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The D3 soccer vs D1 soccer debate

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I am someone who definitely buys that D3 soccer is closer to D1 soccer than most other D3 versus D1 comparisons.  That said, imo how close has been exaggerated.  To be clear, I'm not talking about D3 players who could sit on a D1 bench as a walk-on or semi-walk-on.  The threshold should be D3 players who would regularly play (starters and consistent subs) and have some impact on a D1 team, and not just for the very bottom 30-40 D1 programs.  Imo, there are some that could but not many...maybe 2-3 dozen out of hundreds and hundreds...and certainly not the percentages some have suggested.

Let's consider two very prominent success examples familiar to most.  Hector Gomez is at middling mid-major Cleveland State.  He's played in all three games with real minutes (47, 50, 31) but NO starts.  He has yet to score or earn an assist.  A 1st team AA at OWU last year Hector would quite credibly be in the conversation for D3 NPOY.

Speaking of D3 NPOYs, German Giammattei is indeed at Maryland, one of the premier D1 programs.  He's doing quite well with 3 starts in 4 games played.  Minutes in order so far are 57, 54, 42, and 25.  He came on as a sub in his most recent contest versus Virginia with a significant reduction in minutes but he did get his first goal and first assist of the young season.

So these are legit examples of guys who are definitely making an impact but neither looks on track for All-Conference or AA-type honors.  And both were at the very tippy-top of D3. 

Would love for those with knowledge of other D3 guys making the move to D1 over the past 5 or years and detailing what happened for them.

I also was thinking about the D1 claims while watching some of the elite D3 teams over the past several days.  I had zero confusion about whether they were playing at a D3 or D1 level.  The speed of play and amount of time on the ball for D1 are significantly different than higher-end D3.

From Maryland website...

One of the most accomplished players in Division III men's soccer history, Giammattei is the only D-III player to ever win consecutive USC National Player of the Year honors and just the second to win it twice overall…helped the Mammoths to consecutive national championship game appearances…two-time first-team All-American…started 60 matches in his career, totaling 45 goals and 12 assists…served as a captain in the 2021 campaign and scored 12 goals and 4 assists en route to USC National Player of the Year honors…named a first-team All-American, first-team All-Region and first-team All-NESCAC…voted the D3Soccer.com Forward of the Year…had a historic sophomore campaign in 2019, scoring 26 goals and adding five assists…tied the NESCAC single season scoring record and set the Amherst single season scoring and points record…was the NESCAC Rookie of the Year after tallying seven goals and three assists as a freshman…in his three-year career, the Mammoths went 50-10-5 overall and 21-5-4 in conference games


Gregory Sager:
North Park has had three D3-to-D1 players within the past half-dozen years. The first was CB Ricky Pimentel. After a year at NPU he transferred seven miles south to Illinois-Chicago. As a scholarship player at UIC in 2016 he started three games for the Flames and came off of the bench in a handful of others. Two of those starts, against Northwestern and Valparaiso, saw him play the entire 90 minutes. UIC went on to finish a game above .500 that season. He missed North Park, so he transferred back the next season and eventually became a United Soccer Coaches All-American pick and the CCIW Defensive Player of the Year, and was a cornerstone of the Vikings' 2017 national runner-up squad.

Gustav Ericsson, who was a standout freshman midfielder on that 2017 team, transferred to San Diego and was on scholarship for the Toreros as a sophomore in 2018. He appeared in 18 contests for USD and made eight starts, and assisted on the game-winning goal at Gonzaga. The Toreros finished the season 7-7-5. Then, as Pimentel had before him, Gustav transferred back to North Park, where he went on to be named a 2021 d3soccer.com All-American and last season's CCIW DPOY. He's now serving as a GA for the Vikings while he finishes up his master's degree.

Jesse Anamoo, who was a CCIW first-teamer for North Park last season as a freshman striker, transferred to Santa Clara this summer. He scored the first goal of the year this season for the Broncos, albeit in an exhibition game against Sacramento State. He has started SCU's first two games of the regular season, and then came off of the bench in the third that the Broncos have played to date, although he has yet to register a point.

(When Jesse said goodbye to his Vikings teammates last spring, Gustav said, "See you back here next year." ;) )

Thanks, Greg.  I was thinking there had been at least 2-3 from North Park.

James Hoover was at John Carroll last year as a freshman and transferred to Cleveland State over the summer. Played in 22 games last year, starting 10 of them, and finished with 6 goals and 3 assists. He has played just 5 minutes for CSU this year so far in their first 4 games.


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