#3 UCLA Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

UCLA Bruins

Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 Pac-12
#3 UCLA Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
UCLA Team Page


After falling to New Mexico and tying Maryland to begin the 2012 season, UCLA was rarely tested throughout the rest of the season. Other than a home loss to Washington and a tie to California, the Bruins had no trouble cruising through the Pac-12. Perhaps it was the lack of tough games that left the Bruins unprepared for San Diego in the NCAA Tournament. Or perhaps San Diego, who reached the final eight of the tournament, was on too much of a roll. But it was not just the fact that the Bruins lost to San Diego, it was that they lost 5-2 and the defense fell apart in the second half.

2012 Record: 13-3-3, 8-1-1
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jorge Salcedo

UCLA will always have talent and there is some experience returning too. Strikers Reed Williams, Victor Chavez and Max Estrada are all experienced seniors. Williams tallied seven goals and four assists and will need to have a big season to keep the Bruins offense productive. Leo Stolz dished out eight assists as a sophomore and will be the midfield’s best playmaker. With senior Victor Chavez also back in the mix, setting up the strikers up top will not be a big problem. The experience in the back begins with Joe Sofia. Sofia is a superb defender who can get up and help out with the attack on occasion as well. Patrick Matchett is a tough defender who missed much of the 2012 campaign with an injury. Back in 2010 he was a starter and in 2011 he tallied seven assists. Javan Torre was an occasional starter as a freshman and has the international experience to play a high level throughout the 2013 campaign. Perhaps the best thing the defense has going for it is keeper Earl Edwards. The junior goalie got hurt during the Bruins opener against New Mexico and missed the next four games where now sophomore Juan Cervantes played quite well. This is Edwards’ defense, but the quality depth is there.

Replacing what Ryan Hollingshead did for UCLA will be impossible. The attacking midfielder netted seven goals and added eight assists during his senior season, but he did so much more than that. Hollingshead was the leader of the Bruins and even when he was not finishing or setting up one of the strikers, he was getting everything started further back on the pitch or taking defenders with him while running up the field. The Bruins do have one of the best recruiting classes in the country and that will be huge. However, freshmen will be freshmen and Coach Jorge Salcedo will need his newcomers to be ready to go from day one. Aaron Simmons, a transfer from SMU, and Jordan Vale, a transfer from Syracuse, at least have some experience and should be ready to contribute major minutes early.

Final Projection:
The freshmen class consists of some of the best recruits in the class of 2013. Striker Kevin De La Torre, midfielder William Raygoza and defenders Nathan Smith and Michael Amick are all talented enough to be starting sooner or later. But of course UCLA is not going to be lacking talent. The question is whether or not all of it can come together and turn the Bruins into a good team that can avoid allowing five goals when it matters the most. There will be tough goings early as UCLA faces Notre Dame and Indiana, but by October Coach Salcedo will have his youngsters playing great football and the Bruins will dominate the Pac-12. And then it all comes down to their focus in the tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Reed Williams, Senior, F, 7
Assists: Leo Stolz, Junior, M, 8
Shots: Reed Williams, Senior, F, 32
Saves: Earl Edwards, Junior, GK, 61

Madness 2014 MLS Draft Rankings:
#22 Joe Sofia
#25 Reed Williams

Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#6 Paul Arriola
#9 Nathan Smith
#10 William Raygoza
#18 Michael Amick
#30 Kevin De La Torre
#110 Michael Griswold


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