Grand Prairie - The NCAA College Cup has returned and the stage is set for 2018 NCAA Division I men’s soccer championship tournament. The tournament will see 18 Texas United players, with many winning their respective conference titles. By the end of the regular season, Texas United player brought home six different NCAA Division I conference championships.
Texas United Head Coach Arez Ardalani has followed every Texas United player’s college season in 2018. “The guys have really shown a lot of energy and mental strength to keep up with the speed of the game. To me, it’s very important that a college player has a summer (League 2) and Fall (NCAA/NAIA) season to have a complete professional calendar. It’s great to see our players performing so strong this far into their college season because it’s basically their 30th game of the year. This is essential to develop into a proper professional player,” Ardalani said.
At the conclusion of the college regular season, 48 of the highest performing teams quality for the tournament. The 24 division one conference winners are granted automatic admission into the tournament. From there, the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee selects the remaining teams. The following players are the ones who won an NCAA Division I conference title and/or will be play in the NCAA College Cup.
Grand Canyon University - Alejandro Radilla
Grand Canyon University won their first Western Athletic Conference championship for men’s soccer this season in an exciting 1-0 win over San Jose State with Radilla scoring the lone goal. Radilla has been instrumental to GCU this season where he made the WAC All-Tournament Team. This is the first time GCU will be participating in the NCAA College Cup and they will face UC Irvine in the first round.
Furman University- Ben Hale
Sophomore Ben Hale not only started every game for Furman University as a sophomore and freshman, but also managed to win the 2018 SoCon Championship this week. Not only did he accomplish this, but he has also been named the 2018 SoCon Goalkeeper of the Year. This year’s NCAA College Cup will be Hales’ debut for the tournament where he will face Texas United teammates David Lozano and Steven Pate in the first round.
Southern Methodist University- Caleb Smith, Dominick Hernandez, Luke Thompson, Noah Hilt & Patrick Hillyard
For the second year in a row SMU won the 2018 American Athletic Conference Championship with three out of five Texas United players playing in the championship game. SMU will open the College Cup with a trip to Oregon State University.
Campbell University- Alex Egeonu, Humberto Chavez & Matt Karasinski
Campbell beat defending champions Presbyterian College to be named the 2018 Big South Champions. Alex Egeonu has played every game while Humerto Chavez has also managed to find regular playing time for the school. Campbell Will face NC State for the opening round of the College Cup.
Lipscomb University- Javier Leija
After spending the 2018 PDL season with Texas United on the injury list where he managed to earn time in just the final two matches of the season, Javier Leija has made a strong comeback for Lipscomb University by playing in a total of 10 games and winning the 2018 ASUN Conference Championship. In the first round of the tournament, Lipscomb will face the University of Washington.
University of North Carolina- Giovanni Montesdeoca & Matthew Constant
UNC made the Atlantic Coast Conference national finals where they fell to Louisville 1-0. Giovanni Montesdeoca had an outstanding season starting in all of UNC’s games. During the course of the regular season, Montesdeoca found the back of the net seven times while assisting four others. He was also named a 2018 Top College Prospect by the league. Constant and Montesdeoca will face the winner of High Point University and James Madison University in the second round.
UCLA- Brandon Terwege
Being named a 2018 Top College Prospect, Brandon Terwege started every game as a center-back for UCLA, where he also managed to score two goals, which is his personal record for the defender. He will lead UCLA into their opening round against University of Portland.
UNC-Wilmington- David Lozano & Steven Pate
David Lozano has had an outstanding senior season where he set his college personal best with three goals and three assists while starting every game of the regular season. Steven Pate transferred into UNC-Wilmington this year and has been recovering from an injury. They will both face Furman University and Ben Hale for the NCAA College Cup opening match.
University of the Pacific- Cooper Riley
Cooper Riley entered his freshman season fully energized playing every game for the program and scoring two goals as a defender. He and his team will face UC Riverside in the opening round of the NCAA College Cup.
University of Central Arkansas - Moiad Ankir
After finishing his development academy season, Ankir came to train with Texas United for the rest of the 2018 League 2 season. His freshman season has been exceptional, where little by little he has earned playing time with Central Arkansas in every game. The team managed to win the Missouri Valley Conference and will face Air Force Academy in the first round of the NCAA College Cup.