2006 Men's Soccer Preview

Aug. 23, 2006

In 2005, the UCF men's soccer team ushered in a new era as the program, under the direction of first-year head coach Brent Erwin, made the move to Conference USA. With only eight players returning from the squad that went 7-8-1 overall and narrowly missed the conference tournament a year ago, the 2006 Golden Knight team features 19 newcomers, 13 of which are freshmen.

Although the dynamics of the team may have changed, the goal of winning the C-USA Championship and earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament is the same. The road to achieving that goal begins this weekend as the Golden Knights travel to the Wake Forest Invitational, where they face the No. 18 Demon Deacons on Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. followed by No. 1 North Carolina on Aug. 27 at noon.

Staying Fit with a Strong Spring Schedule In order to stay in top physical condition, the Golden Knights played six scrimmages during the spring of 2006 and emerged with three ties and three losses. The team opened the slate by tying Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire, 1-1, then dropped identical 4-0 decisions to Real Salt Lake of the MLS and top flight Swedish squad GAIS. UCF also lost 2-0 to West Virginia.

After earning a 1-1 tie with Cincinnati, the Golden Knights finished the spring against 2005 College Cup Finalist New Mexico in a match they came back to tie 2-2.

Recruiting Class Ranked Boasting a group of 19 talented newcomers, it was inevitable that the Golden Knights' recruiting class would be ranked nationally. College Soccer News listed UCF at 29th in its top 40 behind only SMU and South Carolina in C-USA, while midfielder Cam Jordan was named one of the publication's "100 Freshmen to Watch".

Transfers Bring Experience Often cited as one of the reasons for the high ranking of UCF's recruiting class is the fact that six transfers have joined the team. Junior forward James Georgeff came to Orlando from Clemson, while junior goalkeeper Brian Pope transferred from league rival East Carolina. Both trained with the team last season, but were unable to play due to NCAA rules.

Sophomore goalkeeper Marcus Rein joined the Golden Knights in the spring after playing one season at Wake Forest. Another sophomore, midfielder Ryan Roushandel, was added to the roster in May and rejoins former Clemson teammate Georgeff.

During the summer, two final players joined the Golden Knights. Sophomore midfielder Chris Andaur transferred from Florida International, while sophomore forward Zak Boggs, who started 20 of 23 matches at West Virginia last season, was an 11th hour addition to the attack.

Perfect Strangers Although many of the players are new to the Golden Knights' roster, they aren't necessarily new to one another. In fact, three sets of athletes have competed on the same teams in the past.

Headlining the list are four players - Hunter Dorton, Cam Jordan, Allen McIntyre and Seung Tak Nam - who trained at the reknowned IMG Academy in Brandeton, Fla. during their high school years.

Jordan also played for the same nationally ranked Chicago Magic club team that featured Akin Akinrinade and Andy Masteller.

At the collegiate level, both James Georgeff and Ryan Roushandel played for the 2004 Clemson team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament.

Rein Represents United States Goalkeeper Marcus Rein was called to represent the United States as a member of the Under-20 National Team over the summer. He helped the U.S. earn a 1-1 tie with Canada on July 9.

Rein becomes only the second player in program history to play with the U.S. National Team, joining former UCF midfielder Eric Vasquez, who played for the Under-20 squad in the spring of 2001.

Incoming Freshmen Battle for National Championship When the Chicago Magic and Dallas Texan club teams competed for the Under-18 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship in July, three future Golden Knights were among the players on the field. The Texans, who featured defender Sonny Renner, claimed the crown after defeating the Magic, a squad that included defender Akin Akinrinade and forward Andy Masteller, 5-4 in penalty kicks.

Sophomores Seeking Sensational Second Season Four sophomores hope to build upon successful rookie campaigns as they enter their second year with the Golden Knights. Forward Mike Mattson, who earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors, tied for the team lead in goals scored (3) and was tied for second in points (7) a season ago. Coming into the fall as a forward, Jake Howard made the transition to the backfield and started 14 of 16 matches there. He contributed two goals and an assist for five points.

Also making contributions were Tyler Davis and Bryan Haisley. Davis played in 13 matches, notching an assist against Central Connecticut State, while Haisley used his speed to develop the play and chase down opponents.