Notebook: Brenes, Sherrod highlight preseason awards as Timbers U-23s return to NCAA play
After reaching the Western Conference finals in a notable 2013 Premier Development League (PDL) campaign, Portland Timbers U-23s players hope to bring similar success to their respective collegiate squads as the 2013 NCAA men’s soccer season begins.
Forwards Reinaldo Brenes and Mark Sherrod, entering their senior seasons at University of Akron and University of Memphis, respectively, highlight the list of preseason honors as both were named to the 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. For Sherrod, it is his third straight inclusion on the watch list.
The MAC Hermann Trophy is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer, and is presented annually in January during a banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Missouri.
Both Sherrod and Brenes are also featured as candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. This award is presented annually to the athlete who excels both on the field and off, through four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
The two also lead a group of four Timbers U-23s players on the College Soccer News Preseason All-America Teams, with Brenes earning a spot on the first team. Sherrod, along with defenders Bryan Gallego (Akron) and Eric Miller (Creighton), were named to the second team.
TopDrawerSoccer.com released its Preseason Best XI and annual preseason player rankings, with multiple Timbers U-23s players included. Gallego was the highest-ranked Timbers U-23s player at No. 7 on the Men’s National Top 100 Preseason Player Rankings, with Brenes (No. 15), Sherrod (No. 16), Miller (No. 18) and midfielder Zach Barnes (No. 77) also making the list.
Both Gallego and Brenes were selected to TopDrawerSoccer.com Preseason Best XI teams.
In preseason conference polls released leading up to the NCAA Division I season openers, the Timbers U-23s are well represented on several preseason all-conference teams.
Head coaches of West Coast Conference picked the Santa Clara Broncos, featuring Timbers U-23s defender Mark Daus, to win the conference title in 2013; Daus landed a spot on the Preseason All-WCC Team. Loyola Marymount, captained by Timbers U-23s players John McFarlin and Craig Nitti, are projected to finish third.
Representatives of the Big West picked midfielder Reed McKenna’s UC Santa Barbara to win the conference’s North Division.
Creighton, with Timbers U-23s players Barnes, Miller and midfielder Jose Ribas, enters its first season in the BIG EAST and was picked to finish second. Miller was named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.
The American Athletic Conference also released its preseason poll, with two Timbers U-23 players landing on the conference’s preseason first team – Sherrod and forward Zack Foxhoven (Louisville). Louisville, which also features Timbers U-23s players Will Vitalis and Mitch Lurie, was predicted to finish second in the conference behind a tough Connecticut squad.
Picked to finish first in the Mid-American Conference, Akron features four Timbers U-23s players on its 2013 roster – Brenes, Gallego, defender Saad Abdul-Salaam and midfielder Victor Souto. MLSsoccer.com picked the Zips as one of its Top 10 contenders for the College Cup and coined Brenes as the team’s key player this season.
A number of college teams, with Timbers U-23s players on their rosters, dot the NSCAA preseason national rankings: No. 4 – North Carolina (midfielder Alex Walters); No. 6 – Creighton (Barnes, Miller, Ribas); No. 8 – Akron (Abdul-Salaam, Brenes, Gallego, Souto); and No. 10 – Louisville (Foxhoven, Lurie, Vitalis). Both UC Santa Barbara (McKenna) and Kentucky (midfielder Gabriel Conelian) also received votes.
Many Timbers U-23 players will be competing in the NCAA against each other this fall. Here are some notable upcoming matchups as well as games on TV:
Friday, Sept. 6
Gonzaga (Clark Phillips) at UC Santa Barbara (Reed McKenna) – 7:30 p.m. (PT)
Sunday, Sept. 8
North Carolina (Alex Walters) at Notre Dame – 12 p.m. (ESPNU) (PT)
Sunday Sept. 15
San Diego State (Evyn Hewett, Blake Hylen) at Akron (Saad Abdul-Salaam, Reinaldo Brenes, Bryan Gallego, Victor Souto) – 11:30 a.m. (PT)
Thursday, Sept. 19
Oregon State (Will Seymore, Khiry Shelton) at Portland (Michael Escobar, Jaime Velasco) – 6 p.m. (PT)
Sunday, Sept. 22
San Jose State at Oregon State – 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Network) (PT)
Sunday, Sept. 29
Loyola Marymount (Paul Blanchette, John McFarlin, Craig Nitti) at UC Santa Barbara – 5 p.m. (PT)