SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Entering the 2013 campaign, UC Santa Barbara will field one of its most experienced and battle tested rosters in program history. The projected starting XI boasts five returning seniors while the team has six overall – the first time since 2005 that the squad has entered the season with five or more healthy senior starters.
Headlining the 2013 senior class is forward Achille Campion, who electrified Harder Stadium last season by scoring in six of his seven appearances. A constant threat, Campion even put a season-high five shots on frame in his only goalless start. Though injuries plagued his 2012 season, he enters the 2013 campaign at full health and figures to be the focal point of the UCSB offense in the final third.
While it will be Campion's job to score goals, a quartet of seniors will be tasked with preventing scoring chances.
Midfielder Fifi Baiden will look to build upon his stellar 2012 year that saw him garner All-Big West First Team accolades. He plays a role that receives little glory as a holding midfielder, but is a key cog for the Gauchos, as his defensive prowess allows UCSB's fullbacks to enter the attack with more confidence. A two-year starter, Baiden's on-field cognitive abilities have been reinforced by a Big West All-Academic award, making him a go-to teammate for younger Gauchos.
In 2012, Schmetz struggled for fitness and form, as he was sidelined for all but eight games throughout the season. A full offseason to regain his health should again make Schmetz the topic of nightmares for Big West forwards, which he has shown the ability to be as evidenced by his All-Big West selection in 2011, a year in which the German national also led the squad in minutes played. His 6-6 stature and aerial ability should greatly improve the Gauchos ability to weather crosses and corner kicks, an area UCSB struggled in last year.
Arriving from UMBC, Daniel Welsh rose in Schmetz's absence to become the anchor of UCSB's defense. The Scot started 17 games for the Gauchos – most among the team's defenders – and played a role in four shutouts. By maintaining his 2012 level of play, that shutout figure should rise substantially.
Fellow defender Matt Glodack enters his fourth season as a collegiate starter, and his third as a Gaucho. The New Jersey native featured in 18 games for the Gauchos in 2012 and was also named to the Big West All-Academic Team. His return from a season-ending concussion in 2011 to a dependable figure on defense was one of the more inspiring storylines from last year's team, and there's no reason to think he won't continue to provide a high level of play for UCSB moving forward.
Make sure not to miss a moment of these six phenoms' last seasons at UCSB before they enter the professional ranks. Season ticket plans start as low as $5 a game and grant you permission to all 12 of the Gauchos' regular season games. Season ticket holders will also receive a UCSB loyalty scarf along with their purchase.
To learn more about season seat options, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or browse online here.