Scoring immense goal totals in the college ranks does not always equate to professional success. That is one reason why Travis Clark and J.R. Eskilson from TopDrawerSoccer.com call forward the most unpredictable position in the MLS SuperDraft.
Even sure things can sometimes struggle to convert at the MLS level, but it’s hard to resist the allure of high-scoring forwards. This year, there is a special one, too, in Maryland senior Patrick Mullins.
Only five times in the 47-year history of the MAC Hermann Trophy has a player managed to win the honor for the top collegiate soccer player more than once. That list includes one-time NASL Sounder Al Trost, Mike Seerey, Ken Snow, Mike Fisher and, now, Mullins, who is at the head of the 2014 draft class of forwards.
“Mullins sees the game well and usually makes the right decisions and that’s helped him score a ton of goals,” Eskilson said.
Mullins had a chance to come out of college after his junior season at Maryland when he won the Hermann Trophy after notching 17 goals and 10 assists in 24 matches in the highly-competitive ACC. He opted instead to stay for his senior season and did not disappoint, repeating as the top collegiate soccer player with 19 goals and 8 assists in 26 matches.
His teammate with the Terrapins, Schillo Tshuma, signed a Generation adidas contract after his sophomore season after showing flashes of brilliance in his two seasons at Maryland. While plenty talented, it will be his ability to corral those abilities that will make or break the 21-year-old from Zimbabwe.
“He has the tools and intangibles, but he has to be able to put it all together and make it work and find a way to be consistent in order to be a great professional,” said Clark.
The two Maryland forwards are indicative of the players available at the forward position. There are those who have shown a vast ability to score goals at the college level and others who have raw talent, but could not find the consistency to ensure they will succeed at the next level.
Georgetown’s Steve Neumann showed consistency in scoring 10 or more goals in each of his four seasons, even when he was used almost exclusively off the bench as a freshman. Mackenzie Pridham came on strong in his final two seasons at Cal Poly, as did Pete Caringi at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. With Pridham and Caringi, the competition level of the lesser-known schools draw questions.
But then, that’s the nature of the SuperDraft.
Sounders FC holds four picks in Thursday’s SuperDraft – 13, 21, 55 and 77.
Players to watch
Reinaldo Brenes, Akron, 61 games, 20 goals, 9 assists.
Pete Carinigi, UMBC, 79 games, 37 goals, 17 assists.
Patrick Mullins, Maryland, 92 games, 47 goals, 25 assists.
Steve Neumann, Georgetown, 86 games, 41 goals, 34 assists.
Mackenzie Pridham, Cal Poly, 70 games, 27 goals, 4 assists.
Mark Sherrod, Memphis, 71 games, 42 goals, 12 assists.
Schillo Tshuma, Maryland, 49 games, 16 goals, 3 assists.
Follow @travismclark and @jreskilson on Twitter for great college soccer coverage.