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Dec
07

Are you watching closely?

I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of the college soccer landscape is limited.

With the majority of my time devoted to covering the professional game, particularly our beloved Revs, I rarely have time to keep up with which college teams are topping the polls and at the present time I probably couldn’t pick the top college prospects out of a lineup. I’ll spare you the uninformed piece about which players to keep an eye on during the NCAA College Cup this weekend because the fact is that I haven’t seen most of these players kick a ball. Essentially, I’d be faking it.

Luckily for me – and for fans starved for information ahead of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, which is now just five weeks away – there are those who devote countless hours to following college soccer. One such devotee is MLSsoccer.com’s Travis Clark, who put together a comprehensive list of the top 25 college seniors and 10 potential Generation adidas candidates. You can find that feature here, and I’d suggest you start reading to familiarize yourself with the names which could be called when the Revolution makes the third overall pick on Jan. 12.

Ten of the 35 players listed will be in action at this weekend’s College Cup, featuring semifinal matches between Creighton and UNC-Charlotte (Friday, Dec. 9, 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU), and UCLA and North Carolina (Friday, Dec. 9, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU). The winners will face off in the 2011 NCAA College Cup Final on Sunday, Dec. 11, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

While I haven’t watched more than a few minutes of college soccer thus far in 2011, I’ll certainly be tuning in this weekend and Revolution fans might want to do the same. With the third overall pick in the upcoming SuperDraft, there’s a chance future Revolution players will be on the field in Hoover, Ala., on Friday and Sunday.

I know some fans have mixed viewpoints on the types of players the draft produces, but it’s been years since the Revs had a draft pick as high as number three. In fact, the last time New England was on the clock so early on draft day, the club selected a guy by the name of Taylor Twellman with the second overall pick in 2002. That seemed to work out for everybody.

For reference, recent third overall selections have included Perry Kitchen (D.C. United, 2011), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes, 2010) and Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy, 2009). Most teams would take any of those players in a heartbeat. Oh, and the Revolution’s selection of A.J. Soares with the sixth overall pick last year was pretty decent, as well.

Before people get too wound up, I’m not saying the draft is the only way to acquire proven talent in the offseason. I’m not even saying it’s the best way to acquire proven talent in the offseason. If it was, Michael Burns and Jay Heaps wouldn’t be scouring the earth for international signings right now.

All I’m saying is this: the Revs could pick up some quality players in the SuperDraft, especially with the third overall pick. And those players could be playing in the College Cup this weekend. So read Travis Clark’s piece and watch.

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