Los Angeles Soccer: UC Irvine
Rose was an early pick in the MLS Supplemental Draft, taken at No. 6 by Real Salt Lake, which promptly dealt UCLA's captain to the Seattle Sounders.
That's six players drafted from UCLA's NCAA semifinal team -- New England's Kelyn Rowe and Philadelphia's Chandler Hoffman were first-round picks -- and there are several underclassmen likely to take the step in the next few years.
Rose was one of the real prizes available Tuesday.
“He's a player that we really like,” Seattle technical director Chris Henderson, a former UCLA star, told his team's website. “He's a two-way midfielder. He can also sit in as a holding midfielder, so he's pretty versatile. He seems, at a young age, to be a student of the game.”
He should be. He grew up in one of the most intense soccer cultures on the planet, and he can compare notes with former U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley, whose daughter dates Rose.
To get him, the Sounders gave up the rights to defender Leone Cruz, a former SMU standout drafted last year who failed to make the team.
Seattle draft selections included UC Santa Barbara defender Tim Pontius (Yorba Linda/Servite HS), the brother of D.C. United standout Chris Pontius, and Cal Poly defender Wes Feighner (Los Alamitos/Los Alamitos HS).
Leroux, a fast, athletic striker from UCLA with an extensive international background, was on a field at Home Depot Center with the U.S. women's national team when word arrived that the Atlanta Beat had, as expected, used the first selection on her in Friday's draft at the Kansas City Convention Center.
“[I was] told in the middle of practice,” Leroux said. “Abby [Wambach] had a water bottle, and she sprayed me in the face with it, and I kind of choked.”
Stanford's Camille Levin (Newport Coast/Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School) and UC Irvine's CoCo Goodson were the other local players selected -- they were the first two defenders taken. Levin went to New Jersey's Sky Blue FC with the fourth overall pick and Goodson joined Philadelphia in the second round, with the 12th pick.
Leroux's new Beat teammates on the national team -- defenders Rachel Buehler, Stephanie Cox and Amy LePeilbet, and midfielders Carli Lloyd and Kelley O'Hara -- welcomed her with high-fives. She was halfway expecting to be headed to Atlanta.
“I talked to them a little bit [before the draft],” Leroux said. “They said they had their eye on me. Just the usual, kind of. I didn't really know what was going to happen. ...
“Everyone asked me who had the No. 1 pick, and I would say Atlanta, and they would say, 'OK, so you're going to be playing in Atlanta,' and I was like, 'You know, anything can happen,' so I didn't really say anything.”
Leroux was easily the most prominent player on the board. She played in three FIFA U-19 or U-20 Women's World Cups -- the first at 14 for her native Canada -- winning the Golden Ball as MVP and Golden Boot as top scorer with the U.S. captured the 2008 title. She was a three-time All-American at UCLA, scoring 57 goals in four years at UCLA, 16 as a senior and a school record-tying 23 as a sophomore.
Here are seven local players angling to go to one of the five remaining clubs in America's top women's league:
Colleen Boyd (Oregon State): Goalkeeper from La Caņada Flintridge (La Caņada HS) was pivotal in the Beavers rise to regional power, an All-American who posted 27 shutouts and a 0.81 goals-against average in four seasons.
Judy Christopher (UC Irvine): Holding midfielder from Ontario (Upland HS) doesn't have sparkly numbers, but she's been the best defense-oriented midfielder in the Big West Conference for three seasons, critical to UC Irvine's conference title runs the past two years.
Sarah Devine (UC Irvine): Central defender from San Diego is coming out early -- she's a junior athletically after an injury redshirt her first year but eligible for selection. Sometimes overshadowed by her more celebrated teammate (below), but she's a solid, steady backline presence.
CoCo Goodson (UC Irvine): Central defender from Ramona (San Diego County) is a two-time All-American who, her coach says admiringly, plays the game like a man. She's got a rocket shot and is versatile enough to play anywhere on the field, but she's a force at the back.
