UCLA Men's Soccer Team Opens 2002 Exhibition Slate At Saint Louis

Aug. 19, 2002

This Week - The UCLA men's soccer team (12-7-4 in 2001, final ranking of 15th) will jump-start the 2002 season with an exhibition at Saint Louis University. The exhibition will take place at Robert R. Hermann Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 24 at 7:00 pm CT. The game will be televised in St. Louis on Charter Communications (CCIN).

The Series - The Bruins and Billikens have a storied rivalry dating back to the early 70's. In 1970, 1972 and 1973, the teams met in the NCAA Championship match, with Saint Louis winning each time, twice by a one-goal margin. UCLA volunteer assistant coach Jose Lopez played in each of those games for the Bruins. Saint Louis has won 10 NCAA Championships, and UCLA has won three (1985, 1990, 1997).

UCLA has had more success against the Billikens in recent years, winning the last three contests. In the last meeting between the two teams, the Bruins won at Saint Louis, 2-0 in 1999.

Scouting Saint Louis - The Billikens already have one exhibition game under their belts, having lost 4-0 to 2000 NCAA Champion UConn on Aug. 18. Last season, Saint Louis posted an 18-2 record and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Saint Louis lost eight seniors from that team but welcome 11 freshmen and Clemson transfer Martin Hutton, who is the front-runner to start as goalkeeper. Conference-USA Pre-Season Player of the Year Jack Jewsbury is the team's top returning scorer with 21 points on seven goals and seven assists.

Harvey To Miss Exhibition Due To National Team Commitments - Freshman defender Jordan Harvey (Mission Viejo, CA/Mission Viejo HS) will miss the Bruins' exhibition game against Saint Louis due to U.S. Under-20 National Team competition. 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.

Bruins In Pre-season Rankings - UCLA received the No. 5 pre-season ranking by College Soccer News. In 2002, the Bruins will face four teams in the Top 20, including two Top 5 teams in No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 St. John's. UCLA's pre-season exhibition opponent, Saint Louis, is ranked No. 8. NSCAA rankings will be released the week of Aug. 19. 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.

Looking Ahead - The Bruins officially kick off the 2002 season on Friday, Aug. 30 with a 5:00 p.m. game against Boston University at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium.

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.

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.

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