Feb. 1, 2006
BERKELEY - The California men's soccer team has signed seven new players for the upcoming 2006 season. The new additions to the Golden Bears program look to add to a strong Cal squad that made its fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and first-ever Elite Eight showing during the 2005 campaign.
Patrick Dolan, a Concord, Calif., native, is a talented midfielder and forward. Dolan has been extensively involved in his club soccer team, DVSC Black Pearl 88' as well as his high school team, De La Salle Varsity. At De La Salle, Dolan was team captain his senior year and earned a varsity letter all four years of his career. As a junior he was the leading goal scorer and helped his team to league championships three consecutive years (2003-2005). In 2003 and 2005, De La Salle was high school section champions. As a member of DVSC Black Pearl 88', Dolan was team captain and guided his team to win the Super Y League National Championships in 2002 and again in 2004. In 2003, his team went the U.S. Club Soccer Regional and National Championships and was CYSA North State Cup Champions from 2000-02. In 2003, Dolan was a member of the Super Y League ODP Regional Pool Team, and in 2004, he was a member of the Super Y League ODP National Pool team. During his senior season, Dolan scored 43 goals and recorded 31 assists, including the winning goal in overtime against Arsenal to advance to the finals of the 2004 North Huntington Beach tournament, in which his team was tournament champions. Not only has Dolan been an outstanding athlete, but he has earned high honors every semester of high school.
Imaan Kerchgani, who hails from San Jose, Calif., will add depth to the midfield position for the Bears. Kerchgani has been a four-year starter on the varsity soccer team for Leigh High School. Last year, he was awarded Offensive MVP and earned first-team all-league honors. Kerchgani has also been extensively involved in his club soccer team, the Santa Clara Ruckus. Last year, his team was State Cup finalists and they also took a trip to England where they participated in three exhibition games. The midfielder has also been a part of the ODP U-14, U-15 and U-16 teams, competing in camps and tournaments. A gifted athlete and student, Kerchgani has made the honor list all four years of high school.
Chris Cortez will join the Golden Bears from Mission Viejo, Calif. As a forward for Trabuco Hills High School's varsity team, Cortez earned South Coast League first-team all-league honors from 2004-05, and in 2005, his team was South Coast League Champions. Cortez has also been a member of the Pateadores club soccer team, which is one of the premier club teams in the nation. In 2005, his team claimed the Nomads College Showcase, Surf Cup, and NHB titles. Cortez has been a scholar-athlete for the past three years.
Josh Leon comes to Cal from Calabasas, Calif., where he was a four-year starter on the Calabasas High School varsity soccer team. As a defender, Leon will provide solid depth in the backfield for the Bears. Last year, Leon received the Defensive MVP award of the Marmonte League and was selected to the all-country first team. Leon played on the U.S. U-17 National Team and is also currently playing club soccer for West Valley Samba U-19 Premier, where he has been the co-captain for over a year. Last spring, his club team won the Cal South Sectionals of the National Cup Tournament and was quarterfinalists in regionals. They also recently won the Cal North/South Premier Cup Championships. In addition to Leon's club team's success, he was selected this past year to the Premier Development Program (PDP) for Cal South where he competed against top teams from around the world.
Anthony Avalos is a talented midfielder who will join the Bears from Morgan Hill, Calif. Avalos has been a member of Live Oaks High School's varsity soccer team for the past four years. Last season, he was selected to the all- league first team and the All-Central Coast Section first team, as well as earning the League MVP award. His sophomore year, Avalos was named Midfielder of the Year and earned All League First-Team honors. As a freshman, he garnered Freshman of the Year and was named to the all-league second team. For the past two years Avalos has been a member of the Santa Clara Ruckus, along with future Cal teammates Imaan Kerchgani and Matthew Sassano. Avalos was also a member of the Olympic Developmental Program (ODP) Regional team from 2000-04, where he earned a starting position in 2004 and was a camp participant.
Matthew Sassano, a gifted center midfielder and defensive back, joins Cal soccer from Orinda, Calif. Sassano has been a member of the Miramonte High School varsity soccer team for the past four years, where he has been the team captain his junior and senior years and earned all-league first team honors three consecutive seasons. In 2003 and again in 2004, his team was North Coast Sectional Champions, and in 2004-05, his team was DFAL League champions. As a member of the club soccer team, Santa Clara Ruckus, Sasano's team was the 2005 Super Y League Regional Champions and National Semi-Finalists. His club team was also US Club Region IV Champions, US Club National Finalists and Surf Cup Quarter-Finalists. Sassano comes to Cal with valuable international training experience. Last year, he trained in London and in 2001 he participated in the Gothia Cup in Sweden and the Vildbjerg Cup in Denmark. His older brother, Luke, is currently a sophomore on the Cal soccer team.
Midfielder Hector Jimenez joins the Bears from Bell Gardens, Calif. As a member of the Arsenal Soccer Club for the past four years, Jimenez's team has won several tournaments, including the Surf Cup, Nomads Cup, Celtic Cup and the Delco Cup. His club team was State Cup National Champions in 2004 and again in 2005. While living in Bradenton, Fla., Jimenez was a member of the U-17 National Team.