Shawna Gordon (Long Beach State): Central midfielder from Rancho Cucamonga (Los Osos HS) is absolutely unflappable, a technical player who keeps things simple and expertly regulates the game's flow. She shared the 49ers' assists lead this year, with 10, despite taking a deeper stance in midfield, one of the maneuvers key to Long Beach State's run to the NCAA quarterfinals.
Sydney Leroux (UCLA): Forward from Vancouver, British Columbia (by way of Phoenix) is the big fish in this draft pool, a rising U.S. national-teamer and three-time All-American who scored 16 goals as a senior and 57 in four seasons with the Bruins while starring for the U.S. under-20 national team. Fast, intense, athletic.
Camille Levin (Stanford): Outside back from Newport Coast (Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School) might be the most impactful player in the draft. The first-team All-American is smooth, incredibly versatile and reminds some of another So Cal outside back from The Farm, WPS star Ali Riley.
They're the big names, but hardly the only ones, among local players aiming for an opportunity with a Major League Soccer team. There are nearly two dozen players who grew up or went to school in Greater Los Angeles hoping to hear their names called in Kansas City.
Some of them, let's be honest, don't have a shot, not with just two rounds of picks -- 38 in all. Next week's supplemental draft will provide possibilities, and players will be looking to participate in team combines and in trials during preseason training.
Some might look abroad -- there are leagues everywhere on the planet -- and there are two professional minor leagues (NASL, USL Pro) and several pro clubs in the Premier Development League and its rival NPSL.
Here's a quick rundown of 22 players who might find a job in MLS, if the right situation develops:
George Kuntz has seen some amazing things in nearly four decades as an accomplished player and coach, but when he tries to describe what's special about Miguel Ibarra -- what qualities he might bring to a Major League Soccer club -- he's at a loss for words.
“I wish I could give you some footage, some highlights [on video],” said Kuntz, who has coached Ibarra the past two seasons at Big West Conference powerhouse UC Irvine. “It's hard to explain how he punctuates dramatic moments in games.”
Like in September, when Ibarra, a diminutive midfielder from Lancaster, careened through Wisconsin's “redwoods” to set up an overtime winner for the Anteaters. Or in November, when he took on Cal Poly's defense, weaving past and walking the ball into the net to provide another win.
Kuntz can nearly wax poetic on Ibarra's performances against UC Santa Barbara, which UCI twice beat last fall to win the Big West regular-season and tournament titles, or how he came back from a blow that had knocked him out of the NCAA tournament opener against St. Mary's to create the goal that forced overtime. Or countless occasions on the training field.
“All these punctuation goals,” Kuntz said. “The guy creates and scores goals. What I like about his play is how [Barcelona's Lionel] Messi dribbles inside and slips the forward in -- Miguel does that both from the right and the left side, or he can take guys down the line.
“He's got extraordinary speed. His cardio ... there are very few guys who can run at the level of speed with and without the ball that he has over a long period of time.”
Those skills and the work honing them have led accolades and opportunity. His mesmerizing trickery won him first-team NSCAA Division I All-America plaudits last month and an invitation to the MLS's pre-draft Player Combine, which wraps up Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Ibarra (Lancaster HS), 21, He says he “definitely was not expecting” either honor, but the first was a sign that “all the hard work paid off, just an amazing feeling” and the second “an opportunity, and I have to work hard for it and give it all I have.”
Ibarra, 5-foot-7 and just 135 pounds, offers something very rare for the club that selects him in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft, Kuntz says, so long as they understand what it is he does. He's drawn comparison to 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar, D.C. United's teen sensation, and Kuntz sees in him a little Irving Garcia, the UCI product who withered in the wrong system after he was drafted by the New York Red Bulls two years ago.
