Steve Birnbaum and the Bears host SDSU and UCLA in Pac-12 play this weekend

Birny's Blog

Steve Birnbaum writes about the team's first loss of the season and bouncing back
By Cal Athletics on Wed, September 25, 2013

Fifth-year senior defender Steve Birnbaum is chronicling the Golden Bears' 2013 season in his weekly blog. As of Oct. 30, the Cal co-captain ranks second in the Pac-12 Conference with 17 points and eight goals.

Oct. 30 - On San Diego and Looking Ahead

This past weekend the Cal men’s soccer team suffered its first loss to non-conference opponent University of San Diego. It was a battle for both teams, but seemed as if it just wasn’t our day. Things didn’t click on either side of the ball. Although this loss was brutal, it was also humbling. Our record now stands at 10-1-2 half way through conference play. We are now focusing all of our attention on the upcoming games this weekend against SDSU and UCLA. Our trainings and preparation this week are sharper than ever and we are excited for the final home games of league.

This weekend is especially exciting for our five seniors: Alec Sundly, Ryan Neil, Robby Gogatz, Luis Fuentes, and myself. Our senior day will be held on Sunday November 3rd  right before our game against our rivals UCLA. We are hoping for a big turnout for our final home game of the season, so spread the word!

While the season is in full swing, so is North v. South. The series is tied at 6-6 and really starting to heat up. The South has managed to make a huge comeback and push to win this year. We are looking forward to seeing everyone out there this weekend!

Until next week Berkeley,

Birny Out!

Oct. 23 – On Stanford and Down Time

On Sunday we faced our archnemesis Stanford. The game was physical, competitive and aggressive; a classic Bay Area Derby. Both teams created opportunities but couldn’t capitalize. The match came down to the final minutes when true freshman Nick Lima drew a penalty kick. This led to us defeating Stanford 1-0 in a vital conference match-up. On a side note, I would like to give a shout out to all of the fans that came out and supported us, all 2,012 of you. It created an amazing atmosphere and was great to be a part of. Our record now stands at 10-0-2 still undefeated halfway through conference play.

Throughout this week guys have been busy studying for midterms and preparing for our match against USD on Friday. When there is down time though, many like to indulge in TV series. Some hitters right now are “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO that Robby Gogatz and I watch, while senior Alec Sundly prefers “American Horror Story: Coven” on FX. Others such as Justin Taillole and Ryan Neil are hooked on the new Grand Theft Auto V on Xbox. All in all, the team is staying composed and close knit as the season continues.

North v. South update: 6-5 North.

Until next week Berkeley,

Birny Out!

Oct. 18 – On SDSU, UCLA, Stanford and North vs. South

This week's update on Cal men's soccer continues with two solid performances over the weekend in Southern California. Against both SDSU and UCLA we fell behind, but in both cases we were able to pull out two victories. Since this weekend we only have one game against our crosstown rival, Stanford, we have had complete focus on preparation throughout the week. The game isn't until Sunday, giving us time to scout and get jacked up for the Bay Area derby. Our game is on Sunday at 2:30 Edwards Stadium, and we’re hoping that there will be a solid fan base of students and families attending the match!

On the other side of the ball, off the field, the team is staying relaxed. We have continued in our weekly rituals of Super Smash Brother battles, fantasy football and our favorite breakfast burritos from Berkeley Bowl. Lastly, the south team was able to pick up a crucial win last weekend, with the golden goal coming from Luis Fuentes. This puts the standings at 6-4 North. Hoping to see everyone on Sunday!

Until next week Berkeley,

Birny Out!

Oct. 8 – Pac-12 Season in Full Swing

Cal men's soccer opened conference play over the weekend taking on Oregon State and Washington. On Thursday against Oregon State we came out firing, forcing the opponent to bunker in. We dominated possession throughout the match, which led to our eventual win of 3-1.

After two days off, we played ranked opponent Washington in a double-overtime battle. Connor Hallisey scored a beautiful free kick to put us up going into the second half. As time ticked on in the game the Huskies were able to tie it up from a corner kick, forcing the game into overtime. The game went back and forth during the OT periods, but no one was able to grab the W. Our record now stands at 7-0-2 heading into this weekend’s games.

We travel down south to face San Diego State and UCLA this weekend. This trip is always exciting and entertaining, especially for the SoCal guys. Since our game against SDSU is on a Thursday we have an extra day to relax and prepare for Sunday’s game against UCLA. On our way up the coast we will be stopping at Laguna Beach for a recovery swim and some fun. This has become somewhat of a tradition for our team while in Southern California. The guys seem loose and excited for the weekend and the challenges ahead!

And here's a North vs. South update: The North leads, 6-3.

Until next week Berkeley,

Birny Out!

Oct. 1 - Santa Clara and North vs. South

Over the past weekend Cal men's soccer took on one of our Bay Area rivals, Santa Clara. Although it seemed as if we had control throughout most of the game, the opponent forced us into overtime. We came out firing in the first OT, creating chances, keeping Santa Clara on their heels. Then came a bit of magic from junior forward Max Oldham, taking on a defender and striking the ball towards the far post, where senior Alec Sundly finished it in the back of the net. Because of this, our undefeated streak continues and pushes us into conference at a 6-0-1 record.

As we prepare this week for our two conference games, many of the players are eager for our weekly North vs. South game, which occurs on the practice before a match. This controversial game splits the players into teams from where their hometown is in either Northern or Southern California. South tied it up last week with a magnificent strike from Bobby Sekine to end the game. Thus far the series is split at 3-3 between the teams. Bragging rights are on the line every week and will continue to be until the end of the season.

Until next week Berkeley,

Birny Out!

Sept. 25 - Another Good Week

For those who don't know me, I'm Steven Birnbaum (aka Birny), one of the co captains for the Cal men's soccer team. I will be giving a weekly update and inside look at our team throughout the rest of the season.

Over the past weekend, we took on both Colgate and the College of Charleston. Although these teams put up a good fight, we were able to pick up two wins over the weekend. It became obvious that the offense has started to click seeing that we scored six goals in two games, coming from multiple sources. The defense also had a solid performance by only allowing one goal over the weekend. These games improved our record to 5-0-1, keeping an undefeated record through the first four weeks of our season.

On another note, the team off the pitch has kept its cool. As usual there are daily Super Smash battles on N64 down at the Dwight district where most of the team lives. Also there are many discussions about fantasy football, dealing with trades and such. We have tried not to focus on rankings for soccer and just continue on with our daily activities. There will be more updates next week on not just soccer but the lifestyle of the Cal men's soccer team. 

Until next week Berkeley,

Birny Out!


Dress Your Pet 2015
Any Mountain
Playing for the Future Gilead
Inside the Locker Room
Muscle Milk Student Athlete of the Week