Wednesday, 05 August 2015 14:06

UCLA Men’s Soccer Ranked No. 1 in NSCAA Preseason Poll

Written by  UCLA Official Press Release

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Men’s Soccer team has been ranked No. 1 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Preseason Poll, it was announced by the organization today. The Bruins garnered 624 total points and seven first-place votes to top the season-opening rankings.

The Bruins come into the 2015 season looking to build off of a successful year in 2014 which saw the group advance to the program’s ninth College Cup final. This season, UCLA returns seven of its top-10 scorers and brings in the nation’s number one recruiting class for the third season in-a-row.

UCLA Soccer 300UCLA will square off with seven teams ranked within the NSCAA Preseason Top-25, including three teams ranked in the Top-10. The Bruins schedule features non-conference matches against No. 3 Georgetown, No. 13 Maryland, No. 20 UC Irvine and No. 25 Akron. In the Pac-12, UCLA will play a pair of matches against No. 8 Stanford, No. 10 Washington and No. 16 California.

Up top UCLA brings back a trio of high-scoring forwards, highlighted by Top Drawer Soccer Freshman of the Year Abu Danladi. In just 12 games, the Ghanaian scored five goals and added six assists, finishing second on the team with 16 points. Joining Danladi, fellow sophomore and second team All-Pac-12 honoree Seyi Adekoya will be back after netting seven goals a year ago. The veteran of the group, senior Larry Ndjock, comes back as well following a stellar campaign which saw him score two goals in the College Cup semifinals to lead the Bruins past Providence.

In the midfield, the Bruins return a solid group of veterans led by captain Grady Howe, Brian Iloski and Felix Vobejda. Howe, an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection, will once again anchor the defensive midfield where he contributed to all eight shutouts and assisted on two goals a season ago. Iloski and Vobejda will return in the attacking mid where they combined for two goals and four assists last year.

Arguably the biggest strength of the returning group is on the back end where the Bruins return all four starters from 2014. Junior center back Michael Amick is the top returner, earning first team All-Pac-12 last season after starting all 24 games, logging the most minutes among UCLA field players (2,287). Redshirt senior Edgar Contreras will join Amick in central defense where they will be book-ended by right back Nathan Smith and left back Chase Gasper. The sophomore Gasper, a second team freshman All-American, was especially impressive in his debut campaign, totaling two goals and four assists from his defensive position.

The Bruins will play exhibition matches against the Mexican U-17 National Team and the University of San Francisco, on August 18 and 22 respectively, before opening the regular season at home against New Mexico on August 29. Tickets for all home matches are now on sale and can be purchased by visiting uclabruins.com/tickets or by calling 310-UCLA-WIN.

 

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