“Whoever gets him, if they're going to use him like [New York utilized] Garcia, they probably don't want to pick him up,” Kuntz said. “If you don't give a player like this freedom, you're going to limit your own goalscoring opportunities. Used the right way -- as a wide player or a playmaker, an attacking player who has defensive responsibilities but also players around him [to pick up the defensive slack], he can wreak havoc.”
Marvin Gentry/US Presswire
UCLA's Chandler Hoffman battles North Carolina's Enzo Martinez in the NCAA semifinals.
Counting down the 11 biggest 2011 stories in Southern California soccer ...
UCLA's soccer programs might be forgiven for thinking of NCAA College Cup appearances as some sort of birthright. The Bruins' programs have long been among the nation's best, with the men winning four national championships and the women making it to final four eight times in 10 years through 2009.
But the men hadn't been to championship weekend since 2006, when they were upset in the title game by UC Santa Barbara despite talent that begged for trophies. They were stopped one game short the past two seasons.
2011 was a return to normalcy, perhaps. With a startling amount of ability returning from last year's quarterfinalists and a refined scheme, emphasizing a beautiful possession game, directed by head coach Jorge Salcedo, the Bruins absorbed early lessons, built momentum en route to the Pacific 12 Conference title, then sprinted through the postseason, shutting out every foe, en route to the program's 13th College Cup appearance.
Chandler Hoffman, with a terrific support group led by returning All-American Kelyn Rowe, midfield general Andy Rose and a defense anchored by top goalkeeper Brian Rowe, was responsible for the goals, 18 in all, as the Bruins took an eight-game shutout streak to Birmingham, Ala., the junior striker's hometown.
The Bruins (18-4-2) got no further -- they conceded equalizers twice and lost on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the semifinals with North Carolina, which won the championship -- but laid groundwork for return trips. They expect to be back in 2012.
UCLA's men highlighted a outstanding fall for local college sides.
UCLA's Chandler Hoffman scored goals by the bunches on a quest to go home. Nadia Link netted nearly as many to take Long Beach State to unprecedented heights. Christian Ramirez dazzled for Concordia. And Fabiola da Silva prodded Cal Baptist to a national championship.
We selected men's and women's teams, one for players from 10 local NCAA Division I institutions and another for players from 24 NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and unaffiliated schools.
Our coaches of the year in Division I are Junior Gonzalez, who led the remarkable turnaround by UC Riverside's men, and Tim Ward, whose Pepperdine women were a top-five team during the regular season. In the lower divisions, it's Ralph Perez, who took Redlands' men to 20 wins and NCAA Division III third-round berth, and Kristen St. Clair, who presided over a superb transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, with the Pacific West Conference title and National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association Division I national crown.
The freshmen of the year: Cal State Northridge's Edwin Rivas and UCLA's Abby Dahlkemper in D1, Cal Baptist's Michael Salazar and Cal Lutheran's Taylor Will in D2/D3/NAIA.
Here are our inaugural postseason all-star teams:
UC Irvine's Miguel Ibarra and UC Santa Barbara's Luis Silva, two of the nation's finest collegiate midfielders, were honored Friday as first-team Division I All-Americans by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
UCLA's Sydney Leroux was a first-team women's selection as 11 local players received All-America acclaim and 39 collected all-region honors.
Stanford's Camille Levin, from Newport Coast (Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School), also was a first-team women's choice
Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS), a junior, led Big West champion UCI with nine goals along with eight assists. Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) scored 17 goals with 10 assists for the Gauchos.
UCLA goalkeeper Brian Rowe and Connecticut midfielder Carlos Alvarez (Los Angeles/Salsian HS) were second-team selections, and UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman and Cal State Bakersfield forward Gyasi Zardes (Hawthorne/Leuzinger HS) were chosen for the third-team.
Ibarra, Silva and Rowe have been invited to Major League Soccer's predraft combine next month in Florida.
UC Irvine defender CoCo Goodson and Pepperdine defender Michelle Pao are second-team women's selections, and UCLA freshman defender Abby Dahlkemper is a third-teamer.
