I don't claim to be much of an expert on college soccer. In fact, I only really became interested in the College Cup to learn more about Caleb Porter to see if he would be a good fit with DC United. But after watching most of Akron's Semi-final win over North Carolina and their loss to Virginia in the Final, a few individuals left me particularly impressed.
Here's who I'm expecting to see at the next level:
A lot has been made in the media about Diego Restrepo and his 1,176 minute scoreless streak, which is obviously very impressive. But I've got to think a lot of the credit for that streak should also go to Virginia's outstanding backs Shawn Barry and Mike Volk. Thanks to these two, Restrepo wasn't tested all that much by Akron. Barry's hustle on one play stopped a sure scoring opportunity from Bunbury.
In UVA's midfield, its #10 Jonathan Villanueva that gets the most attention for his excellent service, but it was Neil Barlow who stood out the most to me. Barlow's constant energy and aggressive nature showed on both sides of the field. Hopefully Neil will make more of an impact in MLS in the future than his older brother Jeremy did.
I had a harder time singling out as many players on the runner-up Zips. Obviously the MAC player of the year Teal Bunbury would be a good candidate to play professionally. He looked like the most likely Akron player to score, if not for UVA's defensive strength. Also, aside from the unfortunate missed penalty, Blair Gavin was very impressive. The leader of Akron's midfield really came alive when Ampaipitakwong went down, and was making plays all over the field.
And as for Coach Caleb Porter, he will certainly have plenty of new opportunities presented to him, whether in the MLS, for the national team, or with a more prestigious university. If DC United does happen to be his next stop, as has been rumored, Porter won't have to change too much about the style of play that he preaches. Scoring 0 goals in Cary doesn't exactly leave United fans salivating, but an organized defense that didn't concede a goal sure sounds mighty appealing.