UCSB Men's Soccer Adds Nine Standouts on National Signing Day

UCSB vs. Cal Poly match time changed to 5:00 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 27.
UCSB vs. Cal Poly match time changed to 5:00 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 27.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Four-time reigning Big West North Champion UC Santa Barbara has reloaded for the 2017 season with a stellar incoming recruiting class featuring seven freshmen and a pair of transfers as unveiled by head coach Tim Vom Steeg on National Signing Day. 

Four of the incoming freshmen are nationally ranked, while the transfers include a Division II All-American and a two-time Goalkeeper of the Year. 

"Thanks to the work of the entire coaching staff, we are continuing to bring in young players who we believe will develop over time to become some of the best players in the country," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "We are also keenly aware with the earlier movement of players to professional soccer that we have to sign a certain number of transfer students who can provide us the maturity and experience to win games now while we spend the time needed to develop our younger players."

"Both of these objectives will be met starting with this first group of announced players and as we announce our completed class in the weeks to come."

Thanks in part to strong recruiting, UCSB has maintained one of the best programs on the West Coast since Vom Steeg took over in 1999. In that time, the Gauchos have taken home the 2006 National Championship, 10 Big West Championships, two College Cup berths, and 14 postseason appearances. UCSB has consistently brought in high-level recruits from around the world, as evidenced by the nine Big West Freshman of the Year awards won by Gauchos since 2002, by far the most in the league. 

Stay tuned to UCSBGauchos.com in the coming weeks, as the UCSB men's soccer program is planning to announce the signing of an additional three transfers to complete the recruiting class. 

Brief bios and scouting reports for each of UCSB's newest stars can be found below. 



Kaya Fabbretti

Position: Forward/Midfielder

Year (in fall): Freshman

Previous Club: San Jose Earthquakes Academy

Hometown: San Jose, Calif. 

Rankings: No. 22 National (College Soccer News), No. 4 Northern California Region (Top Drawer)

Bio: A product of the San Jose Earthquakes Academy, Fabbretti is regarded as one of the highest-rated players in California. He has scored 46 goals and 32 assists for the Earthquakes during his three-year US Devleopment Academy career. Also a standout in the classroom, Fabretti has maintained a 4.0 GPA while attending Branham High School in San Jose, Calif. 

Tim's Take: "Kaya is an all around attacking player who is comfortable playing any of the attacking positions. We are anticipating that he will be able to contribute assists and goals even as a freshman given the high standard of play he has experienced with the San Jose Earthquakes academy."




Omari Fontes

Position: Defender

Year (in fall): Freshman

Previous Club: Sacramento Republic FC Academy

Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.

Rankings: No. 79 National, No. 6 Northern California, No. 22 Defender (Top Drawer)

Bio: A versatile defender out of Northern California, Fontes comes to UCSB with plenty of experience despite being a true freshman. After three years in his Regional ODP program, he spent two seasons in the San Juan Academy before making the move to Sac Republic FC. He was a key member of the 2016 Sac Republic US Development Academy team that qualified for the playoffs in their inaugural season. 

Tim's Take: "Omari has made steady improvement as a player over his youth career and we believe he will really take off when he enters our program. He is blessed with raw physically abilities but more importantly for his future success is his excellent understanding of the game."



Rodney Michael

Position: Forward

Year (in fall)Freshman

Previous Club: Santa Barbara Soccer Club

Previous School: Dunn School

Hometown: Freetown, Sierra Leone

Ranking: No. 15 Southern California (Top Drawer)

Bio: Michael was a star at both the club and high school levels after coming to the United States in 2014 from Sierra Leone via the Craig Bellamy Foundation. He has been a three-year starter at Dunn School in Los Olivos, Calif. and has scored an impressive 62 goals in his career while winning the CIF Championship in 2015 and being awarded First Team All-CIF honors in the same season. With SBSC, he won the 2016 U-18 National Championship and earned Best-XI honors. Michael will graduate a year early from Dunn School to attend UCSB and compete for the Gauchos in the fall. 

Tim's Take: "Rodney is one of the more dynamic attacking players to enter the college game this fall. He is difficult to stop in a 1 v 1 situation and has the ability to attack from different places on the field but really excels when playing in the wide areas. Between Kaya and Rodney, we feel like we have really addressed one of our issues we had last year when it came to breaking teams down."




