April 10, 2006
HEERENVEEN, Holland - Former UC Santa Barbara All-American and Canadian National Team forward Rob Friend was sold to SC Heerenveen of the Dutch Premier League last week. In other Gaucho soccer news, the United Soccer League's Seattle Sounders announced the signing of standout midfielder and 2005 Team Co-Captain Nate Boyden Monday.
Friend, selected by the Chicago Fire in the fourth round of the 2003 Major League Soccer Superdraft with the 33rd overall pick, will join Heerenveen in late July after being purchased from Molde F.K. for between $1.5-2 million U.S. dollars. He is currently under contract with the Norwegian club until the season ends on July 22.
Playing with the Gauchos in 2001 and 2002, Friend became the first ever player who finished his career at UCSB to be selected to by an MLS team. He was named an NSCAA and College Soccer News All-American in 2002 after setting a school record for goals scored in a season with 20. Friend also helped guide Santa Barbara to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance that year, advancing to the second round before losing to Cal, 2-1.
Boyden signed with the 2005 USL First Division Champion Sounders March 4.
"I'm excited and honored to be in Seattle," said Boyden. "I know that I'm starting my career with the best organization in the USL. That has been made evident early on by working with a very committed coaching staff, front office and personnel. I'm excited to make an impact and help the Sounders repeat as First Division Champs."
The Davis, Calif. native leaves UCSB with six goals and seven assists in 82 matches for his career. A First Team All-Big West selection in 2005, Boyden led all defenders starting 20 of the Gauchos' 21 matches as a senior. An outstanding defensive midfielder, he earned conference second team honors in 2004 after spearheading a defense that finished third in the nation with 0.53 goals against average. Boyden was also a NSCAA First Team Academic All-Region selection as a junior.
The Sounders will begin defense of their title Saturday, May 13 with their home opener against the Minnesota Thunder at Qwest Field. Kickoff is set for 7pm.
Courtesy Seattle Sounders media relations and Canadasoccer.com