The 2021 men's college soccer season officially begins in just over one week. Many ranked teams are participating in exhibition games and scrimmages before the official start date of Thursday, Aug. 26. With all of the talent in the preseason top 25, we decided to take a look at five of the many players to keep an eye on this season.
Vitor Dias, Marshall University — Senior, Midfielder
Although Marshall was able to fly under the radar for most of last season, the secret is out. The Thundering Herd will be competitive once again this season, largely because they will return senior Vitor Dias. Dias is the first player in Marshall history to be named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, First Team All-American and the Conference USA Male Athlete of the Year. Dias has already made history at Marshall by being part of the first-ever team to win a national championship, but he will look to further his legacy by breaking even more records in his senior season.
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Victor Bezerra, Indiana University — Junior, Forward
Bezerra is coming off of an impressive spring season where he was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and finished the season with 12 goals, 4 assists and 28 total points. Bezerra was also a Mac Hermann Trophy finalist, and led the Hoosiers in nearly every offensive category. After an overtime loss to Marshall in the national championship, Bezerra will have everything to play for while leading the charge to bring Indiana its first national title in the sport since 2012.
Valentin Noel, Pittsburgh — Junior, Midfielder
After setting a school record for consecutive games played with a goal during the 2020-21 season, Noel solidified his reputation as one of not only Pitt's biggest offensive threats, but one of the biggest offensive threats in the nation. Noel finished second in the country for total goals scored last season, as well as third for total points earned. Noel was a MAC Hermann Trophy finalist, first team All-American, and the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. The Panthers will once again rely on Noel to be a catalyst to their success this season.
PRESEASON RANKINGS: View the full top 25
Dante Polvara, Georgetown — Junior, Midfielder
Heading into the 2021 season, it is no surprise that Dante Polvara is a preseason all Big East selection. Polvara was named a First Team All America and First Team all Big East midfielder last season after an incredible offensive performance. Polvara led the league in total points and total goals, with 18 points in 12 matches and eight goals total. After falling just short of a berth last season, Polvara will look to lead the Hoyas back to the College Cup.
Kyle Hiebert, Missouri State — RS Senior, Defender
Hiebert has been named the United Soccer Coaches National Scholar Player of the Year, a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, and is a two time All America selection. Hiebert started all 14 matches for Missouri State during the 2021 season, extending his overall streak to 68 consecutive starts in the Bears backline. Hiebert was a key factor in leading Missouri State to its first third-round NCAA tournament appearance, and will be on a quest to rewrite even more history for the Bears this fall.