Aug. 22, 2006
Cal Plays Dons, Broncos in Bay Area Classic
The California men's soccer team opens its 100th year of competition with the Bay Area Classic, hosting San Francisco at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, at Edwards Stadium and playing at Santa Clara at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27, at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Cal returns six starters and a talented group of 14 letterwinners from 2005. Senior midfielder Nick Hatzke returns from a redshirt season due to injury and will be a key for the Golden Bears. He was Cal 's leading scorer, with 22 points, in 2004.
Also back is junior midfielder Andrew Jacobson, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and Cal 's top returning scorer (4 goals, 7 assists,15 points) from 2005. Jacobson was second to current junior midfielder/forward Luke Sassano in assists, as the latter had eight, along with two goals and 12 points, last year. Sassano and senior midfielder Eric Ebert were 2005 honorable mention All-Pac-10 picks. Another senior, defender Steve Purdy, was a second-team All-Pac-10 pick in 2005.
The Bears hold a No.11 ranking in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll, a No. 20 ranking in the Soccer America top 25 poll and a No. 14 ranking in the College Soccer News poll. The Pac-10 coaches poll picked Cal to finish second in the conference this year.
2005 in Review
Last season, Cal head coach Kevin Grimes led his team to a 14-4-3 record, a 6-3-1 Pac-10 mark and a second-place conference finish. The Bears' run to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament marked Cal's best postseason campaign in its century of existence.
Cal beat USF, 2-1, during the regular season last year. The Bears eliminated Santa Clara in the second round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, in which the Bears tied the Broncos, 0-0, and advanced, 5-4, on penalties to the quarterfinal round. That marked Cal's most successful run in the NCAA Tournament. Cal also beat Santa Clara, 1-0, during the 2005 regular season.
Scouting the Dons
San Francisco is unranked in the NSCAA/adidas poll but is ranked No.17 in the Soccer America poll. The Dons had an 11-6-4 record last year, when they also compiled a 6-3-3 record to win their second straight West Coast Conference crown. San Francisco lost to SMU, 2-1,in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
USF's top returning starters are senior forward Aaron Chandler (6 goals,6 assists, 18 points), senior midfielder Matt Languis (4,7,15) and junior defender Rob Valentino (4,2,10), who was the 2005 WCC Defender of the Year and a first-team All-WCC selection. Chandler, along with senior goalkeeper Geremy Uhl (0.77 goals-against average), were on the All-WCC second team.
Erik Visser, the 2005 WCC Co-Coach of the Year, is in his sixth year as head coach of the Dons, who were picked to win the 2006 WCC title in the conference coaches' poll.
Scouting the Broncos
Santa Clara, which was picked to finish second in the WCC this year, had a 13-6-3 record (6-4-2 WCC) and took second in the WCC last year.
Besides junior midfielder Peter Lowery (second-team All-WCC pick) and sophomore defender Jide Ogunbiyi (honorable mention All-WCC, WCC All-Freshman team), the Broncos boast freshman defender/midfielder Amaechi Igwe, who played for the U.S. under-20 and under-17 national teams in 2005.
Cameron Rast is in his fifth year as head coach of his alma mater.