Men's Soccer Team Kicks Off 2002 Season
Aug. 26, 2002
This Week - The UCLA men's soccer team (12-7-4 in 2001, NSCAA pre-season ranking of 13th) will kick off the 2002 season at the Soccer Town Classic at Cal State Fullerton this weekend. The Bruins will face Boston University in the season opener on Friday, Aug. 30 at 5:00 pm and will face 2001 NCAA participant Florida International on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 5:00 pm. Both games will be played at Fullerton's Titan Stadium.
UCLA In Season Openers - The Bruins hold a 29-3-3 all-time record in season openers and have won 12 of their last 13 season-opening games. This is the sixth time UCLA has opened the season at Cal State Fullerton's Tournament, and the Bruins have a perfect 10-0 all-time record in the tournament.
Scouting The Opponents - Boston U. is coming off a 13-5-1 season and an American East regular season title in 2001. The Terriers are looking to replace forward Joachim Kaland, who scored a school record 19 goals and ranked fourth in the nation in goals per game. Among those looking to step up into Kaland's role is first-team all-conference selection Andy Dorman, who had seven goals and 13 assists last year. Florida International advanced to the NCAA first round in 2001 and finished the year with a 10-8-0 record. The Golden Panthers return eight starters, including Atlantic Soccer Conference Rookie of the Year Allen Handy.
Bruins Rally To Tie SLU In Exhibition - UCLA mounted a furious rally in the last 12 minutes of the game to force a 2-2 tie against Saint Louis in an exhibition contest Aug. 24. Down 2-0 with less than 13 minutes to play, Tim Pierce took an Evan Corey pass and scored on a breakaway in the 78th minute to cut the lead in half. Then with 46 seconds remaining, Pierce touched in a pass from Ryan Futagaki to equalize. The game ended in regulation.
UCLA In Pre-season Rankings - UCLA received the No. 13 ranking by the NSCAA and the No. 5 pre-season ranking by College Soccer News. In 2002, the Bruins will face five teams in the NSCAA Top 25, including three Top 10 teams in No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 St. John's and No. 7 Rutgers. In addition, the Bruins were selected No. 2 in the Pac-10 Conference in a vote by the conference coaches. Stanford edged out UCLA for first place by three points.
2002 Season Outlook - UCLA begins the 2002 season under first-year head coach Tom Fitzgerald. The group of returning players should make it a smooth transition for Fitzgerald, who is inheriting eight returning starters, including U.S. Under-23 National Team defender Scot Thompson , 2001 UCLA Team MVP Zach Wells (0.85 GAA, nine shutouts), NSCAA All-Far West selection Tim Pierce (10 g, 2a) and first-team All-Pac-10 performers Adolfo Gregorio (2g, 4a) and Ryan Futagaki (3g, 3a). UCLA returns 97% of its goal scoring from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA third round.
Harvey Says Adios To Bruins In August - Due to national team committments, freshman defender Jordan Harvey (Mission Viejo, CA/Mission Viejo HS) has missed parts of UCLA's pre-season training and exhibition. Harvey was selected to compete with the U-20s in an international tournament in Spain Aug. 24-29. The U.S. will face Brazil, Italy and Ukraine in pool play. The tournament is a final tune-up for the U-20s before World Youth Championship qualifying kicks off in November. Harvey will alsomiss UCLA's season opener against Boston but should be back in time for Sunday's game against FIU.
Head Coach Tom Fitzgerald - Armed with 24 years of coaching experience at the high school, collegiate, professional and national team levels, head coach Tom Fitzgerald begins his first season at the helm of the UCLA men's soccer program. Fitzgerald coached Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew from 1996-2001 and led his team to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals from 1997-99. Prior to joining the pro ranks, Fitzgerald was head coach at the University of Tampa from 1987-96. He guided his team to the 1994 NCAA Division II National Championship and to NCAA Final Four appearances two other times. His teams received NCAA post-season tournament berths all nine seasons.