By IVES GALARCEP
When Jurgen Klinsmann decided to call up Stanford forward Jordan Morris, there was suddenly a slight spike in interest in the college soccer game, and just what sort of talent might be available.
For MLS teams, the instant-impact blue chip prospects are a thing of the past, with more players either leaving college early or skipping college altogether in favor of turning pro in either MLS or overseas.
That exodus has put a drain on the top tier talent in the college game, and with several of the best college players also having academy ties to MLS teams, that makes the hunt for college talent to select in the MLS Draft a tougher proposition than it has ever been.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t talent. There is still some quality to be had for teams with high draft picks in January’s MLS Draft, and for teams with a discerning eye for talent, who just might be able to find the next gem like FC Dallas’ Tesho Akindele, Toronto FC’s Nick Hagglund and Colorado’s Marlon Hairston.
Something to consider when you peruse this list is that this is not necessarily meant as a list of the college players who will have the best college seasons, but rather the players who are generating the most attention and interest from MLS scouts, and those who stand the best chance of being drafted and making a team come January.
So who are the MLS Draft prospects you should be watching for during the 2014 college season? Here is SBI’s list of the Top 40 MLS Draft Prospects in College Soccer:
SBI’S TOP 40 MLS DRAFT PROSPECTS
*Generation adidas candidate
1. *CYLE LARIN, Forward, UConn, Soph.
2. *CRISTIAN ROLDAN, Midfielder, Washington, Soph.
3. LEO STOLZ, Midfielder, UCLA, Sr.
4. RAMON MARTIN DEL CAMPO, Defender, UC Davis, Sr.
5. *MICHAEL AMICK, Defender, UCLA, Soph.
6. *JOSHUA YARO, Defender, Georgetown, Soph.
7. *JAY CHAPMAN, Midfielder, Michigan State, Jr.
8. NICK BESLER, Midfielder, Notre Dame, Sr.
9. *JACORI HAYES, Midfielder, Wake Forest, Soph.
10. AARON SIMMONS, Defender/Midfielder, UCLA, Sr.
11. *JONATHAN CAMPBELL, Defender, North Carolina, Jr.
12. WILL VITALIS, Forward, Louisville, Sr.
13. SERGIO CAMPBELL, Defender, UConn, Sr.
14. ERIC BIRD, Midfielder, Virginia, Sr.
15. JORDAN MURRELL, Defender, Syracuse, Sr.
16. *OUMAR BALLO, Defender, UMBC, Jr.
17. FATAI ALASHE, Midfielder, Michigan State, Sr.
18. *PATRICK HODAN, Forward, Notre Dame, Jr.
19. SPENCER RICHEY, Goalkeeper, Washington, Sr.
20. NICK MIELE, Defender, New Mexico, Sr.
21. ADRIA BESO MARCO, Midfielder, UConn, Sr.
22. ROBBIE LOVEJOY, Forward, North Carolina, Sr.
23. TYLER MILLER, Goalkeeper, Northwester, Sr.
*24. GUILLERMO DELGADO, Forward, Delaware, Soph.
25. EMEKA ONYONYE, Defender, Wright State, Sr.
26. JAMES RODGERS, Forward, New Mexico, Sr.
27. ANTHONY MANNING, Defender, Saint Louis, Sr.
28. KHARLTON BELMAR, Forward, VCU, Sr.
29. ROBERT KRISTO, Forward, Saint Louis, Sr.
30. JORDAN MCCRARY, Defender/Midfielder, North Carolina, Sr.
31. AKEIL BARRETT, Midfielder, Tulsa, Sr.
32.SAM FINK, Defender, Wake Forest, Sr.
33. SAGI LEV-ARI, Forward, CSU Northridge, Sr.
34. TYLER ARNONE, Midfielder, Michigan, Sr.
35. ANDY CRAVEN, Forward, North Carolina, Sr.
36. TIM PARKER, Defender, St. John’s, Sr.
37. ZACH BATTEER, Forward, Stanford, Sr.
38. ZACH STEINBERGER, Midfielder, Butler, Sr.
39. TOMAS GOMEZ, Goalkeeper, Georgetown, Sr.
40. SETH CASIPLE, Midfielder, California, Sr.
Folks, I saw the New Mexico Lobos play again tonight and without question Center Back Nick Miele is tops in the country. He single handidly dominated the UCLA attack. There strikers and attacking midfielders did not get off a single shot on goal. He was equally as affective a week ago vs Akron. This Kid has size, skill, speed, and a high soccer IQ. I can see why New Mexico is considered one of the favorites to win the NCAA tournament.
Where is Tom Skelly on this list?
I keep hearing about some winger from Georgetown. I think his name is Tom Skelly. He’s getting a lot of interest from overseas.
Skelly is a midfielder for Georgetown. He is Fast ,excellent ball skills,can defend an attack.
Guillermo Delgado is a sophomore so he would have to be a GA pick.
Questions from a Canadian perspective: Has Ives spoken to any US MLS scouts about Murrell, Ononye and Chapman? Also, anyone else heard that Spencer Richey has a Canadian father or grandfather? Duane Rollins reported this in Canada a couple years ago.
Interesting that 10 of these guys aren’t in Top Drawer Soccer’s Top 100. I guess at this age/level there aren’t too many consensus picks.
Everybody has different views and rankings on players. Our past rankings go several years back and I’d put our track record up against anybody’s.
Not enough Craig Nitti.
Ives, are you going to have a weekly or monthly rankings feature on Soccer college players who can make the transition to MLS?
Are any of these players tied to MLS teams? (homegrown)
I think Ives has missed those guys out: these are the players who will be in the draft. Otherwise Jordan Morris would be there. Some of these have probably spent some time with MLS clubs (such as Roldan with the Timbers U-23’s) but not enough time with the academies to be eligible for homegrown claims.
There are no MLS Homegrown players on this list. This is a list of player eligible to go through the draft. I will do a list of the top Homegrown Players soon.