Aug. 19, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 2010 UCSB men's soccer team will take the field for the first time on Saturday when it hosts cross-town rival Westmont in an exhibition game on Meredith Field at Harder Stadium at 7 p.m.
While there will be several new faces taking to the pitch in the blue and gold this season, the area of the field that will be most recognizable to Gaucho fans will be the midfield as UCSB returns its entire crop of midfielders from the 2009 campaign.
"I think the strength (of the team) is in our midfield," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said. "It is a group that has a lot of experience - three years, a lot of starts, a lot of big games. I think on top of that, we have added some players to our midfield mix that will allow us to move those guys around and not have to necessarily rely on them every single game and every single minute."
Among the Gauchos' returning midfielders are 2009 Big West Midfielder of the Year junior Danny Barrera, First Team All-Big West pick junior Luis Silva, Second Team All-Big West selection junior Michael Tetteh and the 2009 Big West Freshman of the Year sophomore Machael David. The foursome logged a combined 7,991 minutes for UCSB during the 2009 season and three have four NCAA Tournament games under their belts.
Barrera, who was named a Second Team Preseason All-American by College Soccer News, is tops among returners for points after tallying five goals and team-best nine assists (19 points) in 2009. Silva was third on the squad after notching 13 points (4 goals, 5 assists).
Tetteh dished out five assists during the year while splitting his time between the midfield and the back line. Meanwhile, David tallied a goal and four assists during his rookie season.
Also returning are sophomores Nic Ryan, Josue Madueno and Christian Ramirez, who all earned minutes towards the end of the season and will help provide further experience and depth in the midfield. Christian Vazquez, who has transferred to UCSB after two seasons at UCLA, adds two more seasons of Division I experience to the Gaucho roster.
"I like the freshmen group we had last year," Vom Steeg said. "In addition to that, we again, have recruited a little bit for the future, but we may find that the future is now."
Among the Gauchos' newcomers are freshmen Fifi Baiden, a native of Ghana who recently graduated from Dunn School in Los Olivos, Rey Ezra-Simbwa (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo HS) and Jonathan Canales (Santa Ana, Calif./JSerra Catholic HS).
"Fifi is a very good player who we see being able to help right away," Vom Steeg said. "The other players will have to show that they can get on a Division I field. Their time may be a little later in the season, but these are all quality players that we have brought into this area."
We will conclude our 2010 season preview on Friday with a look at the Gaucho forwards.
To read Wednesday's preview of the defenders and goalkeepers, click here.
The Gauchos open the 2010 season this Saturday when they host Westmont in an exhibition match on the newly resurfaced Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.
Season tickets for the 2010 soccer season are now available. All season ticket packages include tickets for the 2010 Men's College Cup, which is being hosted by UCSB on Dec. 10-12 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. Individual season tickets start at just $75 and include one ticket to all home men and women's regular season games and one 2010 Men's College Cup all-session ticket. UCSB staff and faculty can purchase their season tickets for a reduced rate of $50.
To purchase your tickets for the 2010 soccer season or for more information, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online by clicking here.