College Soccer Preview: Eight seniors to watch in 2011

The opening of the men’s college soccer season on Friday gives fans the first chance to get a glimpse of some of the players who could be suiting up in MLS next year.

Here’s a look at eight seniors who will be in the mix during next January’s SuperDraft:

Ethan Finlay (F), Creighton

One of the top seniors in this year’s class, a minor injury has limited Finlay during the preseason. An out-and-out goalscorer with good pace, with another strong season the Wisconsin native is going to be a hot commodity in January.

Austin Berry (D), Louisville

A commanding physical presence on the back line, Berry is a central defender who looks like he could be very capable in MLS. Has the size and athleticism to provide a danger on set pieces as well.

Tony Cascio (M/F), Connecticut

Fresh off a strong season a year ago (10 goals and six assists), Cascio will look to lead the Huskies to postseason success in the final year. A product of Real Salt Lake’s Arizona Academy, Cascio is eligible to be a Home Grown signing.

Luke Holmes (M), Akron

A transfer from NAIA program Notre Dame College, Holmes will get an abbreviated year to showcase his skills under Caleb Porter in Akron. The native of Oldham, England, is a creative attacking midfielder who scored goals in bunches at the lower level of college.

Colin Rolfe (F), Louisville

The prolific striker (pictured above) took a step forward his junior season, refining his game to become a more all-around player. With good size and decent speed, a strong senior season could push him into SuperDraft first-round consideration next year.

Matt Hedges (D), North Carolina

Hedges enjoyed a breakout season last fall at Butler, and took advantage of thinning ranks to make the step up to UNC for the fall season. He has good size (6-foot-4, 185 pounds) and the tools to make an impact in MLS next year.

Eder Arreola (M/F), UCLA

The versatile attacker played his way onto the US Under-20 qualifying team earlier this year. He scored four goals and had seven assists last year, and had a trial this summer with clubs in Mexico — a possible destination after his senior year.

Brian Ownby (F), Virginia

A former US Under-20 international who scored at the U-20 World Cup in 2009, Ownby has battled through two injury-plagued seasons since. He’ll look to put those problems behind him and showcase his goal scoring and speed this fall.

Future prospects: Dillon Powers (M), Notre Dame; Kelyn Rowe (M), UCLA;  Darren Mattocks (F), Akron; Andrew Wenger (F), Duke; Will Bates (F), Virginia; Sam Garza (F), UC Santa Barbara.