Although the Fall was not what I would consider successful with regards to results I did see improvements. I feel the lack of results was greatly affected by our inexperience. We generally waited for things to happen rather than go out to make them happen. Reactive rather than proactive.
For the first time in recent years we have what I consider a good core returning.
Although we lost our leading goal scorer and Big West Scoring Champion in Eugene Brooks, we return all but 3 players that played. We had a very good off-season and this past Spring was one of our best. We were able to play a consistent group of players that continued to show improvement while playing against excellent competition under some difficult conditions.
The games versus Chivas reserves and Galaxy’s first team were very good barometers for how we were developing and great confidence builders. Although it was only the Spring I was very pleased with our development and level of play. I am expecting us to continue where we left off and use the experience to our advantage this Fall.
It is difficult to say what are strengths and weaknesses will be, which I feel is very positive.
At the moment the biggest question mark is who will consistently put the ball in the back of the net. However, with all of the offensive players available and having the ability to play a number of different players in different attacking formations it should be a strength. We will not be as dependent on Mike and Gabe (the Farfan brothers) to produce our offense which should make them even more dangerous.
The back four that we had this past Spring should be our starting back four come the start of season. The guys played very well limiting our goals against and the opponent’s quality opportunity’s. Matt Sanders who played a lot as a Freshman (in a position that wasn’t ideal for him) was inserted into the back four as one of our centerbacks. I believe that Matt is one of the strongest/toughest kids in the entire country and I am expecting great things from him this year. Pete Kingman, whom we had hoped would be able to play in the Fall, came back and showed why we are so high on him. He played the first two Spring games, scoring in his debut, before requiring surgery that forced him to sit out the rest of the semester. He has fully recovered from the surgery and is busy working on his fitness. We had a number of players playing PDL this summer which allowed them to stay sharp while gaining valuable playing experience.
Our schedule will be very challenging but playing 11 at home should work in our favor. Hopefully we can get good fan support and return it to the home field advantage it once was when we were successful. Our non-conference schedule will allow us to test ourselves against a number of out of region teams. We will only play one non-league game against a Western Region team. We will play 3 teams from the Big Ten as well as take a trip to South Carolina in September. Our league will be extremely challenging. The Big West Conference is developing into one of the toughest conferences in the country. All the teams are improving and with the added push by the league to increase soccer we should continue to see Big West schools vying for NCAA titles.
We have added a number of new players to the team this Fall. Three of our early signings will not be joining us. All three of them had academic issues that prevented them from being eligible to play. Here is a list of the names and a bit of information about each of the new players:
Andres Jarquin is an extremely talented offensive player who comes with a large amount of experience having played with the Guatemalan Senior National team. He will be able to break down defenses on the dribble while being a scoring threat with his shot. Andres gives us a lot of flexibility with his ability to play in midfield or up front.
TJ Detviler is a very good defender. He possesses great speed and has a tenacity that opposing attackers will despise . He is very difficult to beat and will shore us up in the back. TJ was named the MVP of the High School All Star game.
Anthony Terrazas is a local player out of the Pateadores Soccer club. Tony’s got a great workmanlike attitude and competitiveness. A tough gritty defender who can play either in the back or as a defensive mid. He and TJ are Club teammates.
Armando Padilla is a defensive left sided player. Armando also has extensive experience playing in midfield so he will be able to threaten up the left flank playing out of the back. His ability on the ball will link well with our midfield players. Armando plays club soccer with the Irvine Strikers.
Josh Meyer is a big 6’3” target striker. Josh will be a handful for opposing defenses to deal with. Josh will be a Junior transfer from Cerritos College where he helped win their first California Community College state championship. The Falcons capped a 20-3-5 season and finished the season ranked #2 in the country by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), as well as being #1 in the state. Josh was voted a Far West All American.
Ryan Kaylor is an athletic wide player. He has a good engine and will work tirelessly down either flank. Ryan is a transfer from MSAC where he played for two years. Ryan had 7 goals and 7 assists his first year. He will give us added depth and options in the attack.
James Maynard is a sophomore walk-on NAIA transfer. James is a typical British hard nosed defender and is very good in the air. He will need time to adjust to the technical requirements needed in order to develop into a regular player. James will push all of the players to be better in training.
Paul Allison is a Junior transfer walk-on from Hope University. Paul will be one of 4 keepers on the squad and hails from Scotland.