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College Cup: Who ya got?

07 December 10:16 am

College Cup: Who ya got?

By Kurt Austin

The NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Tournament reaches its final stage this weekend as the 2012 College Cup kicks off tonight with the semifinal matches at Regions Park in Hoover, Alabama. Sporting Kansas City assistant coach John Pascarella will be in attendance with an eye on some of the top talent at the collegiate level. Pascarella, who began his coaching career at Maryland in 2000 with current head coach Sasho Cirovski, is among several Sporting KC players and staff with a rooting interest in the top four team's in this year's tournament:

Georgetown vs. Maryland, 4pm on ESPNU
Indiana vs. Creighton, 6:30pm on ESPNU

Sporting KC head fitness coach Mateus Manoel studied Kinesiology and Exercise Science at Maryland from 2000-2003 before going on to work for both the U.S. and Mexico men's national teams. And then there's 2012 MLS MVP finalist Graham Zusi (shown on right), a two-time national champion for the Terps and 2008 alum.

On the opposite side of the bracket, Sporting KC forward Jacob Peterson also boasts a resume with two NCAA championships while starring for Indiana. He led the Hoosiers to back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004, scoring goals in the final both years.

Indiana's opponent will feature Sporting KC Academy alums Eric DeJulio and Chris Tuso, who joined a Creighton program that returns to the College Cup after falling on penalty kicks in the semifinals last season. Cheering for the Bluejays will be Sporting KC defender Seth Sinovic, who helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons from 2005 to 2008 and scored the game-winning goals in both the second and third round of the tourney during his junior season.

Fans can tune into ESPNU for this evening's doubleheader. After all, you just might be watching the next Sporting KC star. Looking over the club's current roster, the team had a player appear in the College Cup in eight of the last nine years.

2010: Soony Saad (Michigan)
2009: Teal Bunbury (Akron)
2008: Graham Zusi (Maryland)
2007: Roger Espinoza (Ohio State)
2006: Chance Myers (UCLA)
2005: Graham Zusi (Maryland)
2004: Jacob Peterson (Indiana)
2003: Jacob Peterson (Indiana)

Major League Soccer announced yesterday that the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, will take place at 11 a.m. CT on Thursday, January 17. The top college players will be available in the two-round draft, which -- after being held in Kansas City in 2012 -- will be held in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Sporting KC currently holds the 14th (first round) and 33rd (second round) overall selections.

The 2013 MLS Player Combine will take place at Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from January 11-15 with four combine squads in action on three different matchdays.