As college students around the country return to campus this fall, collegiate athletics are now back in full swing. The NCAA soccer season kicked off this past weekend with teams throughout the country battling to win a national championship. While soccer in the college ranks is often criticized, it remains an important pipeline for future MLS and national team players. Here are five former United States youth internationals to keep an eye on during this college season.
James “JT” Marcinkowski (Junior, Goalkeeper) - Georgetown Hoyas
James Marcinkowski is one of the best goalkeepers in college soccer and captains a Georgetown side looking to return to its former glory. Marcinkowski has been a member of the U.S. U-14 through U-20 national teams. He captained Georgetown during the 2016 season, appearing in 15 matches. Marcinkowski had a 1.23 GAA despite the Hoyas’s 6-9-2 record. He trained with Eintracht Frankfurt this past spring and served as a backup goalkeeper for the U.S. during the 2017 U-20 World Cup.
Before College: Marcinkwoski was a member of the San Jose Earthquakes Academy during high school.
Aaron Herrera (Junior, Defender) - New Mexico Lobos
Aaron Herrera is a talented defender who started all of the group stage matches for the United States in the 2017 U-20 World Cup. In 2016, he started all of New Mexico’s matches, leading the team to a 12-7-3 record. Herrera recorded 2 goals and 2 assists. New Mexico lost 4-1 to the University of Washington Huskies in the second round of the NCAA tournament. UNM opens the season ranked #20 in the United Soccer Coaches’s Poll.
Before College: He spent three years with the Real Salt Lake Academy during high school and trained with the U.S. U-18 National Team.
Kevin Politz (Senior, Defender) - Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Kevin Politz started all 25 games for Wake Forest in 2016, helping the team record an incredible 0.46 GAA. Wake suffered a tough penalty shootout loss to the Stanford Cardinal in the 2016 NCAA National Championship. The Demon Deacons are #2 in the United Soccer Coaches’s Poll. Politz is an excellent tackler and very good in the air. He will likely be one of the first defenders selected in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
Before College: Politz was a member of the U.S. U-17 Residency program and featured for the New York Red Bulls Academy.
Eryk Williamson (Junior, Midfielder) - Maryland Terrapins
Eryk Williamson may have put up modest numbers during the 2016 season (3 goals and 5 assists), but he has incredible potential. Williamson was one of three college players to make the U.S. roster for the 2017 U-20 World Cup. He started four of the U.S.’s five matches and recorded one assist. In the spring during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Final, he scored an amazing goal. If Williamson refines his game, he can be one of the best offensive threats in college soccer. The Terps are #6 in the United Soccer Coaches’s Poll.
Before College: Williamson was a member of the D.C. United Academy U-18 squad.
Cameron Lindley (Sophomore, Midfielder) - University of North Carolina Tar Heels
Cameron Lindley is only a sophomore, but might be the best playmaker in college soccer. As a freshmen, Lindley started all 21 of UNC’s games and had 7 assists. He needs to improve on his finishing (0 goals in 2016), but was recently named to the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. Lindley will be a key player for a UNC side that is ranked #4 in the United Soccer Coaches’s Poll. He has featured for the U.S. U-14 through U-20 National teams, but did not make the roster for the 2017 U-20 World Cup.
Before College: In 2015, he won the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Championship with the Chicago Fire’s U-18 side.
Which U.S. youth internationals will you follow during the 2017 NCAA season?