Nearly 40 players with Chicago Fire development ties are set to begin play in the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, kicking off Thursday, Nov. 16, with eyes on advancing to the 2017 College Cup.
This year's semifinals and final will be held December 8 and 10 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. Read more below on which alums of the Chicago Fire Academy, Indiana Fire Academy and PDL squad to keep an eye on throughout the tournament as play begins later this week.
For brackets, broadcast schedules and more information on the 2017 NCAA College Cup, visit NCAA.com.
No. 1 seed Wake Forest
Junior midfielder Brad Dunwell played 20 games for the top-seeded Demon Deacons and assisted four times. They'll take on the winner of Thursday's William & Mary v. Columbia matchup when the second round begins on Nov. 19.
No. 2 seed Indiana
The Hoosiers enter the 2017 postseason loaded with key contributors from Fire development channels, especially along the backline. Defenders Grant Lillard and Andrew Gutman were each named First-Team All-Big Ten selections, and Lillard was additionally named the Big Ten Defender of the Year. Indiana Fire Academy product Thomas Warr picked up two goals and three assists in 17 appearances as a freshman forward. Other squad regulars with Fire ties include junior midfielders Rece Buckmaster and Jeremiah Gutjahr, redshirt freshman Spencer Glass, and freshman goalkeeper Jacob Gruber.
Indiana will square off against the winner of Old Dominion and NC State on Nov. 19.
No. 3 seed North Carolina
North Carolina returns Fire products Cameron Lindley and Mauricio Pineda, who as sophomores remained key players for the Tar Heels in 2017. Lindley was a First-Team All-ACC selection this season, and additionally became the first North Carolina player named ACC Midfielder of the Year since the award's inception in 2014. Pineda picked up two goals and an assist in 18 appearances this season, and was a Third-Team All-ACC pick.
The Tar Heels will open their tournament against the winner of UNCW-Presbyterian on Sunday, Nov. 19.
No. 7 seed Michigan State
Juniors Ryan Sierakowski and Connor Corrigan were among the Spartans most dangerous players in 2017. The forward Sierakowski led the squad with seven goals and added three assists. Corrigan additionally led the team with six assists as a defender. They'll take on either Virginia Tech or Air Force on Sunday, Nov. 19.
No. 11 seed Virginia
Senior defender Bay Kurtz and freshman midfielders Justin Ingram and Brad Kurtz and the 11th-seeded Cavaliers will begin their tournament against either Fordham or St. Francis on Sunday, Nov. 19.
No. 12 seed Notre Dame
Senior forward Jeff Farina scored eight goals and assisted on seven in 19 games for the Fighting Irish in 2017. They'll face either Wisconsin or UIC when their tournament begins on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Senior forward Mark Segbers put away six goals and five assists for a Badgers side this season that also features sophomore midfielder Jack Shaw, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper David Fiflis as well as freshman Fire products Brayden Callipari and David Portugal. They begin play against UIC in the tournament's opening round on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Six Indiana Fire products help makeup this year's Butler squad, that will begin their tournament against Lipscomb on Thursday, Nov. 16. Joel Harvey (Fr.), Bennett Kim (Sr.), and Derek Sutton (So.) each made double-digit appearances for the Bulldogs, as did redshirt senior goalkeeper Eric Dick. Redshirt junior Nolan Schloneger and redshirt sophomore Ryan Clark also saw minutes for Butler this year.
A whopping nine Fire development products bolster the 2017 Horizon League champion Illinois-Chicago Flames. Midfielders Oscar Gonzalez (six goals, five assists) and Jesus Perez (five goals, eight assists) led the Flames attack this season. Junior goalkeeper Sawyer Jackman started 16 times and allowed 0.94 goals per game. Joel Leon, Cristian Sanchez, Nestor Garcia, Jacob Graiber, and Lyes Ghezali each made double digit appearances for UIC as well. Defender Mike Jimenez was a back on this year's side.
They'll kick off against Wisconsin in the opening round on Thursday, Nov. 16.