Four teams remain, and they're headed to Houston for the 2016 NCAA Men's College Cup December 9 and 11 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Denver, North Carolina, Stanford, and Wake Forest are the last teams fighting for this year's NCAA Championship, and there's a few connections to the current Houston Dynamo team.


Denver—in the midst of an undefeated campaign—is making their first appearance in the College Cup. But in 2008 and 2010, goalkeeper Joe Willis led the school to their first NCAA Tournament appearances since 1970. Willis earned team MVP honors in 2008, and finished his DU career with 23 wins and 15 shutouts.

Dynamo defenders Sheanon WilliamsJalil Anibaba and goalkeeper Tyler Deric will be sporting Carolina blue as North Carolina looks for its third national championship. Williams went to the College Cup with UNC in 2008, reaching the title game before a 1-0 loss to Maryland. Anibaba started his college career at Santa Clara but transferred to Carolina for his senior season as the Tar Heels again reached the College Cup—losing in the national semifinals to top-seeded Louisville. Deric also spent one season at North Carolina, starting 17 games as a true freshman in 2007. The current UNC team carries Dynamo Academy alum Johan Welch as its backup goalkeeper. The Richmond native (Foster High School) made one appearance as a redshirt freshman this season.

North Carolina will be facing defending national champions Stanford in the semifinals on December 9, who feature Dynamo Academy product Bryce Marion in midfield. Marion, a native of Cypress and graduate of Cy-Ranch High School, was a substitute in last year's title run but has carved out a starting spot in this year's squad. He's tallied a goal and four assists for the Cardinal while starting all 21 games this year en route to being named All-Pac 12 honorable mention.

No. 2 Wake Forest also has a former Dynamo Academy member in freshmen midfielder Thomas Menke. From Missouri City (Ridge Point HS), Menke has made three substitute appearances for the Demon Deacons in 2016.

Denver faces Wake Forest in the first game on Friday at 5 p.m. Stanford and UNC square off on Friday after that match at 7:45 p.m. The winners play for the championship on Sunday at 1 p.m.