Aug. 24, 1998
Defending NCAA Champion and 1998 pre- season No. 1 UCLA begins it title defense with a scrimmage against Cal State Northridge Friday, August 28. The game will take place at Northridge's North Campus Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
UCLA Selected Pre-Season No. 1 - UCLA earned pre-season No. 1 acclaim by the NSCAA/Umbro and by Soccer America. The Bruins in 1998 will play three Top 10 teams in the NSCAA poll and two teams ranked in the Top 6 in Soccer America's poll.
Bruins Engulfed in Pre-Season Accolades - A pre-season No. 1 team generally has a superstar or two, and the 1998 Bruins are no exception. Already, two Bruins were announced as finalists for the Hermann Trophy, and four were named pre- season All-American by Soccer America.
Junior midfielder Sasha Victorine (Corona, Calif.) and junior defender Steve Shak (Cerritos, Calif.) were among 15 finalists for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer's equivalent to the Heisman Trophy.
Soccer America named Victorine, senior forward Seth George (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and sophomore defender Carlos Bocanegra (Alta Loma, Calif.) first-team pre-season All-Americans and also named junior midfielder Pete Vagenas (Pasadena, Calif.) a second-team pre-season All-American.
Bruin Midfield Called "Best in the Country " - With two pre-season All- Americans and two U.S. Under-20 National Team members in the middle, UCLA's midfield has been touted as "the best in the country" by Soccer America. The central midfield is definitely UCLA's strength with pre-season All-Americans Vagenas and Victorine; Under-20 National Team members Shaun Tsakiris and Ryan Futagaki; and 1997 Under-20 National Team member Tom Poltl jockeying for three positions. To keep all these talented players in the game, UCLA head coach Sigi Schmid may have to move players to the outside midfield.
Deep Attack - Depth will not be a problem for UCLA's forwards. In fact, UCLA is so deep at this position that its second-leading scorer in 1997 (Martin Bruno, 25 points) couldn't even break into the starting lineup! Leading scorer George (42 points) and third-leading scorer McKinley Tennyson, Jr. (23 points) return for another season.
"How I Spent My Summer Vacation ." - For eight UCLA players, summer vacation entailed playing high-level soccer in such places as France, England, Jamaica and Trinidad. Juniors Shak, Vagenas and Victorine played with the U.S. Under-23 National Team during the team's England tour, which included a game against the Manchester United reserves.
Schmid and five of his Bruins (sophomores Bocanegra, Nick Rimando, Tsakiris and Tennyson. and freshman Futagaki) led the U.S. Under- 20 National Team in CONCACAF qualifying in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The team, with a 2-0-1 record, qualified for the 1999 World Youth Championships. Prior to the qualifying tournament, the team played games in places such as France, Germany, Jamaica and Mexico.