In their inaugural preseason poll, the nine men's soccer coaches of the American Athletic Conference have tabbed Connecticut the unanimous favorite with Louisville and USF rounding out the top three. Since coaches couldn't vote for their own team, U of L's lone first place vote came from UConn head coach Ray Reid. I'm sure you would've figured that out on your own. Here are the results of the poll:
2013 American Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. UConn (8) 64
2. Louisville (1) 55
3. USF 49
4. SMU 42
5. Rutgers 33
6. Memphis 28
7. UCF 26
8. Cincinnati 18
9. Temple 9
As for individual honors, three Cardinals were voted onto the preseason All-AAC team: midfielder Marlon Hairston, forward Zack Foxhoven and defender Daniel Keller. No other team in the league had more than two players featured, but UConn did have two unanimous selections. Good for them.
I don't know what to expect from Louisville this year, in some part due to how hard it is to watch the actual games from 1,000 miles away but mostly the roster turnover. Looking at the starting 11 for the Michigan exhibition game this past weekend, I only recognized three or four names from last season, which normally means rebuilding year.
The New England Revolution used their #1 overall MLS draft pick on Andrew Farrell. Graduating seniors Greg Cochrane and Paolo DelPiccolo were also drafted by MLS teams and future MLS Draft pick Dylan Mares transferred to Indiana (ugh). It's a lot to replace but his colleagues expect coach Ken Lolla to reload this year instead of rebuild. That's a massive credit to the consistency Lolla's brought to the program, but also reflects the level of talent he acquired via transfers and high school recruits after so much attrition the last couple seasons.
If you don't follow college soccer, it might be hard to appreciate what Lolla's built at U of L but trust me--a person who doesn't follow college soccer that well--no coach has done more starting with less than Lolla the last five years. And now they're building him a soccer-specific stadium on campus. It's gonna be rad. Tell your friends.