Can Twins Turn Passion into Production?

DYNAMIC DUO - The Farfan twins, Gabriel in white and Michael in blue, are freshmen the Titans are leaning on to contribute immediately in Bob Ammann's first season as the head coach of the men's soccer team at Cal State Fullerton. So far, Michael Farfan has two game-winning goals this season for CSUF.

Cal State Fullerton men's soccer players Michael and Gabriel Farfan like to practice their soccer techniques wherever they can find a patch of grass and rehearse crazy tricks for hours.

The twins and their younger brother even have a 6:37 video clip posted on youtube.com that can be found by typing in "Farfan Bros." in the search box.

"It's Ronaldihno-type stuff," Titan Head Coach Bob Ammann said of the video. "It's one thing to be able to work on them and it's another thing, then, to work to implement into your game and they've been able to do that."

The Titan soccer program is looking to both Michael and Gabriel to be immediate contributors, injecting life into a program that hasn't seen much success in recent seasons.

Ammann, in his first year as coach, said he made recruiting the Farfans a priority. "I think they are the perfect components to build a team around," Ammann said. "Obviously building the team does not happen overnight. They are the kind of kids and the type of players I want associated with the program."

The men's soccer team is 4-4-1 after Sunday's win against UNLV. This season, the team is playing much better than last year, with 16 goals scored in nine games. In 2005 they scored 23 goals in 19 games.

"When you have players like them, that have a passion, it becomes infectious," Ammann said. "You can't expect to come here and have it all fun, you're going to have to work hard. So if you don't have that passion, that desire, it's going to be laborious. It's going to be a job. At this level it shouldn't be a job."

Michael and Gabriel said their soccer passion comes from their family.

"Our family revolves around soccer," Gabriel said. "We just grew up with a ball."

They practice dribbling the ball on their shoulders, controlling the ball with their back heel or head and imagine faking defenders.

Their drive took them from child proteges to high school starters as freshman to the Bradenton Academy in Florida with the U.S. National Soccer Team Under-17 soccer program.

The twins are not "soccer robots," their former high school coach said.

"They are very passionate about their studies," Paul Avalos said, the former coach at Castle Park High in Chula Vista. "When they were here, they were in the top four in class."

The Farfans only played at Castle Park one season, and even though Avalos knew the family he didn't have them in the starting lineup.

Then, on the day of the first league game, five of the starters decided not to show for the game and went to a Rolling Stones concert instead.

"I was scrambling to fill out the lineup and their mother came over and whispered in my ear, 'Start Michael and Gabriel up front,'" Avalos said.

Avalos doesn't remember the final score, but he remembers that the twins scored seven goals between them.

The Farfans where highly recruited coming out of the academy, but chose Cal State Fullerton because of its proximity to San Diego.

"A lot of schools were talking to us from the East Coast, but I love California," Michael said. "So I wanted to stay close to home, but not too close."

Ammann said the rest of the team looks up to Michael and Gabriel as leaders and more than anything else, the other players respect the Farfan brothers' soccer ability.

"Both of them have the ability to change games," Ammann said. "There's not too many teams that have one, we are fortunate to have two. The boys, as long as they continue to stay focused and work and strive to be better, they have a definite future above and beyond the college game."