Aug. 30, 1999
This Week - The UCLA men's soccer team (17-4-0 in 1998, ranked pre-season No. 3 by Soccer America and SoccerTimes and No. 9 by the NSCAA) opens the 1999 season against Denver (3-13-1 in 1998) Friday, Sept. 3 at the Cal State Fullerton FILA Classic. The Bruins conclude tournament play Sunday, Sept. 5 against Syracuse (8-9-1 in 1998). Both matches will take place at 4:30 pm at Fullerton's Titan Stadium.
About the Opponents - Denver, in just its second year of Division I play and its first in the MPSF, is coached by Chad Ashton, who enters his second year. DU's Director of Soccer is former UCLA All-American and 1984 Olympian Jeff Hooker. Forward Brian Todd led the Pioneers in scoring last season with three goals and three assists. UCLA won the teams' only meeting, 3-1 in 1970.
Syracuse, coached by Dean Foti, ended its 1998 campaign with a bang, winning its last four games of the year, three on shutouts. The Orangemen are led by Canadians Patrice Bernier (7g, 2a in 1998) and Gabriel Gervais (7g, 3a), who were recently selected to the pre-season All-Big East team. The Bruins defeated the Orangemen 3-0 in their only meeting in 1981.
Saldana Makes Bruin Head Coaching Debut - Todd Salda?a will make his official UCLA head coaching debut Friday. Salda?a is no stranger to the UCLA sideline, he served as an assistant coach for the Bruin men from 1989-1995 and was the head coach of the UCLA women's team last season. While an assistant with the men's team, Salda?a's team advanced to the NCAA Tournament six times, winning the title in 1990 and reaching the semifinals in 1994.
Bruins Take Two in Pre-season - The Bruins recorded two shutouts in their two exhibition games last week, posting a 2-0 win over Westmont College Wednesday and a 1-0 victory over Portland Sunday. Senior forward Martin Bruno (Copenhagen, Denmark/Terra Linda HS) is already proving to be a more than adequate replacement for Seth George, scoring the game-winners in each game and an assist against Westmont. Bruin keeper Nick Rimando (Montclair, CA/Montclair HS) recorded the shutout against Portland and shared the shutout against Westmont with Kevin Perrault (Palos Verdes, CA/Peninsula HS).
Four Bruins Selected Pre-Season All-American - Junior defender Carlos Bocanegra (Alta Loma, CA/Alta Loma HS) and senior midfielders Pete Vagenas (Pasadena, CA/St. Francis HS) and Sasha Victorine (Corona, CA/Rio Americano HS)were selected by Soccer America and College Soccer Online as pre-season first-team All-Americans. Junior goalkeeper Nick Rimando was chosen by College Soccer Online to the second-team.
U.S. National Team Experience - UCLA's 1999 roster is loaded with players who participated in international tournaments with various U.S. youth national teams during the off-season . Four Bruins (Carlos Bocanegra, Ryan Futagaki, Nick Rimando and Shaun Tsakiris) were part of the U.S. U-20 National Team squad that advanced to the second round of the FIFA World Youth Championships this past April in Nigeria. McKinley Tennyson, Jr. also participated in the qualifying tournament for the Championships. This summer, Bocanegra, Futagaki, Steve Shak, Pete Vagenas and Sasha Victorine earned bronze medals with the U.S. U-23 National Team at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. Senior defender Ryan Lee has also seen time with the U-23 National Team as a member of the U-23 pool.
Road Warriors - UCLA opens the 1999 season with six consecutive road games and won't return home until Sept. 26 in its home opener against Oregon State. The good news for the Bruins is that they will close out their regular season schedule with five straight home games, including the last two against pre-season No. 6 Virginia and No. 13 Cal State Fullerton.