Below are lists of local players selected to All-America and all-region teams:
Four players looking to take UCLA to the NCAA men's soccer title next weekend have plans for next month. They're among 52 Division I college seniors invited to Major League Soccer's annual pre-draft Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The chosen Bruins are midfielders Eder Arreola and Andy Rose, defender Shawn Singh and goalkeeper Brian Rowe. Players from UC Irvine (forward Miguel Ibarra), Cal State Northridge (midfielder Rafael Garcia) and UC Santa Barbara (Luis Silva and James Kiffe) also are on the list announced Wednesday.
Two more UCLA players -- junior forward Chandler Hoffman and sophomore midfielder Kelyn Rowe -- would join the list if they sign Generation adidas contracts.
The Bruins meet North Carolina in an NCAA College Cup semifinal Friday night in Hoover, Ala. Three Tar Heels are on the combine list: defender Matt Hedges, midfielder Kirk Urso and forward Billy Schuler.
Creighton, which meets Charlotte in the other semifinal, received three invitations, for defender Andrew Duran, midfielder Greg Jordan and forward Ethan Finlay. No Charlotte player was invited.
The NCAA final is Sunday.
In the Big West Conference, UC Irvine's Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) and UC Riverside's Cesar Diaz Pizarro (Chino/Ayala HS) were co-Offensive Players of the Year. UCI's Andrew Fontein was honored as top goalkeeper, and Riverside's Nat Gonzalez was Coach of the Year. UC Santa Barbara's Luis Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) won Midfielder of the Year honors, and James Kiffe was the best defender.
California Collegiate Athletic Association champion Cal State L.A. dominated the league's awards, with UC Santa Barbara transfer Taylor Rivas (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) winning for Most Valuable Defensive Player, Rosario Bras for Newcomer of the Year and Chris Chamides as Coach of the Year. Cal Poly Pomona star Luis Gonzalez (Long Beach/Millikan HS and Cerritos College) was the Most Valuable Offensive Player.
Redlands' Cody Carlson (Burbank/Burbank HS) is the Southern California Collegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year.
Here are all of the local men's all-conference teams:
As he prepared his Long Beach State women's soccer team for something truly historic, Mauricio Ingrassia figured what better way to illustrate what the 49ers have accomplished -- and what remains in their reach -- than to show off a little living history.
So off they went, upon flying into North Carolina for Friday's NCAA Division I quarterfinal at thid-ranked Duke, to visit Anson Dorrance, architect of the most dominant dynasty in American sports history.
Dorrance, with a nearly never-ending stream of legends -- Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, April Heinrichs, Carla Overbeck, Tisha Venturini, Lorrie Fair, Lindsay Tarpley, Lori Chalupny, Heather O'Reilly, Tobin Heath -- has guided North Carolina to 21 national championships and fueled the U.S. women's national team's dominance in the women's game.
“Four our girls, that's history,” said Ingrassia, whose 49ers (18-5-1) have won eight in a row, seven by shutout, en route to the Big West Conference tournament title, a first-round NCAA “upset” of No. 7 Pepperdine, victories over Miami and San Diego and to a wholly unexpected spot in the elite eight. “If you ask [female] college players around the country if they ever thought about playing at North Carolina, you'd see a lot of hands, and our program isn't any different.”
So Ingrassia's charges oohed and ahhed at all the silverware and championship banners and mementos of those icons, checked out the facilities and spend a little time with Dorrance, the winningest coach in the American game, any level, anywhere.
Now they head into a battle with a Duke team that's 20-3-1, has a vibrant attack led by freshman Kelly Cobb and sophomores Kaitlyn Kerr and Mollie Pathman and an outstanding backline anchored by sophomore Natasha Anasi. The smart money has the Blue Devils in the Dec. 4 final against No. 1 Stanford.
