Pre-season for Division 1 soccer players is officially underway and there is only 14 days until the first official men’s soccer games of the season. In preparation for opening day, here is a rundown of the preseason rankings and what teams to look out for in 2016.
According to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll here are your top 25 teams for 2016:
The reigning college cup winners are looking to defend their title this year after their 4-0 victory over Clemson last December. The Cardinals lost their top scorer – Morris – who skipped his senior season and entered the MLS. Despite losing their top scorer, the Cardinals return plenty of strong players and have earned the NSCAA coaches poll #1 pre-season ranking.
Akron has an experienced squad going into 2016 with 7 starters returning. In addition to the experienced core of returning players, Akron is bringing in the second rated recruiting class in the country as ranked by Topdrawersoccer.com. With the firepower that Akron is returning and the talent that they are bringing in they are looking to make a run for the College Cup and their second program national championship.
Clemson comes into 2016 after losing in the final of the College Cup to Stanford last December. Clemson had a phenomenal run to the finals by taking three games with penalty shout out wins; over UC Santa Barbara in the sweet 16, Maryland in the Elite 8, and Syracuse in the College Cup. They are playing in an extremely competitive conference with seven teams from the ACC making the pre-season rankings. Of the five that have made the top 10, Clemson tops the ranks of all ACC teams at number three.
Maryland finished their 2015 season in the quarterfinals of the NCAA championship after losing to eventual runner up Clemson. The Terps return an experienced squad with eight starters coming back for the 2016 season. They also have a talented freshmen class coming in that was ranked third in the nation by Topdrawersoccer.com. Maryland will be looking to defend their Big Ten tournament title win and will be going for their fourth national championship.
5. Wake Forest
Wake Forest started the 2015 season unranked but climbed their way to the top and went into the NCAA championships as the top seeded team. They ultimately dropped a hard fought match in overtime, losing in the elite eight to eventual champion Stanford. The Demon Deacons return eight starters and have 11 newcomers joining them. Second-year head coach Bobby Muuss brings in his first full class at Wake Forest that is ranked eighth-best nationally by Topdrawersoccer.com. The Demon Deacons start their run for a national championship on Friday, August 26 against Saint Louis.
8. North Carolina
9. Notre Dame
11. Boston College
12. Southern Methodist
13. UC Santa Barbara
18. Ohio State
19. South Florida
21. Coastal Carolina
24. South Carolina
Also receiving votes: Connecticut (24), Tulsa (20), Dartmouth (19), Dayton (13), Radford (8), Utah Valley (6), Florida Gulf Coast (5), Boston University (4), Virginia Commonwealth (4), Cal Poly (4), Hofstra (2), Santa Clara (2), California (2), Elon (1), American (1), Harvard (1).