Men's Soccer To Host Cal State Fullerton Thursday Night

Sept. 15, 2009

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This Week -- No. 12/6 UCLA (2-1) will host unranked Cal State Fullerton (3-1) on Thursday, Sept. 17 at Drake Stadium. The game will begin at 7 pm. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for youth (16 and under). UCLA students are free with ID.

Live Coverage -- Thursday's game will be audio broadcast free at uclabruins.com, with Ralph Irvin and Courteney Cosso calling the action. In addition, Gametracker live stats will be available for the game.

In The Rankings -- UCLA moved up to three notches in both major polls, jumping to No. 12 in the NSCAA/adidas coaches poll and to No. 6 in the Soccer America poll. The Bruins remained 10th in the College Soccer News poll and moved up two to 19th in the Top Drawer Soccer rankings.

Scouting The Titans -- Cal State Fullerton enters Thursday's contest with a 3-1 record after wins over Penn State (2-1, ot), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2-1) and Farleigh Dickinson (3-0). Celso Alvarez leads the Titans with three goals, two coming in the Farleigh Dickinson win. The Titans have seven returning starters from last year's squad that went 5-14-1.

The Series With Cal State Fullerton -- UCLA holds a 27-7-3 advantage over Cal State Fullerton. The teams have not met, however, since 2004, a game that resulted in a 1-1 tie at Fullerton. The Bruins had won three in a row prior to 2004, and the Titans' last win came in 2000.

Soto To Coach Against Alma Mater -- UCLA assistant coach Eddie Soto will be coaching against his alma mater for the first time. Soto was an All-American at Cal State Fullerton in 1992 and 1993 and is the No. 2 scorer in Titan history with 38 goals and 96 points from 1992-94. He still holds the Fullerton single-season record for goals with 18, set in 1994. In 1993, he led the Titans to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in school history. Soto later served as an assistant coach at Fullerton from 2001-03 and against in 2006 before coming to Westwood in 2007.

Bruins Rout UC Davis, 4-0 -- After receiving three second-half goals from freshmen reserves, UCLA defeated UC Davis 4-0 last Thursday. Senior Kyle Nakazawa gave UCLA an early lead with a third-minute goal, and from there the defense and the freshmen took over. The Bruin defense and goalkeepers Brian Perk and Brian Rowe earned the shutout with strong play, limiting the Aggies to just one first half shot and five shots overall. Freshman Chandler Hoffman scored two goals in a nine-minute span, and Evan Raynr added his first goal of the season.

Perk Gets 200th Save -- Senior goalkeeper Brian Perk became only the fifth goalkeeper in UCLA history to record 200 career saves when he had three vs. UC Davis last week. Perk ranks fifth on UCLA's all-time saves list with 202. The only other UCLA keepers with 200 career saves are Zach Wells (269), Anton Nistl (261), Tim Harris (259) and David Vanole (204).

Perk, Stephens Off To Join U.S. Team At FIFA U-20 World Cup -- Seniors Brian Perk and Michael Stephens will not be with the Bruins for a few games as participate in the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt from Sept. 24-Oct. 16. The duo left for training on Sept. 14 and will first play Germany in group play on Sept. 26. Group play ends on Oct. 2. If the U.S. advances out of its group, it would continue playing until as late as Oct. 16.

This will be Perk's second U-20 World Cup. He was a backup in 2007 and earned a Round of 16 win against Uruguay that sent the U.S. to the quarterfinals. This year for the U-20s, he has allowed just one goal in seven international games for a 0.14 goals against average and six shutouts. Stephens is one of four players on the final squad who did not participate in CONCACAF qualifying. He impressed in his summer showings with the U-20s, scoring a goal in consecutive games against Costa Rica in May. He previously played with the U.S. at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Rowe Gets Spotlight -- With Brian Perk out with the U.S. U-20 National team, redshirt sophomore Brian Rowe will be manning the goal for the Bruins. Rowe played 10 minutes in the Bruins' last game and did not have to make a save. He also saw 26 minutes of action in the Bruins' exhibition game against CSU Bakersfield and had one save and then made three saves in 41 minutes against UC Irvine. He has not allowed a goal in any of his appearances this season. Last year, he played in two games for a total of 29 minutes and had one save. The only goal he allowed came in the final seconds of a 6-1 win at San Diego State.

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. Seven seniors have started for the Bruins in at least two of the three games - Stephens, Perk, Nakazawa, Estrada, Suits, Serrano and Alvarado.

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.

During opening week, Okugo was the only freshman to earn a start. However, Collins, Ryan Hollingshead and Raynr each played in both games. Hollingshead scored a goal in the win over Maryland. Hoffman and Roman saw action in the Georgetown game, with junior newcomer Shawn Singh receiving a start.

Four of UCLA's six goals this season have come from freshmen - Hoffman with a team-leading two and Hollingshead and Raynr with one each. The other two goal scorers are seniors - Sean Alvarado and Kyle Nakazawa.

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 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.

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 will host Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 7 pm.

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