For the third straight year, a member of the UCLA men's soccer team took home conference Player of the Year honors, as junior midfielder Leo Stolz was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. The Bruins also landed six players on the all-conference team in 2013.
This is the first time in Pac-12 history that a team has had a player win the conference Player of the Year award in three consecutive seasons. Prior to Stolz, Ryan Hollingshead and Kelyn Rowe received Pac-12 Player of the Year honors in 2012 and 2011 respectively. Stolz also earned first-team honors in 2013 along with junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. Seniors Victor Chavez and Victor Munoz, and junior Aaron Simmons received second-team accolades while senior Joe Sofia received honorable mention.
Stolz becomes the sixth UCLA player all-time to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year, joining Hollingshead (2012), Rowe (2011), Michael Stephens (2008), Patrick Ianni (2004) and Matt Taylor (2003). The Munich, Germany native led the Pac-12 with 23 points during the regular season, which is also good for 38th-best in the country. Stolz, who has played in all 18 of UCLA’s matches thus far, has also scored a Pac-12 leading four game-winning goals. Additionally, the junior midfielder has recorded at least one point in eight of his last 12 matches and was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week three times this season. This is the second consecutive year that Stolz has earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors.
Edwards, who served as UCLA’s co-captain this year, had a terrific regular season in goal for the Bruins, starting all 18 matches and logging 65 saves with a 1.11 GAA. The junior from San Diego, Calif. was key down the stretch in leading the Bruins to the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, recording a season-high seven saves in four of the final seven matches. Overall, Edwards has posted a record of 11-3-4 and is currently second in the conference with six clean sheets.
Munoz, a senior midfielder from Madrid, Spain, led UCLA with eight assists during the regular season, which is good for second in the conference and 23rd nationally. He has logged at least one assist in four of the last five matches and is currently third on the team with 10 points (1 g, 8 a). It’s the second time in Munoz’s career that he has been named to the All-Pac-12 team after earning honorable mention accolades as a sophomore in 2011.
Chavez earned All-Pac-12 honors for the fourth straight season, making him the first UCLA player to accomplish the feat since David Estrada did it from 2006-09. The senior forward from Fontana, Calif. is second to Stolz with 18 points thus far (6 g, 6 a) and ranks in the top-10 in the Pac-12 in points (7th), goals (t-5th) and assists (t-7th). He scored two-game winning goals in 2013, including the golden goal in overtime at then No. 1 Indiana on Sept. 1.
Simmons played a crucial role for the Bruins in the defensive midfield all season, helping the team earn six shutouts while scoring two goals. The junior transfer from SMU scored the game-winning goal against Stanford on Oct. 10 with just over a minute to go to give UCLA a 1-0 win before adding another on Oct. 25 against Oregon State.
Sofia, a senior defender from Dove Canyon, Calif., earned All-Pac-12 honors for the third straight year with his honorable mention selection in 2013. He has served as the co-captain along with Edwards and has anchored the UCLA back line all season, helping the Bruins earn six shutouts. Overall, Sofia has played in 17 of UCLA’s 18 matches while leading all of UCLA's position players in minutes with 1,514.The Bruins (11-3-4) have earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and a first round bye. UCLA will host the winner of the Elon/Clemson first round match in the second round on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. out at Drake Stadium. Tickets to the match can be purchased by phone through the Central Ticket office at (310) UCLA-WIN (825-2946) or at the gate the day of the game. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for youth (children 13 years and younger).