Dec. 15, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior defender Andy Iro was a named an All-American for the third consecutive season this week, earning second team honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and garnering a College Soccer News First Team selection. Sophomore midfielder Ciaran O'Brien was named to the CSN All-America Third Team.
One of the most decorated players in program history, Iro becomes the first Gaucho to be named an All-American in each of his four seasons at UCSB after receiving freshman honors in 2004. The Liverpool, England native earned a second straight NSCAA/adidas Second Team selection after leading Santa Barbara to an overall record of 13-4-4 and to a sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007. A preseason All-American and Hermann Trophy Candidate, Iro led a Gaucho defense that posted a 1.04 goals against average and six shutouts this season and went on to earn the Big West Defensive Player of the Year award for the third year in a row.
Regarded as one of the premiere defenders in the country the last four years, Iro leaves UCSB after scoring 10 goals and dishing out four assists in 87 career matches. With the 6-foot-5 defender anchoring the backline, the Gauchos made two appearances in the College Cup and advanced to the championship match in 2004 and then again in 2006. Iro was named a College Soccer News First Team All-American after guiding Santa Barbara to the program's first NCAA National Championship last season.
UCSB has an overall record of 64-19-9 (.745) since Iro arrived in Santa Barbara.
An NSCAA Freshman All-American last season at the University of San Diego, O'Brien proved to be an excellent addition for the Gauchos in his first year in the blue and gold. The native of Federal Way, Wash. led UCSB and the Big West Conference with 25 points on seven goals and 11 assists and either scored or assisted on 12 of the Gauchos' last 21 goals overall. O'Brien picked up two of his assists in Santa Barbara's 4-3 loss at Ohio State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 2. He was named the Big West Midfielder of the Year and also earned Soccer America and College Soccer News national team of the week honors on three occasions.
Iro and O'Brien became eligible for All-American honors after being named First Team All-Far West Region by the NSCAA earlier this week. A school-record four Gauchos were named to the all-region squad, with teammates Eric Avila and Chris Pontius earning All-Far West second and third team distinction, respectively.
Avila was also a Hermann Trophy Candidate and preseason All-American in 2007 and went on to earn his third straight All-Big West First Team selection after finishing the regular season with four goals and eight assists. Over the last two seasons, the Gauchos are 11-0 win Avila finds the net.
Pontius earned his first-career all-region selection after a breakout season in 2007. Entering the year with just four goals in 43 career matches, the Yorba Linda, Calif. native moved to the forward position and went on to lead the conference with 11 goals and 24 points during the regular season. He was named the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year for his performance.