#42 California Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

California Golden Bears

Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #4 Pac-12
#42 California Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
California Team Page


It does not seem possible that California was one of the teams to watch in the NCAA tournament over the last decade. The Golden Bears have looked a little tarnished in recent memory, following up a 14-2-4 season in 2010 with a 3-9-5 effort in 2011. California rebounded from that abysmal effort in 2012, especially in games played at home, but the team missed the NCAA tournament and fell victim to another strong Pacific-12 Conference schedule. Last year’s team was young, with only six seniors in the lineup, so you could say the rebuilding effort continues. Whether it is enough to get the team back to the tournament is a different story.

2012 Record: 8-7-3, 3-5-2
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Kevin Grimes

California has had strong starts all last season, with a 12-5 scoring advantage over opponents in that first half of play. It is the second half that has been an issue. Junior forward Stefano Bonomo returns and brings back his five goals from 2012, and junior midfielder Seth Casiple (two goals, seven assists) also returns for another go-round. Bonomo and Casiple are the only players returning that scored 10 points or more off goals and assists a year ago. Although senior Luis Fuentes only had four points off of two goals in 2012, he squeezed off 13 shots on goal so his ability to find the net and get off a quick shot is not in doubt. California does not need to worry about goalkeeping in terms of physical presence, because both keepers from last year, senior Robby Gogatz and junior Kevin Peach, are back. Peach saw the majority of playing time last year and gave up 26 goals in 18 games to go with his 77 saves.

What hurt California last year was its inability to prevent scores from taking place. The Golden Bears finished 134th out of 202 schools in goals-against average with 1.34 per game. In contrast, North Carolina led the nation with 0.29 per game. The Golden Bears gave up six goals apiece to Stanford and Maryland, but in fairness the Terrapins are a powerhouse team and Stanford was among the top 25 all of last season. What will hurt more than anything else is the relative youth of the roster. Leading scorer Tony Salciccia and John Fitzpatrick have both graduated, leaving a scoring void of nine goals and eight assists that has to be plugged and quickly. There are only five seniors on the 2013 roster, which includes eight freshmen. The Bears are still rebuilding the roster from the crash of 2011, and the youth movement looks like it is the way to go.

Final Projection:
There are a few stronger teams in the Pac-12, and California finished fourth in this conference last year on the heels of a last-place finish in 2011. Only a few teams are likely to go to the NCAA tournament from the Pac-12, which consists of only six schools for men’s soccer, and the Golden Bears may find themselves on the outside looking in one more time if some things do not go their way. California needs to cut down on goals allowed, get consistent play from its keepers and hope for production from more than just three or four players on the team. If that is the case, things should look up for California men’s soccer this fall. If not, it still should be a respectable season, but it may not be enough to prevent the season from ending in early November.

Projected Postseason: None

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Stefano Bonomo, Junior, F, 5
Assists: Seth Casiple, Junior, M, 7
Shots: Stefano Bonomo, Junior, F, 26
Saves: Kevin Peach, Junior, 77

Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#78 Christian Thierjung


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