Men's Soccer Opens 2020-21 Against USF, LMU
Bruins Open 2021 Campaign Against San Francisco, LMU
The UCLA men's soccer opens the season this week by facing a pair of West Coast Conference opponents, hosting San Francisco at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Monday, Feb. 8 at 2:00 p.m. before heading across town for a Friday night contest at Loyola Marymount on Feb. 12. A live audio broadcast of the season-opener and live stats for both games can be found on the men's soccer schedule page on UCLABruins.com.
UCLA in Season Openers
The Bruins are 39-8-6 all-time in season-openers for the years in which results are available. The Bruins are unbeaten in seven consecutive season openers, last falling to New Mexico to begin the 2012 campaign. This is UCLA's first time opening a campaign with a home game since 2016 (1-1 tie with Maryland). The Bruins emerged victorious in overtime, 1-0, over Northwestern last season in the first game of the Ryan Jorden era. Justin Garces (7 saves), Riley Ferch, and Milan Iloski (Ferch found Iloski in the box with a cross for a golden goal) were key contributors in that win.
The Series Against San Francisco
The Bruins own a 24-19-5 all-time record against San Francisco. The two teams have matched up twice in the last 10 years; UCLA took a 5-3 decision on the road on Opening Day (Aug. 26) in 2017, and the Dons repaid the favor with a 1-0 triumph at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Sept. 2, 2018. USF has the record for most single-game goals by a UCLA opponent, notching six scores in a 1971 matchup.
The Series Against Loyola Marymount
UCLA holds a 26-2-1 advantage in the head-to-head series with Loyola Marymount. The Bruins and Lions have matchup up just once since 2012, a 4-1 UCLA triumph at home on Oct. 20, 2018. The last game in the series played at LMU - on Sept. 16, 2012 - saw UCLA eke out a 1-0 victory. UCLA has won four consecutive games over LMU dating back to a scoreless draw on Sept. 19, 2004, the lone tie in the all-time series.
Ferch Takes Over the No. 10 Shirt
Sophomore midfielder Riley Ferch is UCLA's top returning scorer on points (1-9-11 in 2019), headlining a lineup that features nine returning starters. Ferch was one of the top playmakers in the west last season, pacing the Pac-12 in helpers and notching the most single-season assists by a Bruin since Jackson Yueill had 11 in 2016. In addition, his nine assists were just one off the program freshman record, and the most by a UCLA frosh since Kelyn Rowe in 2010.
Eric Iloski Selected in 2021 MLS SuperDraft by Vancouver
UCLA senior midfielder Eric Iloski was selected in the second round (No. 46 overall) of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft by Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Iloski becomes UCLA's 80th MLS draft pick all-time, and the first since Frankie Amaya went No. 1 overall in 2019 to FC Cincinnati. Iloski also becomes the first Bruin ever to be drafted by Vancouver. The Escondido, Calif. native will complete his senior season at UCLA before beginning his pro career. When he enters the pro ranks, he will join both of his brothers, Milan (Real Salt Lake, MLS) and Brian (Orange County SC, USL).
Bruins Welcome Back Nine Starters
UCLA will enjoy a large amount of continuity from its 2019 lineup, with all but two starters returning to this year's team. In addition, the Bruins welcome back defender AJ Vasquez, who started every game as a freshman in 2018 but missed all of 2019 with an injury. In all, the returners on the 2021 squad accounted for 74.7% of UCLA's minutes played in 2019.
Bruins on the U.S. Men's National Team
Former UCLA standouts Reggie Cannon and Jackson Yueill have been frequent contributors to the U.S. Men's National Team during the program's latest cycle. Yueill, a midfielder, has been in the Starting XI for each of the last two games for the USMNT, bringing his career cap total to nine. Cannon, a right back, has 13 caps with the USMNT.
