27 players with ties to Chicago Fire development pathways will kickoff play in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship this week, which begins Thursday, Nov. 15.
The 2018 College Cup will be held Dec. 7 and 9 at Harder Stadium at the University of California, Santa Barbara. ESPNU will provide live coverage of the semifinals and national championship game.
Alums of the Chicago Fire Academy, Indiana Fire Academy and Fire Juniors network made waves across the country on the collegiate level in 2018. No. 2 overall seed Indiana boasts a stable of eight Fire development products, headlined by Big 10 Defender of the Year Andrew Gutman. Gutman scored 10 goals and added seven assists in his senior season, and -- alongside senior Rece Buckmaster (Second-Team All-Big Ten) and redshirt sophomore Spencer Glass (four goals, eight assists) -- will now look to help the Hoosiers overcome the winner of UConn and Rhode Island when they begin play on Sunday, Nov. 18.
The largest Fire presence in the tournament belongs to Horizon League champions UIC, who carry 11 development alums into postseason play. Junior Jesus Perez was recently named the Horizon League Player of Year after racking up three goals and 12 assists from the midfield, and leads a hefty core of Fire alums including senior midfielder Oscar Gonzalez (five goals, nine assists) and senior goalkeeper Sawyer Jackman (12-5-2, six shutouts) that combined to feature 148 times for the Flames in 2018. They'll begin their tournament on Thursday, Nov. 15 against against Michigan State.
Other Fire alums who picked up hardware for outstanding regular season play include North Carolina junior midfielder Mauricio Pineda (First-Team All-ACC), who will await the winner of High Point and James Madison for a matchup on Sunday, Nov. 18, as well as Michigan State senior forward Ryan Sierakowski, who scored five goals and added four assists en route to Second-Team All-Big 10 honors.
Keep an eye on each player throughout the tournament with the full list below. For the complete tournament bracket, broadcast schedules and more information on the 2018 NCAA College Cup, visit NCAA.com.
|Wake Forest (No. 1 Seed)||Brad Dunwell||MF||SR|
|Indiana (No. 2 seed)||Andrew Gutman||D||SR|
|Jordan Kleyn||D||RS JR|
|Spencer Glass||D||RS SO|
|Jacob Gruber||GK||RS FR|
|North Carolina (No. 5 seed)||Mauricio Pineda||D/M||JR|
|Stanford (No. 9 seed)||Kyle Orciuch||GK||FR|
|Virginia (No. 10 seed)||Justin Ingram||MF||SO|
|Brad Kurtz||MF||RS FR|
|Michigan St. (unseeded)||Ryan Sierakowski||F||SR|
|UIC (unseeded)||Oscar Gonzalez||MF||SR|
|Mike Jimenez||D||RS JR|
|Jordan Moore||D||RS JR|
|Jacob Graiber||D||RS SO|