This Week — The ninth-ranked UCLA men's soccer team will kick off the 2013 season in Bloomington, Indiana at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. The Bruins will face seventh-ranked Notre Dame in the season opener on Friday at 2 pm PT before taking on top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Indiana at 11 am PT on Sunday.
Live Coverage — Fans can follow the Notre Dame match through CBS Gametracker. The link to the live stats page can be found at uclabruins.com. The Indiana match on Sunday will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. Fans can check with their cable provider to see if they get the Big Ten Network and can also follow the match via Gametracker.
In The Rankings — In the preseason rankings, UCLA is ranked No. 7 by College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer, No. 9 by the NSCAA and No. 13 by Soccer America. Notre Dame is ranked No. 7 by the NSCAA and Soccer America, No. 11 by College Soccer News and No. 16 by Top Drawer Soccer. Indiana is ranked No. 1 by the NSCAA, College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer and No. 2 by Soccer America.
Scouting the Fighting Irish — The Fighting Irish return eight starters off of last year's team that went 17-4-1 and won the Big East Tournament. Notre Dame is led up front by senior captain and 2012 All-Big East honoree Harrison Shipp, who scored six goals and recorded six assists in 2012 (18 points). Seniors Alex Priede (4 g, 1 a) and Leon Brown (1 g, 3 a) will join Shipp at the forward position. Junior Nick Besler (1 g, 2 a) and sophomore Patrick Hodan (6 g, 5 a) return to lead the Irish midfield while all four starters are back on defense in seniors Grant Van De Casteele, Andrew O'Malley and Luke Mishu and junior Max Lachowecki. Finally, senior Patrick Wall looks to be the starter in goal for Notre Dame after posting a 0.97 GAA last year.
The Series with Notre Dame — The Bruins lead the all-time series with Notre Dame 4-1-0, with both teams meeting twice at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. The two teams last met back in 2010 in Bloomington, where UCLA downed the Fighting Irish, 1-0. Before that, Notre Dame and UCLA played at the tournament in 2007, where the Irish beat the Bruins, 2-1, in overtime.
Scouting the Hoosiers — Indiana brings back eight starters from the 2012 NCAA Championship squad. The Hoosiers are led by senior midfielder Nikita Kotlov, who is IU's leading returning scorer after logging nine goals and four assists (22 points) in 23 appearances last year. Senior midfielder A.J. Corrado is also a key member of the Hoosiers, as he led the Big Ten in assists last season with 12. Additionally, team captains Jacob Bushue and Harrison Petts, both seniors, return to anchor the Hoosier back line. Bushue scored a goal and recorded five assists in 2012 while Petts started all 24 matches last season. Finally, Indiana added junior Dylan Mares in the offseason, who transferred to the school after two years at Louisville. He started 18 of 19 matches played for the Cardinals last season and led the team in goals (seven) and total points (20).
The Series with Indiana — UCLA holds an all-time record of 7-10-0 against Indiana. The Bruins last defeated the Hoosiers in 2000, winning 2-1 at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. The two teams have a rich history in the NCAA postseason, meeting four times in the Tournament. The Hoosiers have won three of those meetings, with UCLA's lone win coming in 1997. In that match, McKinley Tennyson Jr. scored a golden goal in the third overtime to send UCLA to the College Cup, where the Bruins would go on to win their third NCAA title.
Bruins In Season Openers — UCLA is 34-8-4 all-time in season openers since beginning NCAA play in 1967. Last year, the Bruins fell to sixth-ranked New Mexico at home by a score of 3-2 in a back-and-forth match. Jorge Salcedo is 3-5-1 in season openers since taking over as UCLA head coach back in 2004.
UCLA Picked To Win Pac-12 — In a polling of the Conference's men's soccer head coaches, UCLA has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 in 2013. The Bruins, searching for their fifth conference title in six years and ninth title overall, received the maximum 25 total points with five first-place votes. In the last five seasons, the Bruins have compiled a 38-5-7 conference mark, the best amongst the Pac-12 teams. UCLA also enters the season having won their last 14 Pac-12 road matches and has reached the NCAA Tournament in 30 consecutive seasons, the second-longest active streak in the nation.
