Feb. 7, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team has signed U.S. Youth National Team players Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta, Ga./Edison Academy) and Danny Barrera (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake H.S.) to national letters of intent, head coach Tim Vom Steeg announced Thursday. The two talented midfielders will help fill holes left by the departure of Eric Avila and Ciaran O'Brien.
Dominguez and Barrera are the first two recruits in a large 2008 class that the coaching staff plans to announce in the next few weeks.
With Avila and O'Brien leaving for the MLS last month, the defending Big West Champions will look to U.S. National Team standouts Dominguez and Barrera to step in and help replace two key members of the Santa Barbara offense that combined for 11 goals and 19 assists in 2007.
"In Bryan and Danny, we feel as though we have signed two of the most complete players you will find for their age," Vom Steeg said. "Although they are young and it will take some time for them to adjust to the rigors of the college game, these two players are extremely talented and will have a tremendous impact in our program early in their careers after competing at such a high level."
Dominguez comes to Santa Barbara after spending the last two years in the United States National Residency program, where he earned back-to-back NSCAA/adidas Youth All-American accolades. One of just three players born in 1991 to join the Residency in 2006, Dominguez was the starting attacking midfielder on the U-14 through U-17 National Teams and was recently called up to the U-20 camp. He was one of just five players from his age group to make U-17 roster last summer and represented the United States in the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea. A Parade High School All-American, Dominguez competes with the nationally recognized Concorde Fire, one of the Top 10 club teams in the country according to Soccer America.
Like O'Brien, Dominguez is a very quick and skilled attacking center midfielder. He can run the field, receive and keep the ball, and look to score. Dominguez is also considered to be a gifted passer with excellent range.
Dominguez is the first U.S. National Team player to come to UCSB from outside of California.
A two-time NSCAA/adidas Youth All-American, Barrera will don the blue and gold having also spent time in the U.S. Residency program. A member of the U-17 and U-18 men's national team, Barrera was among 24 players selected from the Residency to travel and compete for 30 days in Argentina in 2006. He also competed for the U.S. at the Pan American games last summer and plays for Real So Cal, a squad that has won three consecutive national championships at the club level. Barrera was recently listed No. 1 in RiseMag's list of Top 30 recruits for the class of 2008.
With the ability to play both inside and outside, Barrera is excellent at breaking down defenders and can dribble in and out of tight spaces. A gifted player with the ball much like Avila, he has been recognized as a skilled passer and can also run at the forward position.
Dominguez and Barrera join a Gaucho squad that returns just 13 letterwinners from last year's team that lost to eventual national finalist Ohio State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The coaching staff expects to add several more pieces in the coming weeks however, and with 2007 Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year Chris Pontius and all-conference selections Alfonso Motagalvan and Jon Curry returning next season, UCSB will have three experienced players in place to lead a new-look squad in 2008.