Pac-10 Men's Soccer Preview
After sending two teams to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, the Pac-10 looks to increase its success in 2010. UCLA and STANFORD begin the season ranked in the top 13 of the NSCAA Preseason Poll. Pac-10 rosters feature many veterans, but there is also a large group of talented newcomers taking to the field this fall. Among the returning players, 13 were named to the All-Pac-10 first and second teams last year, and nine were honorable mention selections. As for the incoming classes, four Conference schools earned top-40 spots in the College Soccer News recruiting classes rankings. UCLA welcomes the top ranked class in the nation, followed by CALIFORNIA (No. 15), SAN DIEGO STATE (No. 29) and Stanford (No. 31).
UCLA, the two-time defending Pac-10 Champion, enters 2010 as the favorite to win the Conference, as picked by the league's coaches. The Bruins reached the quarterfinal of the 2009 NCAA Tournament and begin the fall ranked No. 5 in the NSCAA Preseason Poll. Youth dominates the UCLA roster with 20 of the 30 players being underclassmen. Head coach Jorge Salcedo returns four starters and only has two seniors this season. Sophomore forward Chandler Hoffman returns after a successful freshman campaign during which he tallied three goals and seven assists. Junior midfielder/defender Andy Rose leads the defense after recovering from an early foot injury in 2009. The highly-regarded incoming class includes Under-17 U.S. National Team members Earl Edwards and Victor Chavez.?
Stanford is coming off its best season since 2002 and hopes to improve upon an appearance in the third round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal enters the season ranked No. 13 in the NSCAA Preseason Poll. Leading the way is senior defender Bobby Warshaw, who was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list for this season after being a 2009 semifinalist. Warshaw has led the team in scoring for three years, first as a forward and now as a defender. Sophomore forward Adam Jahn returns after a successful freshman campaign in which he started all 20 games for the Cardinal, scoring four goals and recording three assists.
California looks to rebound in 2010 after missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time under head coach Kevin Grimes in 2009. Gone are the top two scorers from a year ago - forwards Andrew Wiedeman and Jeff Cosgriff - but the Golden Bears return eight starters, including seniors Hector Jimenez, A.J. Soares and Servando Carrasco. Soares, a reliable defender, has been named to the College Soccer News Preseason All-America second team. Jimenez led the Conference in assists with nine last season. Junior David Bingham returns in goal after finishing last season with a 0.95 goals against average (GAA).
OREGON STATE is coming off its best Pac-10 finish since 2003 after finishing second a year ago. The biggest challenge in 2010 will be replacing 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year and MLS SuperDraft No. 1 overall selection Danny Mwanga, who led the Conference in several key categories. The Beavers have nine starters back, including their top scorer in junior midfielder/forward Colin Mitchell, who recorded five goals and two assists last season. Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 goalkeeper Steve Spangler returns after playing in all 18 games and recording 59 saves in 2009.
San Diego State looks forward to a 2010 schedule that includes six games against teams who made the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs return seven starters, including the leading scorer in 2009, senior forward Raymundo Reza, who tallied six goals and four assists. Sophomore midfielder Jose Altamirano, a member of the Under-20 U.S. National Team, recorded one goal and two assists in his freshman campaign. Senior midfielder Khadim Diouf, a second team All-Pac-10 selection, had three goals and three assists last season. The Aztec incoming class includes Miles Byass, a Parade All-American, and Canadian National Team member Jordan Ongaro.
Head coach Dean Wurzberger and the WASHINGTON Huskies are eager to return to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence. Seven starters return, including senior defender Taylor Mueller, a third team NSCAA All-Far West Region selection and second team All-Pac-10 honoree last season. The Huskies' have their top scorer returning in junior forward Brent Richards, who led the team with five goals a year ago. Redshirt sophomore Dylan Tucker-Gangnes will lead the midfield after missing all of last season with a back injury.
Check out the team-by-team previews below: