This is my third annual NCAA Division 1 All-Canadian team. Over the past couple of years forwards, most notably Cyle Larin, and center backs, including Skylar Thomas, were the most prominent players on the list. However, in 2015 the most notable players are wingers and keepers, and to create an even more Canadian team, in traditional Benito Floro fashion I'm picking a 4-1-4-1 formation this year.
GK: Callum Iriving, Kentucky
Iriving was also named ProspectXI's top NCAA Division 1 keeper and he proved that throughout the 2016 season with an incredible 0.66 Goals Against Average and a .809 Save Percentage. He was also involved in 10 shutouts during the season in 19 games. Iriving, who previously was called in the Canadian U-18 National Team, has played with both the Whitecaps PDL side and one season in the USSDA with the Whitecaps U-18 side before joining the Wildcats. It has recently been confirmed that Irving will not be a Whitecaps homegrown player and he will certainly enter the MLS Draft as the top rated keeper. In four seasons with Kentucky, Irving played in 58 games and was all selected to the All-America first team.
FB: Alex Comsia, North Carolina
From the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program, the North Vancouver native at one point looked to be taking his chances in Europe playing with RC Strasbourg Academy team in France. Although after playing with Canada's Pan American team this summer, chose to attend North Carolina University. North Carolina have one of the strongest NCAA programs and Comsia quickly fit in playing in 18 games during his first NCAA season spending time in central defense as well as a full-back. The Tar Heals will be losing many players to graduation, so expect Comsia to have a more significant role next season.
CB: Kamal Miller, Syracuse
Another first year player who established himself on a strong program in Syracuse. Syracuse made it to the NCAA Final Four with Miller earning key minutes and playing in 25 games. The Orangemen outscored thier opponents 46-22 with Miller scoring three goals himself. The Pickering native played with Ajax FC as a youth and also at Mother Theresa High School. At 6'0/185, Miller looks to be a dominant central defender who could play a key role with Canada in the future.
CB: Alain Sargeant, George Mason
Still only a sophomore, Sargeant is a very experienced player including playing PDL soccer with K-W United and Toronto FC Academy. The Toronto native also played in the Canadian Soccer League and was a member of the St Kitts & Nevis U-20 team in 2012. A technically gifted player who has been mostly used as a ball playing central defender, which is different than most defenders developed in Canada. Alain has been a regular starter in his first two seasons at George Mason and after college will look to play as a professional. He could be signed by Toronto FC as a homegrown player, but based on proximity could be on the radar of clubs such as DC United or Philadelphia.
FB: Kevon Black, Duke
Coming from the football hotbed of Brampton Ontario, Kevon has played with the Toronto FC Academy since 2012 and played on their League One Ontario Championship team in 2014. Black has also represented Canada on many occasions including the U17, U20 and Pan Am game teams. After a strong freshman season last year where he played in 19 games, Kevon struggled with some injury issues in 2015, although had two assists in eight games and is projected as a future Toronto FC Homegrown signing.
DM: Ryan James, Bowling Green
Brother of former MLS Draft pick, Evan James, Ryan had a very successful college career at Bowling Green University. James, who is 21, played high school soccer in Mississauga while also winning the OYSL league championship with the Dixie Lions soccer club. He joined the Falcons in 2012 and played in 79 games for them over the last four years, starting 69 of them and scoring nine goals and adding 15 assists. He was named to the All-MAC Second Team two years in a row and has been invited to the 2016 MLS player combine.
RM: Richie Laryea, Akron
Before joining Akron, Laryea played on Sigma FC Academy in Canada - the same club that developed 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin and Laryea also made his debut with the Canadian National Youth Team. The sophomore showed some skill during his freshman season but only scored one goal and added two assists in 20 games. A strong performance against Maryland where he scored two goals and added an assist in early September made people start to take notice, although it wasn't until a strong national tournament run that cemented him as a prospect for the 2016 MLS Superdraft, helping the Zips make the final four. Laryea finished the season with 11 goals and seven assists in 22 games.
AM: Sergio Camargo, Costal Carolina
A name probably familiar to most who follow Canadian Soccer, Camargo was also on my All-Canadian team last season. 2015 saw Sergio miss some games through injury, although he still scored four goals and added five assists in 13 games and now has 19 goals and 15 assists in 58 career games with Coastal Carolina. He also played a significant role in K-W United winning the PDL Championship in 2015. Going into his senior year next year, Camargo is expected to be one of the top senior prospects and be drafted in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
AM: Mark Anthony Gonzalez, Evansville
Mark had another strong season in 2015 scoring seven goals and adding two assists in 15 games. However, Evansville struggled, which meant Gonzalez wasn't invited to the MLS Combine and it can hurt his potential of playing professional. Although Mark has a very strong soccer CV, including scoring 27 goals in 70 games with Evansville, coming from the Sigma FC Academy, and he also played for TFC Academy PDL team where he scored three goals in seven games. I expect we will hear more from him and to possibly be given an opportunity to earn a spot with TFC II in USL next season.
LM: Kwame Awuah, UCONN
Depsite Irving and Laryea getting most of the attention, Awuah might have had the strongest season for a Canadian in NCAA Division 1 this season. The junior was moved into a more forward position than his traditional full back role, and made a big impact scoring three goals and adding 12 assists. Awuah's best games were in the ones that mattered, which allowed UCONN to qualify for the National Championship and he also scored two goals and added an assist in the first round of the tournament. The Sigma FC product looks to be one of the top senior prospects next season in NCAA Division 1 and should be a lock for MLS in either a full-back or wide midfield role.
FW: Brian Wright, Vermont
Another player with roots in Ajax, Wright was a key player for Vermont in his Junior season with the school. The 6'0/180 Center Forward scored 10 goals and added seven assists in 21 games during the 2015 season and now has 25 goals in 58 career games. He has been named to the America East All-Conference team each season and was also named the America East Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2015, as he led the Catamounts to the NCAA Division 1 National Tournament. Although Vermont is a small school, if he keeps performing at this level, Wright should get enough attention next season to be considered for the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
In total there were about 100 Canadians in NCAA Division 1 soccer this past year. Some players such as Chris Nanco at Syracuse, Josh Heard at Washington, Brody Huitema at Duke were given national attention in the United States and if I was going to make one tactical change to my starting eleven I would have Awuah playing full-back and Nanco in the midfield.
Nanco played in 25 games, scored 4 goals and added three assists and has a similar skill set to Laryea of coming off the wing and scoring. While both Heard and Huitema have a good skill set but haven't established themselves as top players at an NCAA D1 level.
Most other Canadian played at lower profile schools and some schools such as Oakland, Niagara, Buffalo, and Bryant consistent a number of Canadians on thier roster with Oakland being the most successful through the play of Austin Ricci who scored eight goals as a sophomore and senior Raphael Reynolds who one of the Canadian MLS teams should look at.
Other significant performances for Canadians were keeper Nathan Ingham at FGCU and Montreal Impact Homegrown keeper Jason Beaulieu at New Mexico. Defender Quinton Duncan at Tulsa and Toronto FC academy player Daniel Jodah at Marshall.
To wrap it up, a player who I have liked a number of years in Ontario soccer, Dylan Sacramento had a strong junior season at Florida Gulf Coast.
Aaron Neilsen is a co-founder of Prospect XI (Prospect Eleven), a scouting network and online magazine dedicated to tracking/highlighting young players that refer to as "prospects" as well as their development pathways both within North America and worldwide. Follow PXI via www.prospectxi.com or on twitter @ProspectXI.