Academy College Report: Season Preview

NCAA season kicks off this week

HOU_Academy_Josue_Soto_SMU

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy SMU

The men's college soccer season kicks off this week - last night, in fact - and we have 11 Dynamo Academy players to track in collegiate action this fall. The 2010 season marks the first group of college seniors who spent time in the Dynamo Academy, so college soccer is especially worth watching to see which players might be drafted or even signed prior to the draft in the 2010-11 offseason.

Seven of the Dynamo's 11 collegiate players are on squads ranked in the top 25 in the nation by the preseason NSCAA poll. Here are those Dynamo Academy players, sorted by year of eligibility:

Seniors

Daniel Roberts, MF, UNC-Wilmington (Fort Bend Clements) Dynamo bio | UNCW bio

Roberts has been a standout for the Seahawks throughout his career, helping them to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year. This year, UNC-Wilmington begins the season ranked 23rd nationally and is favored to defend its Colonial Athletic Association title. UNC-Wilmington will be on the road this weekend, facing Binghamton and West Virginia in the WVU Classic in Morgantown, W.Va., home to former Dynamo president and current West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. Roberts did not play in either preseason game for UNC-Wilmington due to a nagging groin injury but is expected to play tomorrow.

Josue Soto, MF, SMU (PrepaTec, Mexico) Dynamo bio | SMU bio

Likely the Dynamo Academy prospect who is closest to the professional level, Soto spent the entire summer training with the Dynamo first team and did not look out of place. He started and played 71 minutes last night in SMU's 3-2 overtime win over Missouri State in Dallas. Another Houston-area product, freshman Juan Castillo (Kingwood Park) scored the game-tying goal for the Mustangs in the 88th minute. SMU will host Tulsa, Seattle, and Lipscomb in the SMU Invitational this weekend.

Juniors

Alex Dixon, FW, North Carolina (Humble Atascocita) Dynamo bio | UNC bio

Often overlooked behind teammates Michael Farfan and Billy Schuler, both on the M.A.C. Herrmann Award Watch List, Dixon has been among the Tar Heels' leading scorers in each of his first two seasons, helping UNC to back-to-back College Cup appearances. He should be penciled in as a starter for the No. 4-ranked Tar Heels again this year due to his blinding pace up front. Dixon had two assists in a preseason win over UNC-Greensboro and scored the opening goal in a 3-1 win against the Carolina RailHawks (USSF Division II) on Monday. UNC hosts top-ranked Akron on Friday and Seton Hall on Sunday in the Carolina Classic this weekend.

Clayton Holz, MF, Stanford (St. John's) Dynamo bio | Stanford bio

A utility man of sorts for the 13th-ranked Cardinal, Holz played as an outside back and as a midfielder in 2009, seeing some time as a starter and some as a substitute. He came off the bench yesterday in Stanford's 2-1 overtime loss at Vermont to open the season. Stanford continues the road trip by facing No. 10 Harvard on Saturday.

Matt Kirby, MF, Denver (Beaumont Msgr. Kelly) Dynamo bio | DU bio

An attacking midfielder, often on the right, Kirby is another who has had to fight for playing time in his college career. He started the opening preseason match against Creighton and will hope to see significant time tomorrow against Cal Poly when the Pioneers open the season with their first official home game after the dedication of CIBER Field. Denver will then host Houston Baptist on Sunday.

Pana Vasquez, FW, SMU (Cy Falls) Dynamo bio | SMU bio

After battling injuries throughout his college career - including a redshirt season that has him one year behind classmates Roberts and Soto - Vasquez stayed healthy for most of 2009 and scored his first collegiate goal. He saw regular playing time in the preseason but did not appear in the Mustangs' Wednesday opener.

Sophomores

Matt Boullt, DF, Tulsa (Fort Bend Clements) Dynamo bio | Tulsa bio

A starter as a freshman for an Elite Eight team last year, Boullt is again expected to be a big part of the Golden Hurricane defense in 2010. Tulsa enters the year ranked seventh nationally and will open its season against Seattle and Lipscomb in the SMU Invitational this weekend. Tulsa and SMU will meet in October in Conference USA play.

Freshmen

Sebastien Ibeagha, DF/MF, Duke (Fort Bend Hightower) Dynamo bio | Duke bio

Perhaps the most physically imposing player in Dynamo Academy history, Ibeagha joined his older brother, senior Christian, at 11th-ranked Duke this year. He has seen time in the preseason and will hope to get on the field this weekend when Duke hosts Louisville on Friday and Sacramento State on Sunday in the Duke Classic.

C.J. Odenigwe, DF, North Carolina (Fort Bend Travis) Dynamo bio | UNC bio

One of the Dynamo Academy products with the most experience, Odenigwe played in all three preseason games for the Tar Heels but could find it tough to crack the lineup as a freshman.

Jonny Torres, MF, Wake Forest (Humble Atascocita) Dynamo bio | Wake bio

A late addition to the Dynamo Academy during his senior season, Torres joins the No. 3 team in the country in the preseason rankings. He played in one of Wake Forest's two preseason games but could be another player stuck behind a talented starting lineup. Wake Forest opens its season against Seton Hall tomorrow in Greensboro, N.C., before hosting No. 1 Akron on Sunday night in Winston-Salem.

Pat Wall, GK, Notre Dame (Strake Jesuit) Dynamo bio | ND bio

Probably the most decorated Dynamo Academy player in its first three-and-a-half years, Wall is one of four goalkeepers on the Notre Dame roster. He shut out IPFW in one half of action in the Irish's final preseason game but is likely to redshirt this season.

Area College Teams

There is just one Division I men's soccer program in the Houston area, at Houston Baptist University. The Huskies, coached by Steve Jones, open their season Friday night on the road against Air Force and continue Sunday afternoon at Denver. HBU does not play a home game at Sorrels Field, where the Dynamo scrimmaged Chicago in the preseason, until September 18, when they host Centenary. The roster includes former Dynamo Academy player Mateo Jimenez (Spring Woods) and some other Houston products in Francisco Diaz (Katy Cinco Ranch), Mark Gendi (Clear Brook), Walter Kromholz (Cy Woods), Leo Munoz (Houston Westside), Kyle Oehring (Cy Woods), and Richard Ojeda (Fort Bend Bush).

San Jacinto Junior College has a strong program at the NJCAA level - ranked ninth nationally in preseason - and kicks off in earnest this weekend at the Apache Invitational in Tyler. The Coyotes' first home game is September 11 against Lon Morris.