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Defending NCAA Men's Soccer Champion UCLA Opens '98 Season
By: UCLA Athletics

September 1, 1998

Season Opener - Defending NCAA Champion and 1998 pre-season No. 1 UCLA (22-2-0 in 1997) opens the 1998 season Tuesday, Sept. 1 against Cal State Dominguez Hills (12-6-1 in 1997). The game will take place at El Camino College's Murdock Stadium at 7:30 pm. It is the second game in a doubleheader with the UCLA women's soccer team, which faces Navy and its head coach Carin Gabbara, a star on the U.S. Women's National Team. The women's game begins at 5 pm.

UCLA in Season Openers - The Bruins own a 26-2-3 all-time record in season openers and have not lost one since dropping a 3-1 decision to Evansville in 1988.

Bruins vs. Toros - UCLA has never lost in seven decisions to Cal State Dominguez Hills. The last time the two teams faced, the Bruins won 3-1 in 1993.

UCLA Faces No. 8 South Carolina - The Bruins will have a difficult test early in the season when they clash with pre-season No. 8 (NSCAA) South Carolina. The Gamecocks tallied a 16-3-1 record in 1997 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Returning for head coach Mark Berson are leading scorer John Harr (13g, 5a, 31 pts.) and No. 2 scorer Nathan Watkins (9g, 9a, 27 pts.). The Gamecocks, however, lost two players to the MLS Clint Mathis and Josh Wolff. UCLA had four players from the 1997 championship team selected in the MLS Collegiate Draft.

Bruins vs. Gamecocks - UCLA is looking for its first-ever win over South Carolina. The Bruins lost the last game 3-2 in overtime in 1989 and played to a scoreless tie in the only other game of the series.

UCLA Topples Northridge in Scrimmage - And after 363 consecutive minutes, UCLA still has not given up a goal. The Bruins shut out Cal State Northridge 2-0 Friday behind a goal apiece by senior All-American Seth George and freshman phenom Ryan Futagaki. George's goal in the 35th minute broke the scoreless tie, and Futagaki's goal, which came off the left post and into the net, sealed the win with 45 seconds to play. Futagaki punctuated the goal with an impressive jumping karate kick. His Bruins teammates on the bench acknowledged his goal with a bow. Bruin keepers Nick Rimando (81 scoreless minutes, one save) and Kevin Perrault (9 scoreless minutes, two saves) shared the shutout. The last time an opponent scored against UCLA was in the first half of the NCAA quarterfinals. Three games have since passed, and UCLA has kept all three opponents scoreless (the Cal State Northridge shutout does not count, however, in official stats).

Lineup Has National Team Flavor - At one time during the Northridge game, UCLA had nine members of U.S. National Team pools on the field. In the lineup for the Bruins were goalkeeper Nick Rimando (Under-20); defenders Carlos Bocanegra (U- 20), Steve Shak and Ryan Lee (U-23); midfielders Ryan Futagaki (U-20), Sasha Victorine, Pete Vagenas and Tom Poltl (U-23); and forward McKinley Tennyson, Jr. (U-20). The coaching staff also has national team roots - head coach Sigi Schmid is the head coach for the U.S. Under-20 national team; assistant coach Steve Rammel played for the U.S. "A" National Team in 1991; and goalkeeper coach David Vanole played for the U.S. in the 1988 Olympics and the 1992 World Cup. Vanole also assists Schmid with the U-20 team.

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.


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