The 2018 NCAA soccer season is in full swing and most programs have played between four and six games. Here is an early-season look at the top NCAA men’s players catching the attention of pro scouts.
(1) Brad Dunwell, Wake Forest
Dunwell is a known work horse in the college ranks. The senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan is a top-ranked center midfielder who controls the pace of play for the Demon Deacons, who are currently ranked no. 1 in the national polls with a perfect 6-0-0 record. In six starts this season, Dunwell has recorded 2 assists. The 2017 preseason Mac Herman Trophy watch list recipient played the last four summers with Premier Development League powerhouse Michigan Buck and won the PDL title in 2016. Wake Forest will look to follow Dunwell’s run of play as they make a serious push for the 2018 College Cup.
(2) Aaron Molloy, Penn State
Dublin, Ireland native Aaron Molloy has been a consistent goal scorer in past seasons and aims to keep the streak going through 2018. He was nominated to the 2018 PDL top ten players to watch list and earned PDL Young Player of the Year accolades with Reading United A.C. The Nittany Lions, however, are off to a slow start with 1 win and 4 losses to start the 2018 campaign. Molloy has eight shots on goal but has yet to find himself on the score sheet. If Penn State turn things around Molloy will need to lead the team.
(3) Benji Michel, University of Portland
The third player on our list is having one of the most impactful seasons with any team in the nation at this time. University of Portland and Portland Timbers U23 standout Benji Michel has made five starts for the no. 18 ranked Pilots this season. His team sits unbeaten at 4-0-1 and has wins against NCAA powers Syracuse, UCSB and Cal Poly. Michel has contributed 5 goals to the Pilots cause and there is no sign of him stopping. Last season Michel notched 10 goals and 4 assists as a sophomore – adding to his impressive freshman campaign in 2016 in which he tallied 10 goal 2 assist. Scouts have Michel on their radar as he has put 10 goals in the back of the net for the Timbers U23 squad over several seasons as well. Five of which came in the only four games played during the 2018 season.
(4) Dayne St. Calir, University of Maryland
Canadian Goalkeeper Dayne St. Calir stands at 6 feet 4 inches and is a highly decorated collegiate athlete who spent the summer playing with the New York Red Bull’s U23 team. This season he has an impressive a 0.55 goals against per game average for the University of Maryland Terpins (1-2-2). The Canadian youth international product has 19 saves in 5 games as Maryland embarks on Big Ten conference play.
(5) Tate Schmidt, University of Louisville
Phoenix Arizon native Tate Schmidt has jump started the University of Louisville offense this season contributing 3 assists. The Cardinal sit 3-1-0 and are currently ranked #7 in the nation. This past Sunday, the program came off an enormous 3-0 result over #2 ranked Duke in the opening game of ACC play. Schmidt has had a stellar career at UL tallying 21 goals and 12 assists in his four year career thus far. With three quarters or more of the season still to play, it’ll be fun to follow Tate and see where he and Louisville find themselves by the end of the 2018 campaign.
(6) Santiago Patino, Florida International University
Florida International University’s Santiago Patino is a playmaking forward and often on the top of the U.S. scouting lists. TopDrawer Soccer has ranked the senior as the # 1 nationally ranked player. Patino has already put his mark on the early 2018 season with 4 goals and 1 assist through the first five games. He was sensational during his junior season amassing 15 goals in route to being named Conference Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Golden Boot recipient. During the summer, Patino played with the Seattle Sounders U23 side. Gaining further exposure with the U.S. professional ranks, the dominant striker was in form as he finished the summer campaign with 9 goals and 3 assists. If he can transition to the next level is question scouts have for Patino.
Author: Justin Perna