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2018 MLS SuperDraft: An Early Look at Prospects for Next Year’s Draft

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A look ahead to the some of the top college prospects for next year

Tim Kubel
Matt Ralph

Another SuperDraft has come and gone, and while a lot can happen before next January, here’s an early look at some of the top non-MLS Academy prospects in college soccer to keep an eye on through the spring exhibition season, summer amateur leagues and the fall regular season.

Gordon Wild, F, Maryland*
Wild was offered a chance to be in this year’s draft but turned down the league’s Generation adidas offer and will return to College Park for his junior season. The German has 33 goals in two seasons split between USC Upstate and Maryland so he’s a proven goal-scorer at a top program who will likely entertain offers to turn pro again in December. Here are some highlights from his 2016 season.

Tim Kubel, D, Louisville
Kubel has been a fringe GA candidate pretty much since his first year at Louisville, but he’ll have exhausted his eligibility by the time the next draft comes around so he can officially be counted on for the next draft pool. A right back who spends a lot of his time on the offensive side of the field, the German is known for his passing and vision but not always for his defensive ability. His age might also be a concern (he’ll turn 25 during the 2018 season), but few college players could be considered more pro-ready.

Tomas Hillard-Arce, D, Stanford
The 6-foot-1 center back from North Carolina was considered one of the top pro prospects in college this season and with one year of eligibility left he’ll return to try and lead Stanford to a third straight national title.

Afonso Pinheiro, F, Albany
Pinheiro was a big reason why Albany not only made the NCAA Tournament in 2016 but received a first round bye as one of the seeded teams in the field. The Brazilian has 31 goals and 11 assists through three seasons with the Danes.

Ema Twumasi, F, Wake Forest*
Twumasi could be the next Right to Dream player from Ghana to make a splash in the SuperDraft as early as next year if he’s signed to a GA deal. One of the top freshmen in the country, Ema introduced himself early in the season with a sensational bike and was third in goals on a team that lost on PKs in the national title game.

Jeff Caldwell, GK, Virginia
The North Carolina native has been one of the top shot-stoppers in the ACC the past two seasons and has received call-ups to various U.S. youth national teams. Heading into next season, he’s looking like the top senior goalkeeping prospect across the board.

Mohamed Thiaw, F, Louisville
A transfer from the junior college ranks at Cincinnati State, Thiaw burst onto the national stage with a team-leading 12 goals in 2016 and could play himself into first round prospect if he continues that trajectory.

Timmy Mueller, F, Oregon State
The 6-foot-3 striker from Idaho saw his production trail off last season after an early season hat trick (just two goals in his last 15 games), but doing more of this would certainly increase his stock.

Jake Rozhansky, MF, Maryland
A former U.S. youth international who was talked about as a potential GA target after helping lead Virginia to the 2014 national title, Rozhansky had a quiet first year in College Park - and to be fair does a lot that doesn’t grab headlines. With so many departures from a team that went unbeaten in the regular season, he will be relied on even more his final season.

Albert Ruiz, F, Florida Gulf Coast
The Spaniard led all of Division 1 in goals - it wasn’t even close - with 22 and ended up a finalist for the Hermann Trophy as a junior. Things will be a little different with the coach who founded the program off to South Florida and Ruiz will have an even larger target on his back his final season, but expect to hear his name called early if he continues the form he showed in 2016.

Jon Bakero, F, Wake Forest
The Spaniard was second on the team in goals with seven in 2016 and will be charged with leading a club that had two key losses from their midfield in Jacori Hayes and Ian Harkes.

Cory Brown, D, Xavier
The starting left back for New Zealand in the 2013 U17 World Cup, Brown was the 2016 Big East defender of the year and considering the position he plays could be high on the list of prospects heading into the draft next year.

Pablo Aguilar, MF, Virginia
Aguilar has been a consistent presence in central midfield for Virginia since his breakout performance in the team’s national title run in 2014. Though not known as a goal-scoring, he scored one of the best goals in college soccer in 2016 in an NCAA Tournament win over Vermont.

Frantzdy Pierrot, F, Coastal Carolina
The first thing you notice about the Haitian as I did when he played at Reading United last summer is his size - at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds he’s a big target up top. After transferring from Northeastern, Pierrot had a solid season with eight goals and five assists and is the type of player I could see turning heads at the next edition of the Combine.