Nothing is expected of Long Beach State, which hadn't won in two previous NCAA appearances. Now they sit one very difficult win from a College Cup final appearance.
“The goal for the team was to get to the sweet 16 or better,” said Ingrassia, whose team has advanced further than North Carolina, defending champion Notre Dame and perennial powers Santa Clara, Portland, UCLA and Florida. “Once we got to the sweet 16, we got the team together and said, 'Define what 'better' means to you. They came up with some pretty good and pretty powerful answers, so we redefined our goal.”
UC Irvine rallied late to force overtime, but the seventh-ranked Anteaters couldn't stop St. Mary's at the end, dropping a 2-1 decision in their NCAA Division I men's soccer tournament opener Sunday night.Justin Howard's header nearly 13 minutes into overtime lifted the Gaels (10-6-5) into a third-round clash at Brown (12-4-3), which upset ninth-seeded St. John's.
Riley Hanley scored from a deflected corner kick in the 58th minute to provide a lead for St. Mary's, the West Coast Conference champion. Big West Conference titlist Irvine (16-6-1), which had a first-round bye, pulled even on a finish by Miguel Ibarra (Lancaster/Lancaster HS) in the 84th, his team-best ninth goal of the season.
The decisive goal followed a cleared corner kick that was sent back into the Anteaters' box and was headed about a half-dozen times between the sides before falling to Howard, who nodded it home.
In other men's action:
- Chandler Hoffman scored in the 83rd minute, his 16th of the season, and goalkeeper Brian Rowe posted his sixth straight shutout to lead No. 4 UCLA (16-4-1) to an NCAA Division I second-round victory over visiting Delaware. The Bruins will be home next Sunday evening at 5 against Rutgers (10-6-4), which toppled fourth-seeded Boston College on penalties.
The Lancers first must get past former Golden State Athletic Conference rival The Master's.
Cal Baptist (14-5-0) and TMC (11-5-3) on Thursday advanced to the West Regional final in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association's annual tournament with home victories. They'll meet Saturday afternoon in Riverside, with the winner heading to Florida.
The NCCAA tournaments will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 3. Cal Baptist's women won the West Regional last week.
The Lancers, who are wrapping up their first season as an NCAA Division II team, pulled out a 2-1 victory over Trinity Lutheran of Everett, Wash., as Willie Rupert converted his fourth penalty kick of the season in the 83rd minute.
Michael Salazar (Moreno Valley/Canyon Springs HS) drew the penalty as Cal Baptist withstood a physical test from Trinity Lutheran (12-5-1), which was whistled for 22 fouls and received four yellow cards and one red card.
Jonathan Garcia (Long Beach/Millikan HS) gave the Lancers a third-minute lead, but Edwin Aguilar pulled the Eagles even four minutes into the second half.
The Master's routed GSAC foe Hope International, 7-1, in Santa Clarita. Kevin Scheunemann scored twice, Marcelo Silva scored a goal and assisted two more, and Jorge Serrano (Sylmar/Sylmar HS and College of the Canyons) and Joel Peluffo (Newhall/Hart HS) added goals and assists to lead the Mustangs. Fullerton-based Hope's season ended at 7-8-2.
As the college soccer season hits its stretch drive, let's take a look at some of the most dominant players in Southern California this year, no matter the division.
Here are 10 who enjoyed marvelous campaigns:
- LUIS GONZALEZ
Who is he? Senior striker from Long Beach (Millikan HS), the national JC Player of the Year at Cerritos College and soon-to-be two-time All-American in two seasons with the Broncos.
What has he done? Scored 14 goals this year and 26 in two seasons at Cal Poly Pomona, winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association's Most Valuable Offensive Player award this fall.