Reinforcements on the Way
UCLA's latest recruiting class, which arrives on campus in fall 2021, has been ranked the No. 4 class in the country by TopDrawerSoccer. The five-player class (two forwards, two midfielders, one goalie) is the highest-ranked in the west, with Stanford (No. 7) the only other Pac-12 team to crack the rankings. The 2021 UCLA men's soccer recruiting class consists of MF Charlie Crockford (Northfield, Ill. / Chicago Fire Academy), GK Nathan Crockford (Northfield, Ill. / Chicago Fire Academy), F Aaron Edwards (San Jose, Calif. / SJ Earthquakes Academy), MF Mauricio Gutierrez (Lawndale, Calif. / LAFC Academy), and F Brandon Zelaya (Redwood City, Calif. / SJ Earthquakes Academy).
Trio Named to TopDrawerSoccer Preseason Top-100 Player Rankings
A trio of Bruins were named to TopDrawerSoccer's preseason Top-100 player rankings. Eric Iloski checked in at No. 75, Riley Ferch was No. 84, and Ahmed Longmire landed at No. 90. With three players in the rankings, UCLA had the second-most of all Pac-12 teams, trailing only Cal (4).
Ochoa, Cervantes Join Staff in 2020-21
UCLA and head coach Ryan Jorden welcomed a pair of new coaches in 2020-21, with assistant coach Andres Ochoa and volunteer assistant coach Juan Cervantes joining the staff. Ochoa played four seasons under Jorden at Pacific (2014-17), then spent two seasons on the coaching staff in Stockton. Since the conclusion of the 2019 season, he completed his master's degree in sport management and coaching and played professionally in Italy and Mexico. Cervantes, a Bruin goalie from 2012-15, coaches the team's goalkeepers. He made coaching stops at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Santa Monica College, Loyola High School, Santa Monica High School, and Beach Futbol Club before returning to UCLA in September 2020.
2019 in Review
UCLA posted a 6-9-3 overall record in 2019, finishing fifth in the Pac-12. The Bruins returned just three starters from the previous season, integrating promising newcomers such as Riley Ferch, Marcony Pimentel, and Ben Reveno. Forward Milan Iloski had a breakout offensive campaign, scoring 17 goals and leading the country in goals per game (1.06) before signing a homegrown deal with Real Salt Lake. Ferch also had a stellar debut, leading the Pac-12 with nine assists. Highlights for UCLA during the 2019 campaign included a 3-2 win over then-top-ranked Maryland on Sept. 6, and a program-record five-goal game from Iloski on Oct. 6.
The Bruins have had a pair of schedule changes early on in 2021. Monday's contest against USF now represents the season-opening game for UCLA after a Feb. 3 contest against Westmont was cancelled. The Bruins and Warriors will now match up on Feb. 16 at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. The contest at Loyola Marymount was moved up two days, from Feb. 14 to Feb. 12.
Monday's game against the Dons will serve as a reunion of sorts, as USF's head coach is former Bruin defender Leonard Griffin. A 2003 All-American at UCLA, Griffin played in all 89 of the Bruins' games during his collegiate career (2000-03) and won a National Championship in 2002 alongside current Bruin assistant coach Matt Taylor. Griffin is in his second season at the helm of USF's program.
The 2020-21 UCLA squad features 11 newcomers, including a pair of transfers and nine freshmen. Center back Ahmed Longmire joins the Bruins from Division I Utah Valley University, and forward Kevin Diaz (Cerritos College) comes to Westwood from the junior college ranks. UCLA's true freshmen include defender Kasper Strom (Stabaek IF), forward Jose Contell Lechon (Valencia CF), midfielder Tucker Lepley (Sporting KC Academy), forward Grayson Doody (Beach FC), defender Pablo Greenlee (LA Breakers), midfielder Andrew Valverde (LA Breakers), goalkeeper Tyler Kirberg (Phoenix Rising FC), midfielder Connor Manning (Hanworth Villa F.C.), and defender Tommy Silva (Real Salt Lake Academy).