UCF Unanimously Selected to Win The American

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – After a tremendous 2018 campaign, the UCF men’s soccer team has been unanimously selected to win the American Athletic Conference via their 2019 preseason poll released on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are grateful that our peers hold our program in high regard,” said UCF head coach Scott Calabrese, “What is most important for us is to keep our focus on our daily work. It’s a new season and new journey. We put 100% of our energy and attention to our training process and cultivating our team culture. If we go all in on those areas with all that we have then we will put ourselves in a place where we can be successful in 2019.”

The 2019 American Men’s Soccer Preseason Poll also contained the winners of several preseason honors. Senior Cal Jennings was named unanimously as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while junior Yannik Oettl was named the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year.

Jennings was the nation’s second leading goal scorer as he netted 20 goals and recorded hat tricks three different times last season. Jennings was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy last season and is on the watch list to open the 2019 campaign. He earned a spot on the United Soccer Coaches First Team All-America as well as being named the American Offensive Player of the Year at the end of last season.

Oettl recorded four shutouts last season and started in all 19 of UCF’s matches in 2018. He allowed less than a goal a game with a goals allowed average of 0.975. He even recorded two assists on the year with his ability to launch the ball downfield from his own goal mouth. He is the reigning American Goalkeeper of the Year as he won the award at the end of last season as well as a nod to the All-East Region team.

Additionally, four Knights were awarded a spot on the Preseason All-Conference Team. Jennings and Oettl made the team alongside teammates Louis Perez and Yoni Sorokin. Perez, Sorokin and Jennings were all unanimous selections to the squad.

Perez, just as Jennings, is listed on the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list to begin the season. He played a big part in UCF’s success last season as he scored the game-winner vs. Cincinnati to help UCF win the AAC regular season crown. He played in 17 matches before falling with an injury, missing the rest of the season. Despite the slightly shortened season, he was named to First Team All-East Region and was named the AAC Midfielder of the Year.

Sorokin registered four goals and five assists in his 2018 campaign, nearly doubling his seven points that he scored in his freshman year. He netted a game winning goal and scored a penalty kick as one of his four goals. He was named to First Team All-East region at the end of last season.

UCF won the regular season conference crown on the heels of a 5-1-1 AAC record and look to repeat as champions. The Knights made their way to the conference final in the AAC Tournament, but fell short in PK’s against SMU.

UCF, who earned the No. 15 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll earlier in August, will host FIU in the final exhibition contest of the preseason on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. and officially kick off the 2019 campaign on Aug. 30 when the Knights travel to take on No. 4 Wake Forest.

Preseason Coaches’ Poll

SchoolPoints (First Place Votes)
1. UCF  49 (7)
2. SMU  42 (1)
3. UConn     36
4. USF  31
5. Temple  24
6. Memphis  18
7. Tulsa  16
8. Cincinnati  8

*Coaches were unable to vote for their own team and players.

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