Coachspeak: “I equate Luis Gonzalez to Magic Johnson,” Broncos coach Lance Thompson said, “and I do that because a heard a story about Magic where he was playing for his youth basketball team and they were winning and he was jumping for joy and excited and couldn't figure out why his teammates were so depressed. Well, if the team scored 70 points, he scored 68, and he learned a valuable lesson of giving and getting others involved so they could contribute, and he became one of the best assist guys ever. That's Luis. Luis takes more pride and has more joy in getting teammates involved than he does in scoring. And the more he gave, the more he received. That's what sets him apart over any other student-athlete I've coached.”
- COCO GOODSON
Who is she? Senior center back from Ramona (San Diego County), a University of Texas transfer expected to repeat as a Division I All-American.
What has she done? Set the standard at the back to lead the Anteaters to back-to-back Big West Conference titles, an NCAA sweet 16 appearance last year, and a return to the NCAA tournament this fall.
Coachspeak: “Coco's unique,” Anteaters coach Scott Juniper said. “She is the strongest player that I've seen in women's soccer. She strikes a ball better than many of the male players I've worked with, and she is just a relentless competitor. She's totally unique, and there isn't another player out there like her.”
There are another 19 matches, in the NCAA, NAIA and NCCAA tournaments, slated for the L.A. area on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Redlands received word Monday that it will be home for the third round and quarterfinals in the NCAA Division III tournament -- the Bulldogs meet Calvin, from Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday, and the winner faces Randolph or Texas-Tyler in Saturday's showdown for a final-four berth.
UCLA's and Cal State L.A.'s women are staging four-school quartets Friday and Sunday, and UCLA's, UC Irvine's and UC Santa Barbara's men will be home for their NCAA openers Sunday.
There also are three NAIA teams (Azusa Pacific's men and women and Concordia's women) at home for first-round games Saturday, and regional play in the NCCAA tournament -- for Christian schools -- set for Friday and Saturday.
Here's the full list of games this week:
NCCAA: Trinity Lutheran (12-4-1) at Cal Baptist (13-5-0), 1 p.m.
NCCAA: Hope International (7-7-2) at The Master's (10-5-3), 1 p.m.
D3: Randolph (19-5-0) vs. Texas-Tyler (17-2-2) at Redlands, 5 p.m.
D3: Calvin (17-5-1) at Redlands (20-3-1), 7:30 p.m.
NAIA: Biola (13-5-2) at Hannibal-LaGrange (16-4-0), 11 a.m.
D2: Cal State L.A. (15-1-6) at Fort Lewis (20-1-0), noon
NCCAA: Cal Baptist/Trinity Lutheran vs. The Master's/Hope International at Cal Baptist, 1 p.m.
NAIA: Cal State San Marcos (10-6-1) at Azusa Pacific (12-3-3), 1:30 p.m.
D3: Redlands/Calvin vs. Randolph/Texas-Tyler at Redlands, 5 p.m.
D1: St. Mary's (8-6-5) or Cal State Bakersfield (12-3-5) at UC Irvine (16-5-1), 5 p.m.
D1: Dartmouth (8-5-4) or Providence (10-7-1) at UC Santa Barbara (14-6-1), 5 p.m.
D1: Delaware (12-5-4) or Virginia (12-7-1) at UCLA (15-4-1), 7 p.m.
D2: Chico State (12-6-4) at Cal State L.A. (13-4-3), noon
D2: Abilene Christian (19-1-1) vs. Dallas Baptist (16-5-1) at Cal State L.A., 2:30 p.m.
D1: Long Beach State (16-5-1) vs. Miami (10-7-1) at UCLA, 5 p.m.
D1: San Diego (12-7-1) at UCLA (15-1-3), 7:30 p.m.
NAIA: Ottawa, Kan. (10-7-3) at Azusa Pacific (13-2-2), 11 a.m.
NAIA: Graceland (10-6-3) at Concordia (13-5-1), 1:30 p.m.
D1: UCLA/San Diego vs. Long Beach State/Miami at UCLA, 2 p.m.
D2: Cal State L.A./Chico State vs. Abilene Christian/Dallas Baptist at Cal State L.A., 2 p.m.