SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Soccer America released its Preseason Top 25 on Wednesday morning and has bestowed UC Santa Barbara men's soccer with the No. 4 spot in the poll, the Gauchos' highest preseason ranking yet.
UCSB has proven to be a consensus top-11 team this preseason as the NSCAA has tabbed the Gauchos as No. 11, TopDrawerSoccer.com has them at No. 10 and College Soccer News and College Sports Madness both have UCSB tabbed as No. 9.
Soccer America has ranked Connecticut as No. 1 and Akron and Maryland round out the top-three, respectively. For the complete poll, click here.
Here is what Soccer America had to say about the Gauchos:
UC Santa Barbara lost Luis Silva, who is starting from MLS's Toronto FC, Sam Garza, who signed a Generation adidas contract with the San Jose Earthquakes, and Ghanaian David Opuko, who joined Finnish club MyPa, but the Gauchos have added quartet of transfers who will keep them in the hunt for a national title.
RETURNEES. Coach Tim Vom Steeg returns a solid nucleus: German goalie Andre Grandt in goal, another German, Peter Schmetz, and Josue Madueno on defense, Ghanaian Fifi Baiden and Nic Ryan in midfield and former U.S. U-17 Dom Sarle up front. Peter McGlynn is back at right back after red-shirting in 2011, and fifth-year senior Machael David has lots of experience at defensive midfield.
NEWCOMERS. Midsummer signing Goffin Boyoko, a former France under-16 national team player and NAIA All-American at Auburn-Montgomery, was the final piece in the UCSB puzzle transfer, a player, like Luis Silva, who can score or create chances for his teammates. Fellow Frenchman Achille Campion also comes from the NAIA ranks, where he scored 47 goals in two seasons at Belhaven. Winger Dion Acoff was a three-time All-Missouri Valley pick at Creighton, which beat UCSB in the third round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. "He's a dynamic, explosive player with great pace and the ability to beat you," Vom Steeg said. "Against us, I thought he was the best player on the field and I also thought he was very good at the final four." Javier Castro helped lead Mt. San Antonio College to its third California community college state championship in 2011 and finished his JC career with 23 goals and 21 assists.
To read the article on Soccer America's website, click here.
UCSB will officially open the 2012 season on Sunday, Aug. 26 at Loyola Marymount. The Gauchos will return home on Sept. 7 to host Valparaiso at 7:30 p.m. at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.
To ensure that you don't miss a minute of the 2012 campaign, purchase your season tickets now. The popular Family Plan includes five tickets for just $178. This year, the plan will also serve as a Flex Plan with either two season passes and three GKids memberships or five tickets – it's your call! GKids remains the best value in town for kids with access to every regular season game in every sport while wearing your GKids t-shirt. Call (805) 893-UCSB or click here to purchase your season tickets.