Stanford tabbed favorite in Pac-12 preseason men's soccer coaches poll
SAN FRANCISCO — STANFORD has been selected the favorite to win the 2019 Pac-12 men’s soccer title by the league’s head coaches for the third-consecutive season, the Conference office announced today. The Cardinal received five first-place votes to stand atop the preseason rankings with 25 points, while WASHINGTON (19) and OREGON STATE (17, one first-place vote) took second and third place in the poll, respectively.
Winner of three of the last four NCAA Championships, Stanford enters the 2019 season No. 5 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason national rankings. Stanford’s 2018 campaign saw the Cardinal post a 12-4-5 overall record and secure an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal appearance. Head coach Jeremy Gunn guided his squad to a 7-2-1 Conference mark, good for a league-record fifth-consecutive Pac-12 title. Stanford returns nine starters for 2019, including redshirt sophomore forward Zach Ryan, the Cardinal’s top goal-scorer with 10 in 2018, as well as redshirt senior defender Tanner Beason, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year. Beason, selected to the 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, was also named the 2018 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, marking the fifth-straight season a member of Stanford’s back four secured the Conference honor.
Washington enters the 2019 campaign second in the Pac-12 preseason poll as the Huskies are coming off a 12-4-5 overall record and NCAA first round appearance a year ago. Head coach Jamie Clark has established a model of consistency at Washington as his squad has posted a top-3 Conference finish in each of his eight years at the helm. Two-time All-Pac-12 First Team midfielder Blake Bodily returns for his junior season with the Huskies as the Preseason All-Conference honoree looks to anchor a UW offense that finished second in the Pac-12 in goals (31) and assists (33) in 2018.
Oregon State’s resurgent 2018 season helped land the Beavers at No. 3 in the Conference preseason poll and 22nd in the United Soccer Coaches national ranks. Head coach Terry Boss earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors in his first season in Corvallis as the Beavs posted a 6-3-1 Conference record to finish second in league play and secure their highest Pac-12 finish since 2009. OSU went 11-6-3 overall in 2018, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in program history and the first time since 2014. Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and All-Conference First Team honoree Sofiane Djeffal is back for the Beavers, as the Preseason All-Pac-12 selection and Nantes, France native seeks to build on his 17-point (five goals, seven assists) season in 2018.
CALIFORNIA takes the fourth spot in the preseason coaches poll following a 7-9-2 overall record under head coach Kevin Grimes in 2018. Cal produced three MLS SuperDraft picks following the 2018 season, including Shinya Kadono, who led the Conference in goals (12) and scoring (26 points) last year. The Golden Bears have a pair of strong goalkeeping options entering 2019 as seniors Drake Callender (1.11 goals against average) and Noah Texter (1.54) split time in net a season ago and earned All-Conference Second and Third Team accolades, respectively.
It’s the first year of the Ryan Jorden era at UCLA, the fifth-ranked team in the Conference preseason poll. The 23-year coaching veteran takes over the Bruins after his most recent stop as the head man at Pacific, where he revived the men’s soccer program that had been dormant for 28 years before his arrival in 2013. Jorden compiled a 38-13-6 combined record and three NCAA Tournament victories in his final three years with the Tigers. UCLA posted a 10-9-0 overall record in 2018, going 5-5-0 in league play to finish fourth in the Conference standings. Former Bruin Frankie Amaya was the first overall pick (FC Cincinnati) in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, while 2018 All-Pac-12 Second Team defender Matthew Powell headlines the returnees to Westwood.
SAN DIEGO STATE slots in at sixth in the Conference preseason rankings in Lev Kirshner’s 20th year as head coach of the Aztecs. The Aztecs return an All-Pac-12 honoree in redshirt senior midfielder Pablo Pelaez. The Preseason All-Conference selection led SDSU in goals (six) and points (15) a season ago and tied for the team lead in assists with three.
The Pac-12 men’s soccer regular season kicks off Friday, Aug. 30 with all six teams in action on opening night. Pac-12 Networks will broadcast 37 men’s soccer matches in 2019, with Oregon State’s game against Colgate (Sunday, Sept. 1 at 5:30pm PT) opening the Networks’ schedule.
2019 Pac-12 Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
|School (first-place votes)||Points|
|1. Stanford (5)||25|
|3. Oregon State (1)||17|
|6. San Diego State||5|
2019 Pac-12 Men’s Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team