Men's Soccer Picked to Win The American

The American's Release

ORLANDO, Fla. – After winning their third consecutive regular season conference title and securing the conference tournament crown, the UCF men's soccer team was chosen to finish first in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll for the upcoming 2021 campaign. The American also released preseason awards which saw Yanis Leerman earn Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as three Knights making their way onto the Preseason All-Conference Team.

The Knights were picked to finish second in the 2020-21 version of the preseason coaches poll behind a unanimously selected SMU squad who was picked to finish first. The Black and Gold were picked to finish first back in 2019 which ended up being the second leg of their current three-peat of the regular season conference title.

Leerman was named as the conference's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after a tremendous junior campaign. Leerman and the Knights' defense finished the regular season allowing just two goals following his return to the pitch and outscored opponents 14-2 to close out the scheduled slate. The American Athletic Conference Championship saw the Black and Gold allow just one goal through two matches as the Knights marched their way to their first conference tournament title as part of the league. Leerman scored in the penalty kick shootout in UCF's semifinal match with SMU, helping to send the Knights to their third straight championship match appearance.

Leerman, Gino Vivi and Anderson Rosa all made their way onto the Preseason All-Conference Team, with Leerman and Rosa unanimously receiving nods. Leerman was a huge part of the Knights locking down the backline during their stretch run to the postseason. Rosa tallied a goal and a pair of assists in his rookie campaign and was another big factor in making up the Knights' backline. Vivi led the team in scoring, tallying five goals and four assists for a total of 14 points. Vivi was 13th in the country and second in the conference in shots per game, averaging a 3.57 mark over the Black and Gold's 14 matches.

Vivi and Leerman were named to the All-Conference Preseason Team at the beginning of the 2020-21 season and both ended up on the All-Conference First Team at season's end. Rosa also finished the year on the All-Conference First Team.

Preseason Coaches' Poll
School (1st Place Votes)    Points
1. UCF (3)                          22
2. SMU (2)                          21
3. Tulsa (1)                         19
4. South Florida                  12
5. Temple                            11
6. Memphis                          5

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

Season tickets and individual game tickets for the 2021 men's soccer season are available now. To catch every moment on the pitch this year, click here.

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