Dec. 10, 2010
BERKELEY - California placed five men's soccer players on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Far West Region teams and head coach Kevin Grimes earned the NSCAA/Mondo Far West Regional Coach of the Year award, the NSCAA announced on Wednesday. Junior goalkeeper David Bingham, senior forward Davis Paul and senior defender A.J. Soares claimed spots on the first team, senior midfielder Hector Jimenez earned a berth on the second team and senior midfielder Servando Carrasco garnered third-team honors.
"With the historic season that Cal had, it is only fitting that these five players received national recognition," Grimes said. "This is the first time that Cal has ever had this many players receive All-Far West honors. All five had tremendous seasons and were a major factor in us getting to the elite eight."
It has been a busy week for soccer honors, as four of those five Bears - Carrasco, Jimenez, Paul and Soares - also earned invitations to the 2011 MLS Combine on Dec. 9.
Grimes led Cal to the NCAA Tournament's quarterfinal round, a 14-2-4 overall record, an 8-1-1 Pac-10 record and the Pac-10 championship. Also named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for an unprecedented fifth time this season, including 2002 and 2005-07, Grimes coached a squad that was arguably the best team in program history. The 2010 Bears matched the 2005 Bears for Cal's deepest postseason run and, unlike that 2005 team, won the conference crown.
This year's team also set the school record in assists with 49 and strung together an eight-game unbeaten streak. Prior to the Dec. 10 and 12 NCAA Men's College Cup, Cal ranked in the top 10 of these NCAA statistical categories: save percentage (3rd at .884), won-lost-tied percentage (6th at 0.80), scoring offense (10th with 2.10 goals per game) and total goals (tied for 10th with 42).
Bingham, the only Cal goalkeeper to play this season, was amazing in the nets. A two-time All-Pac-10 team member, Bingham posted a 0.77 goals-against average (ranking 25th nationally), a .884 save percentage (3rd nationally) and eight shutouts while playing 1,978 minutes and 40 seconds. Bingham blanked his first opponent in Cal's second game of the year - a 0-0 double overtime tie on Sept. 5 at Notre Dame. He made nine saves against the Irish, who posted the most shots (28) of any Cal opponent this season. A product of Pleasanton, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, Bingham collected his last shutout in the NCAA Tournament's third round, when he made three saves to blank Brown, 2-0, on Nov. 28 in Berkeley.
A midfielder, Carrasco posted career highs in points (17) and goals (7) in his final season as a Bear. One of three co-captains along with Jimenez and Soares, Carrasco collected All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 All-Academic honors from 2008-10. The San Diego product was one of five Bears on the 2010 All-Pac-10 first team and a key factor in Cal's Pac-10 championship season. Carrasco converted two of Cal's three penalty kicks, including the equalizer in the Bears' eventual 2-1 double overtime victory over UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA Tournament's second round on Nov. 21 in Berkeley.
One of the top playmakers in program history and a three-time All-Pac-10 first-team member, Jimenez wound up second on Cal's all-time assist list with 28. The Bell Gardens, Calif., native collected two goals and six assists playing in midfield in 2010. Perhaps his biggest goal this season came in an Oct. 29 double overtime match against Washington in Berkeley, where Jimenez scored the game-winning goal in the 109th minute. The first member of his family who will graduate from college, Jimenez earned a spot on the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District team last season.
The 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a two-time first team All-Pac-10 honoree, Soares is also a Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy semifinalist. Under his guidance, the Cal defense allowed just 13 goals during the regular season and posted one postseason shutout in 2010. The central defender was also a key contributor on the offensive end this season, posting career highs in points (11) and goals (5). A native of Solana Beach, Calif., Soares scored the game-winning goal in a 3-0 rout of San Diego State on Oct. 15 in Berkeley. He also earned two Pac-10 Player of the Week honors and Pac-10 All-Academic accolades this year.
The 2010 Bears set the school's single-season assist record thanks in large part to Paul. The Upland, Calif., forward added to his Cal single-season assist record (14, ranking 4th nationally) when he set up sophomore forward John Fitzpatrick for the eventual game-winning goal against Brown in the NCAA Tournament's third round on Nov. 28 in Berkeley. Paul ranks fourth on Cal's career assist list with 21 and scored 30 points (13th nationally) in his final season, tying Carr for sixth place on the school's single-season points list. Paul led the Bears with career highs in goals (8), assists, points and game-winning goals (5) in 2010.
Perhaps his biggest goal of the season came in the postseason win over UCSB, in which Paul scored with one second remaining in the first overtime to give Cal a sudden victory. During the regular season, he led the Pac-10 in points (27), assists (13) and gamewinners (4). Like Soares, he claimed two Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.