Rhys Pak

Position: Defender

Year (in fall): Freshman

Previous Club: De Anza Force Academy

Hometown: Santa Cruz, Calif.

Ranking: No. 102 National (College Soccer News)

Bio: An attack-minded outside back, Pak spent his youth career with a pair of Bay Area US Development Academies: the San Jose Earthquakes and the De Anza Force. He was the captain of the U-16 Earthquakes in 2014 and 2015 before moving to De Anza. Pak has competed at the Generation Adidas Cup, an elite tournament run by Major League Soccer to test MLS Academies against international sides as well as against each other. Pak graduated from Pacific Collegiate High School a semester early and is currently taking classes at UCSB. 

Tim's Take: "Rhys was recruited to UCSB because we feel that he can develop into one of the programs best two-way attacking right backs. He is physically gifted with size and speed and we believe will continue to improve on the technical and technical aspects of his game as he plays with and against some of the best forwards in the country."


Pablo Adrian Adames

Position: Defender

Year (in fall): Freshman

Previous Club: Santutxu FC Juvenil B

Hometown: Bilbao, Spain

Bio: Adames is a defender who hails from Bilbao, Spain. At just seventeen years of age, Adames played for Santutxu, who competes in the National League, the second-highest youth league in Spain. He will be the second Spanish-born player to attend UCSB, and the first since 2006 College Cup MVP Nick Perrera. 

Tim's Take: "Adrian is a different type of defender than what we typically find in the United States. He is big, strong, and fast, but having been trained in the Spanish youth system, he is as technical as any other player on the field. Even though there will be an adjustment to the college game, we believe that he will be able to contribute to our success as a freshman."



Kavian Kashani

Position: Defender

Year (in fall): Freshman

Previous School/Club: Palisades High School / Orange County Blues FC

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

Bio: Kashani was a star at both the high school and club levels, captaining Palisades High School to an undefeated league season in 2015 and then serving as the youngest player on Orange County Blues U-23 team, a member of the USL. He started every game for the U-23s this past season. Kashani is currently enrolled at UCSB and taking classes for winter quarter.

Tim's Take: "Kavian is a big, strong, physical defender who will help to add depth to the center back position. Even with his size, he is very skillful and comfortable on the ball which will translate very well into how we want to play out of the back."



Giovanny Acosta

Position: Defender

Year (in fall): Freshman

Previous Club: Santa Barbara Soccer Club

Last School: Ventura College

Hometown: Santa Paula, Calif.

Bio: Acosta has been a mainstay with Santa Barbara Soccer Club, winning three national championships (2012, 13, 16) with the club. He also won three Regional Championships (2012, 13, 16) with SBSC while making five appearances in USYSA Nationals. 

Tim's Take: "One of the more recognizable players locally is Giovanny who was part of multiple national championships for Santa Barbara Soccer Club. Although he played numerous positions at the youth level, we believe he can be a top performer at the left back position. He has the rare combination not found in many players today of being equally good at defending and attacking."



Hanno Antoni

Position: Midfielder

Year (in fall): Graduate

Previous School: Berry College

Hometown: Mannheim, Germany

Bio: Antoni, a German midfielder, transfers to UCSB after two seasons at Barry College in Miami. He was named a Division II First Team All-American this past season after leading his league with 13 goals and four assists, five of those goals being game-winners. 

Tim's Take: "We are very pleased that a player of Hanno's ability has decided to pursue a graduate degree at UCSB. He was a highly regarded player back in Germany and has had a lot of success at the Division II level. His greatest strength as a player is his versatility which will allows us as a coaching staff to use him in different positions and in different roles. Because of his age and maturity, we are expecting him to not only set a good example but to be one of the leaders on the team."



Ricardo Montoy

Position: Goalkeeper

Year (in fall): Junior

Previous School: Taft College

Hometown: Corcoran, Calif.

Bio: Montoy spent the first two years of his career at Taft College, where he was the team's starting goalie from day one. He has started 44 games for the Cougars, and was a two two-time Central Valley Conference Goalkeeper of the Year. In 2016, Montoy led Taft College to a California Community College State Semifinal appearance. On the year he allowed just 16 goals over 24 games while recording 14 shutouts. 

Tim's Take: "Ricardo had two excellent years playing at Taft College leading his team to a Final Four appearance this past fall. He is a different type of goalie than what we have now in the program and he will help to bring back competition for the starting position at UCSB next fall."