Pre-Season No. 3 Men's Soccer Team Begins Exhibition Play

Aug. 21, 2000

This Week -- The pre-season No. 3 UCLA men's soccer team (19-3-0 in 1999) will host Westmont College (11-3-4) in an exhibition game Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 4:00 pm in Drake Stadium, UCLA's new soccer home. On Saturday, Aug. 26, the Bruins will travel down the 405 freeway to face Loyola Marymount (8-8-3) in their final exhibition game at 2:00 pm at Sullivan Field.

Coaches Face Former Teams -- In the exhibition game on Saturday, UCLA head coach Todd Salda?a will face his former team, Loyola Marymount, which he coached in 1997. At the same time, LMU head coach Paul Krumpe will face his former team, UCLA, where he played from 1982-1985 and for which he served as assistant coach from 1995-1997. In this particular match-up, Salda?a holds a 1-0 advantage, as his Bruins won 2-1 in overtime last year.

Next Week -- UCLA officially opens the 2000 season on Friday, Sept. 1 vs. Butler at the Indiana adidas Classic in Bloomington, IN. The Bruins will take on two-time defending NCAA champion and pre-season No. 1 Indiana on Saturday, Sept. 2 in a rematch of last year's epic NCAA semifinal game, which the Hoosiers won 3-2 in four overtimes.

Bruins Christen New Field -- The first-ever soccer game at Drake Stadium will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 23 when the Bruins host Westmont College. Frank W. Marshall Field at Drake Stadium is now the permanent home of the UCLA soccer teams, which had previously played at the North Athletic Field. Night games will still be played at Spaulding Field. Drake Stadium, which has housed the track and field teams since 1969, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art soccer/track and field facility which provides seating for 11,700 spectators.

Two Bruins Selected Pre-Season All-American -- Seniors Shaun Tsakiris (Saratoga, CA) and McKinley Tennyson Jr. (Indianapolis, IN) earned pre-season All-America honors from College Soccer Online. Tsakiris, who led the Bruins with 13 assists last year, was a second-team selection. Tennyson, who tied for the team lead in scoring with 12 goals in 1999, was named to the honorable mention team.

Freshmen to Make UCLA Debuts -- UCLA's highly-touted freshman class will make their Bruin debuts on Wednesday. Headlining the rookies are U.S. National Team members Nelson Akwari (Houston, TX), DJ Countess (Fair Oaks, CA), Adolfo Gregorio (Hilmar, CA), Cliff McKinley (Fountain Valley, CA) and Alex Yi (Easton, MD). In addition, UCLA welcomes national team pool players Leonard Griffin (Palmdale, CA), Tony Lawson (Palmdale, CA) and Matt Taylor (Irvine, CA), as well as Ty Maurin (Chino, CA) and John Carson (Bakersfield, CA). Akwari, Countess, Gregorio and Yi were members of the historic U.S. U-17 National Team which placed fourth at the 1999 World Championships.

Bruins Bursting With National Team Experience -- At some point in the year, UCLA could field a team of all national team players or national team pool players. In addition to the aforementioned freshmen, veterans Tsakiris, Tennyson and Ryan Futagaki (Fountain Valley, CA) have earned national team caps, while Ryan Lee (Alta Loma, CA), Scot Thompson (Ranch Santa Margarita, CA), Kyle Julian (Sacramento, CA), Sean Walker (Sacramento, CA) and Zach Wells (Costa Mesa, CA) have been part of national team pools.

UCLA Begins Pac-10 Play in 2000 -- The 2000 season will mark the beginning of Pac-10 Conference play for the Bruins. UCLA, along with Washington, Stanford, California and Oregon State, left the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) after eight seasons to compete in the Pac-10. Leaving the MPSF freed all five teams to play tougher schedules, which should strengthen its position once tournament bids are handed out. Last season, the MPSF was not deemed strong enough as a conference to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins, despite holding the No. 3 national ranking and a 16-2 record entering the tournament, were not only unseeded in the tournament, but also had to play on the road in the second and third rounds.

Head Coach Todd Salda?a -- Todd Salda?a enters his second season as head coach of the Bruins. In his first season in 1999, he took UCLA all the way to the NCAA semifinals and ended the year with an impressive 19-3-0 record. For his efforts, he was named the NSCAA Far West Coach of the Year. Salda?a previously headed the UCLA women's soccer team in 1998 and was the head men's coach at Loyola Marymount in 1997.

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