SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Youth National Team members, career-record holders, a state Player of the Year, USSF Academy team standouts, and seven freshmen are part of the early signings for the 2013 Gaucho men's soccer program.
"Although we graduated a number of quality players we have 8 starters returning for 2013," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "In order to find the remaining pieces we have brought in both talented freshman and three important transfers as part of our initial 2013 recruiting class."
Keeping with the theme of attracting student-athletes from top Academy programs, the Gauchos are excited about a pair from the elite LA Galaxy Academy. Josh McNeely, the current starting keeper for the Galaxy Academy, was the starter for the 2011 US Soccer Academy National Championship Team. He has trained with the West Bromwich Academy in Birmingham, England, was invited to the U17 US National Team residency program and is a past member of the U18 Academy Select team.
Drew Murphy, McNeeley's Galaxy Academy teammate, has played with the Galaxy reserve team while also training with the MLS Champion first team. He was a member of the 2011 U.S. Soccer Academy's National Championship Team with McNeely.
A pair of Captain's from the Real Colorado Soccer Academy will continue their careers together at UCSB. Center midfielder Nick DePuy and defender John Rehl served as co-captains while leading Real Colorado to the 2011 Region IV Quarterfinals and the Colorado State Championship. DePuy led Real in goals scored and earned All-State and All-Conference honors while competing for Regis Jesuit High. Rehl earned All-State and All-Conference honors while playing high school for Rock Canyon (Littleton, CO.).
Yet another Academy product, midfielder Andrew Perez from the San Jose Earthquakes Academy will join the Gauchos in the fall. Prior to joining the Earthquakes, he played club for San Juan Lightening, winning the 2010 Nomads Coaches Showcase, the 2010 NorCal Regional Cup, the 2010 Cal Cup, the 2009 Sac United Cup and the 2009 NorCal State Cup. Academically, he has been named to the Central Coast Section Scholastic Championship Team three-consecutive years while attending The Harker School.
Prolific scorer Armand Bagramyan joins the Gauchos from La Canada High School. The top scorer in Southern California, Bagramyan earlier this week broke an 18-year old scoring record with his 42nd goal this season to accompany his 19 assists. As a junior, he scored 23 goals and had 15 assists on his way to Pasadena Star News Player of the Year honors while leading La Canada to its third consecutive unbeaten league season, and a second round appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs. He has also garnered All-CIF First Team honors and has been named the Rio Hondo League's MVP.
Forward Ismaila Jome is the top product out of Minnesota having been named the 2012 Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association's "Mr. Soccer." He has spent the past two seasons at Prairie Seeds Academy where he served as the team's captain during his senior year and led them to two-consecutive Section Championships. He was named to the 2012 All-State First Team and was the only player from Minnesota to earn 2012 High School All-American honors. During his prep career, he recorded 37 goals and 33 assists.
Three transfers, all of whom call California home, are part of the talented wave joining a stacked returning lineup.
Forward Reed McKenna, a former #2 ranked Southern California player, joins the Gauchos after two seasons at UCLA. In high school, McKenna was the 2011 San Diego Section Player of the Year, a member of the 2010 Super Elite team and had a Top 50 National Ranking with Top Drawer Soccer. He played club for Nomads SC, Surf Academy, and has a history with the U.S. Soccer Academy.
Defender Isaiah Trejo returns to his California home after spending two seasons and playing in 23 games, at Louisville. The former U17/U18 National Team member competed for the U.S. Soccer Academy, had a Top 20 ranking by Top Drawer as a senior, and was named the top player in the Northern California/Hawaii region.
Attacking midfielder and US Soccer Academy product, Adis Islamovic, joins the Gauchos from NAIA member Southern Polytechnic whom he led to a 2012 NAIA Elite Eight appearance. Islamovic attended Westview High in San Diego where he was named the 2010 Division II Player of the Year after scoring 16 goals and 11 assists.
These 10 players will join a UCSB squad that finished 2012 with the program's 12 consecutive winning season. They will be looking to fill the void left by the Gauchos' six departing seniors, including Major League Supplemental Draft picks Machael David, Nic Ryan and Peter McGlynn.
The UCSB coaching staff expects to receive and announce additional commitments throughout this signing period.