#19/9 UCLA Hosts #15/16 UC Irvine In Saturday Exhibition Game
Aug. 27, 2009
This Week -- The No. 19/9 UCLA men's soccer team will wrap up its preseason with an exhibition game on Saturday, Aug. 29 against No. 15/16 UC Irvine. The game will take place at 4 pm at the North Athletic Field. Please note that this a change from previously published schedules. Admission is free.
Live Coverage -- Gametracker livestats will be available for all UCLA home games, including Saturday's exhibition game.
In The Rankings -- In the preseason rankings, UCLA is ranked No. 9 by Soccer America, No. 17 by College Soccer News, No. 18 by Soccer Times, No. 19 by the NSCAA/adidas and No. 20 by Top Drawer Soccer.
Scouting The Anteaters -- UC Irvine advanced to a program-best third round of the NCAA Championships last season and finished the year with a 15-2-6 record. The defending Big West champion Anteaters are ranked No. 15 in the NSCAA preseason poll. Amongst the returning players for UC Irvine is All-American senior Irving Garcia, who scored 23 points on seven goals and nine assists last year.
CSUB Recap -- UCLA scored a goal in each half to win its exhibition opener against CSU Bakersfield on Sunday, 2-0. The Bruins, who just began practice four days ago for the 2009 season, spread minutes around to 28 players. Senior forward Kyle Nakazawa scored the first goal in the 24th minute, and freshman forward Dakota Collins scored in the 61st minute. Four goalkeepers combined for the shutout, with senior Brian Perk playing the first half and sophomore Brian Rowe playing the majority of minutes in the second half.
Senior Leadership -- For the first time in Jorge Salcedo's tenure as head coach, the Bruins can truly call themselves a veteran team, with a substantially large senior class of eight, the largest senior class at UCLA since 2003. Leading the way are six returning senior starters - midfielder Michael Stephens, goalkeeper Brian Perk, midfielder Kyle Nakazawa, forward David Estrada, and defenders Danny Suits and Luis Serrano - as well as defender Sean Alvarado and midfielder Andrew Sinderhoff. Stephens is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, while Perk, Estrada and Suits were all-conference selections. Nakazawa was a preseason All-America selection before injuries limited him to just 10 games last season. In UCLA's 2-0 exhibition win over CSU Bakersfield last week, seven seniors started, and Nakazawa scored the game-winning goal.
Preseason Honors -- Senior midfielders Michael Stephens and Kyle Nakazawa were named to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List. Soccer America named Stephens and goalkeeper Brian Perk preseason All-Americans (Stephens 1st team, Perk 2nd team), and College Soccer News picked Stephens as a first-team preseason All-American. Stephens is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year and a member of Soccer America's 2008 MVPs Second Team. Last season, he led the Pac-10 in points scored (23) and tied for the league lead in assists with nine, including a school record tying four at San Diego State. Nakazawa, a midfielder from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., was also on the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List a year ago but had his 2008 season cut short due to injuries, playing in 10 games yet still ranking fourth on the team in assists with four. Nakazawa was UCLA's Team MVP in 2007 and was selected to Soccer America's All-Freshman team in 2006. Perk was a second-team All-Pac-10 honoree last season after posting a 0.45 goals against average and five shutouts in nine conference games.
Fresh Faces -- A year after bringing in 12 new players, the Bruins welcome eight new faces to the squad in the form of seven freshmen and a junior walk-on. This year's freshman class was rated the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation by both Soccer America and College Soccer News. Leading the class is Top Drawer Soccer's No. 1 recruit in the nation, Amobi Okugo, who is also a member of the U.S. Under-20 and Under-18 National Teams. Also joining the Bruins are U.S. Under-18 National Team player Michael Roman and ESPN/Rise All-Americans Dakota Collins, Chandler Hoffman and Evan Raynr. Three of the freshmen (Collins, Hoffman and Okugo) were singled out as '100 Freshmen To Keep An Eye On' by College Soccer News.
Off-Season Happenings -- Bruin players were busy in the off-season, with Brian Perk and Michael Stephens seeing regular action with the U.S. Under-20 National Team. Perk has been dominant as the starting goalkeeper on the Under-20 National Team, posting seven shutouts in eight games, with a 0.12 goals against average in 2009. Stephens has seen action in four games this year and scored two goals. Both players traveled to Egypt and Argentina this summer with the U.S. team.
Freshman Amobi Okugo traveled to Northern Ireland with the U.S. Under-18 National Team to participate in the Milk Cup and also played with the U-18s in the Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal.
Sophomore Eder Arreola led the Cherif Zein Elite 17-under boys' soccer team to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship in late July, scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over North Carolina's Triangle United to help his team capture the Don Greer Cup. Arreola's goal in the 26th minute gave his squad a 3-0 lead, and CZ Elite held on for the 3-2 win. Arreola dominated in the tournament, leading all goal scorers with five goals.
Looking Ahead -- UCLA opens the 2009 regular season at defending NCAA champion and No. 1/8 Maryland on Friday, Sept. 4. This is the second season in a row the Bruins will face the defending NCAA champions on the road (UCLA played at 2007 NCAA champion Wake Forest last year).