Caleb Porter's Zips will open the 2009 season as the favorite to win the national championship, according to Top Drawer Soccer's rankings.
The Zips earned this honor, despite losing the No. 1 pick in the MLS Draft (Steve Zakuani) and a four-year starter goalie (Evan Bush). Akron opens the season Aug. 21 against South Florida in an exhibition match.
Last season Akron went 16-1-4, losing to Northwestern in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Akron spent nine weeks in the national top five.
Junior midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong is among 38 players on the preseason Hermann Trophy watch list, given to the best player in men's collegiate soccer.
College Soccer News ranked the Zips sixth nationally.