A Look At The Bruins — UCLA returns numerous key players from last year's team to go along with the consenus No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Below is a position-by-position breakdown of how the Bruins will look heading into the 2013 season.
Forwards — Seniors Victor Chavez and Reed Williams are back for another season in Westwood after starting for the Bruins a year ago. Williams is UCLA's top returning point scorer from 2012, recording 18 points (7 g, 4 a). He earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors a season ago and was a third-team NSCAA All-Far West selection. Chavez battled injuries for some of 2012, but managed to score five goals in 13 matches while earning second-team All-Pac-12 honors. Senior Max Estrada will look to provide some scoring off the bench as well after playing in 18 matches in 2012 and scoring three goals, all of which were game-winners.
Midfielders — The Bruins enter 2013 with plenty of depth in the midfield. Sophomore transfer Jordan Vale comes over from Syracuse and looks to immediately seeing playing time as an attacking midfielder. Vale started all 21 matches for the Orange in 2012, leading the team in goals with nine and logging 21 points (9 g, 3 a). Joining Vale in the midfield are returning starters Victor Munoz and Leo Stolz. Stolz was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2012 after recording eight assists while Munoz recorded seven points (1 g, 5 a) in 14 matches. Sophomore Grady Howe, who was named a College Soccer News Freshman All-American last year, will also see playing time as a defensive midfielder after playing in all 19 matches last season. Finally, freshman Brian Iloski, who has experience with the U.S. U-18 National Team, will push for playing time as well.
Defenders — Defense could very well be the strength for the 2013 Bruins as this figures to be the team's deepest position. Senior captain Joe Sofia enters his fourth year as a starter at center back and will serve as the anchor of the back line. Sofia notched a single-season best two goals and four assists in 2012 while leading the Bruins to six shutouts. Fellow senior Patrick Matchett returns after an injury-plagued 2012, looking to recapture his 2011 form when he recorded seven assists in 21 matches. Junior transfer Aaron Simmons will join Sofia and Matchett on the back line after starting all 41 matches he played in in his two-year career at SMU. Sophomore Javan Torre returns to the back line as well after playing in 12 matches a year ago and competing for the U.S. at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Additionally, freshmen Nathan Smith and Michael Amick, both of whom have earned caps with the U.S. Youth National Team, will also see time on the defensive side of the ball.
Goalkeepers — Redshirt junior Earl Edwards Jr. returns in goal for the Bruins after starting 15 matches a year ago. He earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention accolades in his first year as a starter last season, posting a 10-3-2 record with 61 saves. Coming out of high school in 2010, Edwards was the No. 1 recruit in the country according to Top Drawer Soccer and was the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. at the 2009 U-17 World Cup.
Road Warriors — UCLA is unbeaten in their last 18 road and neutral site matches dating back to 2011, going 15-0-3 in that time frame. The Bruins were unbeaten on the road last season, going 8-0-2. UCLA's last road or neutral site loss came on September 18, 2011, a 2-1 loss to UC Davis in overtime.
Head Coach Jorge Salcedo — UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo enters his 10th season at the helm of the program with an all-time record of 118-45-28. He has coached UCLA to eight Pac-12 Titles as an assistant coach or head coach and is a four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (co-coach in 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2012). Salcedo has also led UCLA to two College Cup appearances and is the second-longest tenured men's soccer head coach in UCLA's NCAA history.
Bruins on TV — The UCLA men's soccer team will continue to enjoy increased national exposure in 2013 with 12 games schedule to be televised. 11 of those matches will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks, including seven home matches. The Big Ten Network will televise UCLA's game at Indiana on Sept. 1 as well. Fans can find out if they get Pac-12 Networks by visiting Pac-12.com or by contacting their television provider.
Coming Up — The Bruins open up their home slate by taking on the Cal Poly Mustangs on Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 pm out at Drake Stadium.