Dec. 9, 2005
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara men's soccer sophomore standout Andy Iro received All-America honors today when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced the annual awards in conjunction with the start of the NCAA Division I Men's College Cup. The defender garnered third-team accolades one season after earning Freshman All-American honors last year from both Soccer America and College Soccer News.
After being tabbed a Preseason All-American this year by both Soccer America and CSN, Iro anchored a tough UCSB backline in 2005 that posted a total of nine shutouts, the fifth highest single season total in school history. Often regarded as one of most dominant defenders in the country by the Gauchos' opposition, Iro has proven to be a valuable offensive weapon as well. He has now scored four goals in each of his two collegiate seasons, with three going as game-winners, one as a freshman and two this past year.
Iro became eligible for All-American honors after being named Second Team All-Far West Region by the NSCAA earlier this week. He was joined by teammate Bryan Byrne on the all-region team, with Byrne being named to the All-Far West Third Team.
"I'm a bit shocked to be honest," said Iro. "I'm still disappointed with the way the season ended [the second round of the NCAA Tournament], but this provides a bit of consolation. And I am really happy for [Bryan Byrne] made the all-region team, he really deserves it."
Byrne finished second on the team with 18 points this past season and was the only player in the Big West Conference to net at least six goals and tally six assists. Although listed as a senior on this year's roster due to international transfer and eligibility rules, Byrne is scheduled to return next season for the Gauchos should he complete his degree prior to the start of the 2006 season. The Irishman (Byrne) and Englishman (Iro) are the eighth and ninth players for UCSB to earn all-region honors in the past four years.
After the men's soccer program went 36 years with just one player being recognized as an All-American, Iro has made it four-in-a-row for Santa Barbara. In 2002, forward Rob Friend earned the honor from the NSCAA and CSN to begin the streak, and since then UCSB has had seven different players recognized. Also in 2002, midfielder Memo Arzate and defender Alan Keely were named to CSN's All-American teams, with Arzate repeating the feat in 2003. And last season, forward Drew McAthy and defender Tony Lochhead were both recipients of the NSCAA award and were joined by Dan Kennedy, Tyler Rosenlund, and Iro on the CSN list.
Iro was just one of seven underclassman, all sophomores, to make the prestigious list with eleven overall players from UCSB's Far-West region making the grade as the nation's best. The 6-4 defender appeared in 20 of the Gauchos' 21 matches this season, missing one game due to suspension, and played all 1,849 minutes of those 20 matches, the sixth highest single season total in school history.