Anne Arundel County
All the pieces fell into place last season for Severna Park, which captured the Class 3A state title. This year's team won't include its graduated All-Metro Player of the Year, J.P. Murphy, but coach Don Gregg believes he can make another run.
South River has designs of defending its county crown, but must find answers up front and in goal.
Chesapeake has a new coach in Dave Evanco, but you can expect much of the same personality from the Cougars. Evanco spent 12 seasons under former coach Earl Eckhardt, whose philosophies of working balls through the midfield and sending plenty of balls to the corner flags will likely be followed by the current regime.
Patterson and Poly will engage in their annual fight for supremacy.
But Patterson will have to do it under a new coach, John Miller. He inherits a Clippers' program that captured three of the past four city league titles under Troy Stevenson, who has taken a job at Parkville.
Poly appears poised to capitalize should the Clippers miss a beat. The Engineers return seven starters from last year's league runner-up squad, including midfielder Corey Cascio.
Poly has not lost to any city opponent other than Patterson in coach Bob Wood's three seasons.
Mervo may have the best chance at breaking the lock the Clippers and Engineers have had on the league's top two spots.
Defending champion Eastern Tech is coming off an exemplary 16-2-1 season in which it allowed only three goals.
The Mavericks could earn another berth in the county championship game, but they won't have an easy time qualifying out of Division II.
Patapsco, Kenwood, Dundalk, Franklin and Parkville all return talented squads capable of upending the Mavericks.
Towson and Dulaney look to be the class of Division I, where Sparrows Point, Loch Raven, Western and Perry Hall will all be stalwarts.
Milford Mill, Randallstown, Lansdowne and Woodlawn will be among the top competitors in Division III.
Nearly each team lost a large number of players from last season, creating the distinct possibility of a truly wide-open race.
Defending county and Central Maryland Conference champion Liberty is shooting for a sixth title in seven years.
Westminster, Century and South Carroll also will be in contention. The former lost 13 players from last year and return just one starter, but has 12 good juniors coming up from the JV.
After going 12-1 in JV last season, Century makes the jump to varsity.
Carroll Christian moves to the Maryland Association of Christian Schools Athletic League and will rely heavily on senior Brandon Eckerd to anchor a good defense.
County champion C. Milton Wright returns a ton of experience, but that will not deter Fallston from again challenging the Mustangs for the title.
The Mustangs return 12 seniors, led by forward Brian Tully and midfielders Gabriel Hernandez and Rob Solberg.
With its midfield strength, Wright will focus on playing a possession game.
Fallston compensates for graduating six players with a good group of returning seniors, led by forward David Feazell and midfielder Richard Murray.
If there's a team that could push these two, it might be North Harford. The Hawks return most of their team and have some key additions from a good JV.
Approaching his 300th coaching victory, River Hill's Bill Stara (295-35-14) possesses a team favored to repeat as the county champion, despite the graduation of three first-team All-County midfielders and eight starters overall.
Second-team All-Metro striker Justin Hughes heads River Hill's talented senior class.
Centennial has offensive standout Randy Collins back from a Class 2A regional finalist team.
Glenelg returns 11 players, led by All-County forward Josh Burford.
Oakland Mills, a 1A state finalist last season, has speedy strikers Stanley Kaweesi and Alex Douyan, along with sweeper Glenn Clardy and long throw-in specialist Adam Magruder.
Returning 10 starters and 17 lettermen, McDonogh should possess its most talented team as it pursues the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title.
Six Eagles played for the U.S. national under-14 runner-up team this summer. Still a young team, McDonogh is led by senior midfielders Brian Yi and Kyle McHugh and defender Colin Barclay.
Defending MIAA champion Mount St. Joseph reloads after its most successful season.
Calvert Hall, led by junior midfielders Ryan Callinan and Patrick Healey, returns seven starters, not to mention 95 percent of its scoring.
Bigger and faster, Loyola returns seven starters.