11th-Ranked Bears Open With USD
Aug. 28, 2007
Cal Plays Toreros in Season Opener:
Coming off its first-ever Pac-10 title, the 11th-ranked California men's soccer team opens the 2007 campagin in Southern California, as the Golden Bears square off against the University of San Diego Friday, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m. at Torero Stadium.
Cal lost nine players from 2006 but retains a talented group in addition to a recruiting class that was ranked No. 16 by College Soccer News. Leading the way among the returners is senior forward Javier Ayala-Hil, who led Cal in goals (12) and points (26) last year and was an All-Pac-10 first-team selection.
Also back is senior midfielder Andrew Jacobson, a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 choice. Jacobson was second to Ayala-Hil in shots on goal, as the latter had 24 and Jacobson recorded 21. Senior defender Luke Sassano, sophomore midfielder Imaan Kerchgani and junior midfielder Jacob Wilson were 2006 honorable mention All-Pac-10 picks.
The Bears hold a No.11 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas preseason poll and a No. 13 ranking in the College Soccer News poll. In the Pac-10 preseason coaches poll, Cal and Washington were selected to tie for second in the conference with 20 points.
2006 in Review:
Last season, Cal head coach Kevin Grimes led his team to its first-ever Pac-10 title, behind a 7-3 Pac-10 mark, and a 13-6-1 overall record. The Bears entered the College Cup as the No. 13 seed and earned a first-round bye. They advanced to the third round before falling to Virginia. Cal's bid into the postseason set a program record of six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and marked the second straight season the Bears entered the playoffs seeded.
In his seventh year at Cal, Grimes earned the 2006 Pac-10 Coach of the Year award for the second year in a row and for the third time (2002) also in Berkeley. He is the only Cal men's soccer coach to win this award more than once.
Ten Cal players earned All-Pac-10 honors for 2006, including a school record four first-team choices. First-team honorees included Eric Ebert, Steve Purdy, Javier Ayala-Hil and Andrew Jacobson.
Steve Purdy racked up many awards last year. In addition to being a first-team selection on the All-Pac-10 team, Purdy also earned second-team All-America honors by the NSCAA and College Soccer News. Purdy also earned the team's Bob DiGrazia award as the Golden Bears' MVP for the 2006 season. He also took home Cal's Offensive MVP honors. Purdy, Cal's top defender in 2006, was also Cal's second-leading scorer with 12 points (5 goals, 2 assists), and he scored two game-winning goals.
Scouting the Toreros:
San Diego was picked to finish third in the West Coast Conference preseason poll. Last season, the Toreros led the conference with 47 goals and tied a WCC record with 22 goals against league opponents. USD earned a 10-8-1 overall record last year and a 5-6-1 conference record to finish fifth in the WCC.
USD's returning group is headlined by midfielder Dustin Guerrero, who tallied four goals and three assists last year, and All-WCC honorable-mention defenders Tim Grey and Sam Reeder.
Seamus McFadden enters his 28th season as head coach of the Toreros. McFadden has has been named the WCC Coach of the Year a record seven times (2000, `99, `98, `95, `94, `92, `86) and won five conference championships. He has coached eight WCC Defensive Players of the Year, six WCC Offensive Players of the Year and two WCC Freshman Players of the Year.