Feb. 13, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Continuing to add pieces for the 2008 season, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team has signed six players from California to National Letters of Intent, head coach Tim Vom Steeg announced Wednesday. Highlighting the list of talented high school seniors is Vincent Alvarez (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) and Michael Tetteh (Los Olivos, Calif./Dunn School).
In addition to Alvarez and Tetteh, four other standouts have agreed to wear the blue and gold next season. Midfielders Rod Fahmian (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly HS) and Robbie Tulchin (Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes HS), as well as defender Tim Pontius (Yorba Linda, Calif./Servite HS) and forward David Ponce (Foothill Ranch, Calif./Trabuco Hill HS) will join the Gauchos this fall.
"Recruiting local players is very important to the success of our program," Vom Steeg said. "We are fortunate that California continues to produce such skilled players at the high school level and that we are able to attract some of the most talented players in the state each and every year."
Vincent Alvarez comes to UCSB after scoring 16 goals and dishing out 10 assists as a senior at Santa Barbara High School. He led the Dons to an overall record of 19-3-3 and to their fourth consecutive Channel League title with a mark of 7-1-0 last season. A two-time all-league first team selection, Alvarez is a technical player expected to add depth on the right side of the midfield. He also earned back-to-back All-CIF honors as a junior and senior at SBHS and was an All-Channel League First Team selection as the place kicker on the football team. Alvarez competes with DMS11 and SoCal United at the club level.
Santa Barbara has also signed Michael Tetteh to help bolster the midfield next season. A two-time All-CIF First Team selection, Tetteh will don the blue and gold after tallying 15 goals and eight assists last season at Dunn School. He was named Team MVP after guiding the Earwig's to the 2007-08 Condor League title. In three years at Dunn, Tetteh amassed 30 goals and dished out 50 assists. The Accra, Ghana native has also spent six years with the Right to Dream Football Academy and three years with the Santa Barbara Soccer Club.
"We're very pleased that Vincent and Michael have elected to stay in town and play at UCSB," Vom Steeg said. "The local community will have an excellent opportunity to watch these two players develop at the next level when they take the field at Harder Stadium."
Adding depth at the D-mid position or on the backline will be Rod Fahmian. A four-year letterwinner at Riverside Poly High School, Fahmian was also a member of the Region IV Olympic Development squad and has competed for some of the most noted club teams in California, including Arsenal FC, South Coast Bayern, and the Chivas USA Academy. Whether he sees time as a holding midfielder or as a central defender, Fahmian will help fill the void on defense left by the graduation of three-time All-American Andy Iro, Greg Curry, and Brennan Tennelle.
Robbie Tulchin and Tim Pontius have both had excellent prep careers and will help strengthen the Santa Barbara defense in 2008. Having led Palos Verdes High School to back-to-back CIF championships in 2006 and 2007, Tulchin comes to Santa Barbara with the tools necessary to succeed at the Division I level. A two-time All-Bay League First Team honoree, Tulchin scored five goals and dished out 14 assists as a junior and led the Seakings to an overall record of 22-2-7 in the process. He spent four years with Palos Verdes Soccer Club.
Pontius joins his brother Chris, as well as former Gauchos Jeff Murphy and Matt Kubota, to become the fourth player from Servite High School to play at UCSB this decade. A true center back, Pontius currently leads the Friars with 10 goals and has guided the team to a school-record 16 shutouts this season. He was named the Trinity League Defensive MVP as a junior and is expected to take home the award again in 2008. In addition to playing for one of the nation's top programs at Servite, Pontius is a member of the West Coast Premiere club team.
Lastly, David Ponce will add versatility and athleticism up front. A talented forward and midfielder at Trabuco Hills High School, Ponce has tremendous size and should make an immediate impact for the Gauchos next fall. The Foothill Ranch, Calif. native has competed at the highest levels of club soccer, guiding the U-17 Pateadores to the CalSouth Premiere State Championship in 2007. He also led the team to the finals of the CYSA National Cup and led his former club team, the Irvine Strikers, to a regional championship in 2006. Ponce recorded 28 goals and 19 assists in 34 games in 2006-07.
Along with U.S. Youth National Team players Bryan Dominguez and Danny Barrera, the Gauchos now have a total of eight players who have committed to play for UCSB during the early signing period. The coaching staff expects to sign two or three more players before the start of the season to complete what will undoubtedly be one of the top recruiting classes in the nation yet again in 2008.