Dec. 12, 2002
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
On Thursday, senior forward Rob Friend became UC Santa Barbara's first men's soccer All-American in over thirty years as he was selected Third Team NSCAA/adidas All-America, capping the Gauchos' best season in history.
In addition to Friend's All-America accolades, he was named First Team All-Far West by the NSCAA to lead a trio of Gauchos to be recognized. Junior midfielder Memo Arzate was named Second Team All-Far West and Friend's linemate, sophomore forward Drew McAthy was recognized as an NSCAA/adidas All-Far West third-teamer.
Friend ended the season with a 0.91 goals per game scoring average, among the tops in the NCAA. At one point during the year, he scored goals in 14 consecutive games the fourth longest such streak in NCAA history. In addition to setting a new UCSB scoring record with 20 goals in a single-season, he was tabbed as the Big West's Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. The Kelowna, British Columbia native led the conference in goals, points and shots for in 2002.
The last, and only other UCSB men's soccer player to be named All-American was Dave Hollingsworth in 1970.
After ending his junior year second in the nation with a 0.86 assists per game average, Arzate was named to the NSCAA/adidas All-Far West Second Team. Arzate quickly proved to be the best set-up man in UCSB history registering a new Gaucho record with 18 assists in 2002. The Hawaiian Gardens, CA native spent six weeks over the course of the season at the top of the NCAA's assists per game list.
Not to be overshadowed by his record-setting teammates, McAthy made a statement for himself notching 17 goals in 2002 and earning Third Team All-Far West honors. Take away Friend's 20 goals this season, and McAthy's 17 would have stood has the second best goal-scoring performance ever by a Gaucho, as it is, the total stands as the third best single-season performance in UCSB history. The sophomore from Huntington Beach, CA, however, did lead the Gauchos in game-winning goals, netting the game-deciding tally in seven of the Gauchos record-setting 18 wins.
UCSB's three All-Far West honorees in 2002 ends a seven-year drought for Santa Barbara, which last had a player named All-Far West in 1995 when Ralph Robertson was recognized. The three All-Far West selections this season ties a school record. In 1982 three Gauchos, Steve Daluz, Chris Wentzien and Eric Price, were also selected All-Far West.