Notebook: U-23s making headlines as NCAA season approaches
As college soccer preseason camps wrap up under the hot summer sun, members of the 2012 Timbers U-23s and their respective college teams are garnering attention as the NCAA season nears.
Forward Mark Sherrod, entering his junior season at the University of Memphis, has caught attention of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was placed on the 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. Last season, Sherrod was a finalist for the 2011 Hermann Trophy after assembling an All-American season for the Tigers.
The MAC Herman Trophy is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer, comparable to football’s Heisman trophy, presented annually in January during a banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo.
With the season quickly approaching for many teams around the country, coaches have cast their votes for the various conference preseason polls.
In the West Coast Conference, coaches have picked U-23s-led teams to finish among the best in the conference. Santa Clara University, featuring forward Erik Hurtado, is projected to finish second, while the University of Portland, featuring four Timbers U-23s, is picked third.
Not only were three Timbers U-23s selected to the Preseason All-WCC Team, but all three are native Oregonians. Projected to be among the top players in the conference this fall are Hurtado (Beaverton), Pilots midfielder Steven Evans (Troutdale) and Gonzaga forward Clark Phillips (Portland).
Evans was recently profiled by the University of Portland in its new athletics campaign.
Timbers U-23s players peppered the Conference-USA preseason listings as well. Sherrod was voted as the conferences’ Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and is joined by defenders Anthony Hobbs (Florida International University) and Reed Matte (University of Alabama-Birmingham) on the Preseason All-C-USA Team.
Earlier this week, Sherrod earned additional preseason honors as he was named an College Soccer News 2012 Preseason and College Sports Madness Men’s Soccer 2012 Preseason All-American.
Led by Timbers U-23s standouts Andrew Ribeiro and Eric Miller, Creighton University was picked as the favorite in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2012. Both Miller and Ribeiro also made the MVC All-Conference Preseason Team and will look to lead Creighton back to an NCAA tournament appearance this season.
Heading into the 2012 NCAA season, Creighton was picked No. 3 in the NCAA preseason Top 25. Meanwhile, another Timbers U-23s player, defender Brock Granger, enters his senior season at the University of Louisville this fall with his Cardinals ranked in the Top 10 at No. 7.
There will be a number of Timbers U-23s players going head-to-head this fall during the NCAA season. Here is a list of local matchups this fall – mark your calendars.
Saturday, Sept. 15
Gonzaga (Nick Hamer, Clark Phillips) at Oregon State (Chris Harms, Roberto Farfan, Will Seymore, Emery Welshman) – 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 26
Gonzaga at Portland (Justin Baarts, Richie Carrillo, Steven Evans, Marc Tonkel) – 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 12
Santa Clara (Erik Hurtado) at Portland – 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 28
San Diego State (Evyn Hewett) at Oregon State – 2 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 2
Loyola Marymount (John McFarlin) at Portland – 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 9
Washington (Spencer Richey) at Oregon State – 2 p.m.