Wyatt Ombsberg, D, Dartmouth
A third-team All-American as a junior, 6-foot-4 Maine native helped anchor a defense that conceded only 12 goals all season in 2016.

Drew Skundrich, MF, Stanford
A Lancaster native who spent time at PA Classics, Skundrich converted from outside back to his more natural position in the midfield this season and was an even bigger asset than he was in the Cardinal’s first of two straight national titles in 2015.

Francis Atuahene, MF, Michigan*
Another Right to Dream grad, Atuahene avoided the sophomore slump with eight goals and three assists as a sophomore in Ann Arbor after 10 goals and 3 assists his first year. Another solid season as a junior could put the speedy left winger in line for a GA deal.

Miguel Polley, MF, Villanova
Polley was an absolute joy to watch in 2016 as he helped lead the Wildcats to their first ever NCAA Tournament berth. Deadly on set pieces, smart and confident on the ball, the former U.S. youth international from Michigan will unfortunately be considered a question mark because of his size but there should be little doubt in his technical skill to play at the next level.

Adam Wilson, MF, Cincinnati*
The Scottish midfielder out of the Glasgow Rangers system had a breakout year in 2016 with five goals and 10 assists after a one goal and eight assist campaign his freshman season.

Kevin Feucht, MF, UC Santa Barbara
The Gauchos had a mixed bag of results this season, but it seemed like whenever things were going well for them it was the German playmaker making things happen.

Jon Gallagher, F, Notre Dame
As disciplined as they are, Bobby Clark’s teams aren’t always a joy to watch. But the Irish forward who has scored 26 goals and collected 13 assists over three seasons in South Bend is an exception to that. A fierce competitor with a flare for dramatic goals (see this later winner against Syracuse and this one against Duke), expect to hear his name come up a lot later this year.

Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse*
While the Orange had four players drafted and a fifth player sign a homegrown deal from last year’s squad, it was the freshman from England who often stood out on the field. Whether he plays his way into a GA offer next season, the defensive midfielder is certainly one to watch.

Ben Lundgaard, GK, Virginia Tech
The Delaware native had a solid junior season while helping to lead the Hokies to an unlikely tournament run. He finished the season with a .933 goals against average and eight shutouts and will enter his senior year as one of the highest rated goalkeepers in the land.

Luke Prpa, MF, Marquette*
The Wisconsin native made a huge splash out of the gate as a freshman with four goals and four assists through his first three games and finished with 10 goals and six assists for the year. While he has a ways to go to be considered a serious GA candidate, it will be interesting to see how he progresses his second season.

Siggi Benonysson, F, High Point*
The Big South Rookie of the Year burst onto the college scene with a huge rookie season that saw him lead the team with 10 goals and four assists. A long shot at this point for GA consideration next year, he’s still certainly a player outside the big conferences to watch.

Other Players to Watch

Mauro Cichero, F, SMU
Joonas Jokinen, F/MF, Temple
Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson
Brian White, MF, Duke
Geoffrey Dee, MF, Louisville
David October, MF/D, North Carolina
Alan Winn, F, North Carolina
Ricky Lopez-Espin, F, Creighton
Mac Steeves, F, Providence
Harry Cooksley, MF/F, St. John’s
Christopher Mueller, MF/F, Wisconsin
Miles Hackett, F, Rutgers
Jason Wright, F, Rutgers
Paul Marie, MF, FIU
Matej Dekovic, D, Charlotte
Sam Gainford, F, Akron
Stuart Holthusen, F, Akron
Devyn Jambga, F, SIU Edwardsville
Andrew Chekadanov, GK, Loyola Chicago
Jose Carrera-Garcia, F/MF, California
Jordan Jones, F, Oregon State
Auden Schilder, GK, Washington
Jared Stroud, MF, Colgate
Danny Musovski, F, UNLV
Matias Pyysalo, MF/F, UCF
Andreas Bartoskinski, MF, Villanova
Elijah Agu, F, Elon
Andre Shinyashiki, F, Denver
Thomas Olsen, GK, San Diego
Jakov Basic, D, UMass Lowell
Tristan Blackmon, F, Pacific

* Underclassmen