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Dec 18, 2009

Solid but not spectacular crop of goalies

It's shaping up to be a solid year for keepers, and it could get even better if MLS signs an underclassman or two. Underclassmen like Jimmy Maurer (South Carolina), Zac MacMath (Maryland) and Diego Restrepo (Virginia) could add some high-end talent to this pool.

Even without those names, this is a real nice group with serious potential at the top and some guys who have the potential to start in the pros throughout the top 10.

Top 10 2010 goalkeeper prospects

1. Jovan Bubonja, Illinois-Chicago -- He is arguably the most complete keeper in this pool and the most likely to be able to step right in this coming MLS season. Bubonja, currently a redshirt senior, was fourth on our list last year, as various reports connected him with a possible Generation adidas deal that didn't materialize. Unanimous first-team All-American in 2008 and two Horizon League goalkeeper of the year nods top the long list of awards for the Serbian. A down senior year statistically for the 6-foot-2 Bubonja coincides with the disappointing UIC record.

2. Sean Johnson, Central Florida -- The 6-4, American-born Johnson flirted with representing Jamaica at both the U-17 and U-20 levels before making the U.S. U-20 squad for the World Championships. Johnson chose to skip this season of college soccer, as did several other U-20s. After his name was linked to Europe a couple of times, he now is reportedly on the verge of signing a Generation adidas deal with MLS. An athletic keeper who still is learning and refining his play, Johnson will be highly sought after by MLS teams. He set a school record with 108 saves in his sophomore year and was named UCF's team MVP.

3. Brian Perk, UCLA -- Being the starting keeper for the U.S. U-20s at this year's World Championships cost Perk five games midseason, but he still was named a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 for his play at UCLA. He led the Pac-10 this season with a 0.77 goals against average. Perk leaves UCLA, a school renowned for producing keepers, fourth on its all-time list with 241 saves, and he is a former U.S. U-18 and U-17. At 5-11, he is a touch on the small side for a top-tier prospect but remains a highly skilled keeper.

2010 MLS SuperDraft
Jan. 14
Convention Center, Philadelphia
2 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com

4. Frederick Hall, Quinnipiac -- A Bermuda U-17 and U-21 international, Hall started his college career at South Florida before transferring to Quinnipiac. The 6-2 Hall earned the Northeastern Conference goalkeeper of the year award this season with a remarkable 0.75 GAA, 121 saves and nine shutouts. In 2007, he led Division I in save percentage (.915) and saves per game (7.38). Hall leaves college with a robust 324 saves in three seasons as a starter.

5. Brooks Haggerty, North Carolina -- Several injury-plagued seasons have hurt Haggerty in terms of stats and awards, but he was a major factor in the Tar Heels' reaching the NCAA title game last year and their semifinal run this year. The senior tied a career high with seven saves in the semis against (at the time) unbeaten Akron. He struggled with a back injury this year, but he still posted a superlative 0.55 GAA and 10 shutouts. The 6-1 Haggerty is a bit less athletic than I like but is a tremendous leader and hard worker.

6. Joseph Bendik, Clemson -- Despite some poor seasons by Clemson of late, the former U.S. U-17 and U-18 keeper remains a strong prospect. The 6-3 Bendik leaves Clemson with 264 careers saves. Only one conference nod in his career means little in the ultracompetitive ACC. A good soccer pedigree and some real skills make Bednik a brighter prospect than his college résumé might indicate on first look.

7. John Moore, Stanford -- A 0.87 GAA and nine shutouts earned the 6-2 Moore his third straight Pac-10 honor this season. Multiple academic honors pepper the senior's résumé as well. Moore leaves Stanford with 218 saves. A four-year starter, Moore's improved play this year was a big part of the Stanford turnaround.

8. Dan Williams, Kentucky -- A four-year starter at Kentucky who's been overshadowed by the terrific Barry Rice in front of him, the 6-2 Williams remains a strong prospect and earned three conference nods in four seasons. Williams led Conference USA this season with a 0.71 GAA, allowing only 13 goals in 18 games. Williams kept 21 clean sheets in his career, one shy of the school record. He also holds the CUSA record for conference player of the week nods with seven in his career.

9. Sean Kelley, George Mason -- The 6-4 Kelley burst onto the scene with a impressive 0.64 GAA in his freshman year to earn the CAA rookie of the year award. Kelley has followed up that great start with solid play ever since. First-team All-CAA this season, with a 1.00 GAA and five shutouts, gives Kelley three conference nods in his career. Kelley leaves George Mason with 30 career shutouts.

10. Misha Rosenthal, Northwestern -- Two Big Ten nods in his career don't do the 6-3 Rosenthal justice, as he has a school-record 29 shutouts to his name. Rosenthal set a single-season school record with 13 shutouts in 2007, including a stretch of seven straight. During a nine-game stretch that year, he went almost 806 minutes without allowing a goal. Rosenthal capped his career with a 10-save second-half performance in the Wildcats' 3-1 come-from-behind win over Notre Dame in the second round of this year's NCAA tourney.

Ten more seniors to watch

Derby Carrillo, St. John's

Nils Binstock, Iona

Kelin Briones, San Diego

Alex Horwath, Wisconsin

Philip Nelson, Lafayette

Stephen Paterson, Western Illinois

Chris Pennock, Rhode Island

Matt Pyzdrowski, Marquette

Ryan Schwarz, Valparaiso

Jason Stenta, Binghamton

Buzz Carrick is the publisher of 3rd Degree, the FC Dallas News Source. He also works in the freelance sports television business and can be reached by e-mail at buzz@3rddegree.net.

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