August 8, 2007

Iro, Avila Named to Hermann Award Watch List

Aug. 8, 2007

MISSION, Kan. - UC Santa Barbara senior defender Andy Iro and junior midfielder Eric Avila were both named to the 2007 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List, it was announced Wednesday by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Iro was named to the 29-man list for the second straight year, while Avila earned the distinction for the first time.

2007 marks the third consecutive year that UCSB has had a player in the running for the NCAA Division I Player of the Year award. Iro and Avila are the second and third players in program history to receive the honor after former teammate Tyler Rosenlund earned a spot on the list as a sophomore in 2005.

The defending national champion Gauchos are one of only two schools in the nation that had multiple players named to the Watch List, joining senior goalkeeper Matt Allen and junior forward Byron Dacy of Creighton.

"It's a tremendous honor to have two of our players named to the Hermann Watch List," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said. "We have always felt Andy is one of the top defenders in the nation and Avi had a breakout season last year. Both players were obviously instrumental in our championship run and its great that they have been recognized on a national level as candidates for the 2007 player of the year award."

The first three-time All-American in program history, Iro was named the Big West Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season after anchoring a Gaucho defense that held their opponents to a 0.86 goals against average and a total of 12 shutouts in 2006. Avila led UCSB with eight goals as a sophomore last season and scored the game-winner in Santa Barbara's 2-1 defeat of UCLA in the national championship match. He earned All-American acclaim for the first time in his career.

The winner of the M.A.C.'s Hermann Trophy will be determined by a panel of NSCAA Division I member coaches. A list of 15 semifinalists will be announced in November, and three finalists will be named in early December in conjunction with the NCAA Division I College Cup. The final three will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club on Friday, January 11, 2008 and the winner will be announced during a nationally-televised news conference that evening.

Iro and Avila were also named to the College Soccer News All-America First Team, with the defending champs the only school to have multiple players selected for the first squad. The selection is the second straight for Iro, while Avila earns preseason All-America honors for the first time.

Iro, Avila, and the rest of the third ranked Gauchos begin defense of their first national title with a preseason scrimmage against crosstown rival Westmont in the 45th Annual Bryant & Sons Cup Saturday, August 25. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. in Harder Stadium.