be a name some of you remember as he scored against Italy in the 2009 U-17 World Cup. He’s passed up several offers from clubs overseas to go to Duke. Look for him to add a much needed punch to a Blue Devil attack that could use it.