College Players to Watch in 2015: Freshmen
The start of the College Season this Friday will mark the debut of a number of freshmen competing on the collegiate level for the first time. Here are some freshmen whose reputation already precedes them.
Derrick Etienne, Midfielder, Virginia
The New York Red Bulls Academy player had a successful run playing in for the NYRB II team in the USL so he should enter his first year in college with a leg up on other first-year players. He appeared in 14 games, started 10, scored 3 goals and had 3 assists in his time there as an amateur player.
Francis Athuahene, Forward, Michigan
A Ghana native who came to the U.S. via the Right to Dream Academy, big things are expected from Athuahene, who had offers from many other top programs.
Eryk Williamson, Forward, Maryland
Williamson (pictured above) scored 22 goals for the DC United Academy in Development Academy play last season en route to being named player of the year in the East. He joins a talented freshmen core at Maryland this season that has the Terps once again favorites to win the Big 10.
Amir Bashti, Midfielder, Stanford
A regular in the U.S. youth national team pool, the San Jose Earthquakes Academy product was named to the Best XI in the Development Academy in the West last season.
Jonathan Klinsmann, Goalkeeper, California
Jonathan gets a lot of attention because of who his dad is (Jurgen Klinsmann), but he’s considered one of the top goalkeeping prospects in his age group.
Geoffrey Acheampong, Forward, UC Santa Barbara
Acheampong comes to UC Santa Barbara already YouTube famous for this goal from way out.
Justin Vom Steeg, Goalkeeper, UC Santa Barbara
Another coach’s son who will play in a top program in the West this season, Vom Steeg is part of a recruiting class that could put his dad’s team back in the national conversation for more than just the attendance to their games with Cal Poly.
Jack Harrison, Midfielder, Wake Forest
Harrison was the 2015 Gatorade National Boy’s Soccer Player of the Year so the Bolton, England native has pretty lofty expectations entering his first season.
Sebastian Elney, Forward, Maryland
If there was a power forward position in soccer, Elney would play it. A tough-nosed forward who gives defenders fits, Elney will combine with Eryk Williamson to create one of the most potent one-two scoring punches in the nation this year.
Jose Hernandez, Midfielder, UCLA
The Real Salt Lake Academy product was the U-17/U-18 player of the year in the West for the Development Academy.
Juan Sanchez, Forward, Tulsa
He was named to the U-17/18 Starting XI in the East for the Development Academy this season for his play with the New York Red Bulls. He’s one of 15 freshman on the roster for a very young Tulsa team this year so he should get a chance to show what he can do in his first season.
Sam Brotherton, Defender, Wisconsin
Brotherton spent the summer playing with the U-20 World Cup hosts New Zealand and enters his first season in Madison riding high from that experience.
Willie Maddox, Defender, Oakland
Maddox caught my attention in a recent preseason game with Louisville where he led a defense that shut down one of the top teams in the ACC.
Sean Wilson, Midfielder, North Carolina
Wilson is the type of player who does all of the dirty work people don’t always notice on the soccer pitch. Look for him to be the unsung hero cleaning up in front of the back line in Chapel Hill this season.
Jorge Calix, Midfielder, Maryland
Calix is a crafty midfielder with excellent ball skills and incredible vision. An absolute pleasure to watch with DC United Academy last season, he joins a Maryland team with a talented young core of players.
Jermiah Gutjarh, Defender/Midfielder, Indiana
The Indiana Fire Academy product made the U-17/18 Starting XI in the Midwest for the Development Academy this season.
Jackson Yueill, Midfielder, UCLA
The Bloomington, Minnesota native is a regular starter with the U.S. Under-18 team.
Nash Papovic, Forward, St. Louis
The Serbian-born Vardar Academy product is a goal-scoring machine, netting 27 goals this past season in U.S. Development Academy play.
Edward Opoku, Forward, Virginia
A Right to Dream Academy product from Ghana, Opoku set a Millbrook School record with 85 goals in high school.
Andreas Jenssen, Midfielder, Syracuse
Syracuse lost its star player from Norwegian after two seasons to Stabaeck and picked up a Stabaeck youth player in Jenssen. He’s shown in the preseason already that he’s going to be a good addition to a team that has a lot of spots to fill from offseason departures.