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2011 College Cup: See Future MLS Stars Today!

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Before playing for the LA Galaxy, Omar Gonzalez played for Maryland, winning the College Cup.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Before playing for the LA Galaxy, Omar Gonzalez played for Maryland, winning the College Cup. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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When the University of North Carolina takes on the University of North Carolina - Charlotte today in the NCAA College Cup, state pride won't be the only thing on the line. The last three years, the team that won the College Cup had a player taken as one of the first three draft picks in the College Cup. The two North Carolina schools are sending five seniors to the MLS Combine, including Billy Schuler who scored the late equalizer for North Carolina allowing them to advance past UCLA on penalty kicks.

In 2010, Akron won the College Cup. In the 2011 MLS Superdraft, the second, third, and fourth pick all came from Akron who had five players taken in the first round. In 2009 Virginia defeated Akron in the College Cup, and then midfielder Toni Tchani was taken with the second pick. Akron produced two first round picks. Going back to Maryland's Cup win in 2008, that team produced first round draft pick Omar Gonzalez and second round pick A.J. DeLaGarza with a total of six players selected in the draft.

The teams that lost in the semifinals of the college cup are sending seven players to the combine. Last year's semifinal losers, North Carolina and Michigan) contributed three players to the latter half of the MLS Superdraft first round. It's within reason to think the four schools who made it to Alabama for the College Cup will contribute the most draft picks.

If Bruce Arena goes with a college player in the draft, I'd be willing to bet money the player will come from UCLA, like 2010 pick Michael Stephens. However, with Bruce Arena going with Paolo Cardozo in the Galaxy's first pick last year, it wouldn't be surprising to see LA go after a foreign player again. There were reports that Bruce was impressed with some of the Indonesian and Philippine players the Galaxy played against on their tour.

So check out the College Cup, on ESPNU at 1pm PST. You might just see a future MLS star. In fact, the odds suggest you will.