Houston Dash Draft Three

Jane Campell (Photo: Stanford)

Without a pick in the first round of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft, Houston Dash had to bide their time before picking up three players. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, forward Nichelle Prince and defender Erin Smith were all drafted by Houston in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Both Campbell and Prince have already received call-ups to their respective national squads Campbell to the United States and Prince to Canada. Both receiving that call up while they were still just 17.

Campbell was the youngest ever goalkeeper called in to United States camp, called up in 2013 when she was just 17 years old.  That was before the goalkeeper from Kennesaw, Georgia went on to excel in goal for Stanford.

While at Stanford Campbell managed 35 clean sheets equaling the school record, making 210 saves in the process. Campbell was named to the 2016 NSCAA All-American Team and was drafted by the Dash at the 15th position. Campbell is already linking up with some of her Houston Dash team mates as she is in the US training camp currently being held in Carson, CA.

Prince was drafted 28th overall joining after her collegiate career at Ohio State University, and coming after the Dash traded with Chicago Red Stars to move up the draft order. The forward scored 27 goals, with 20 assists while at Ohio State.

The Canadian forward already has success at international level, having a bronze medal from her efforts in Rio last year. Prince has represented Canada 21 times at full international level and has scored six goals.

With the 33rd overall pick in the draft Houston Dash selected defender Erin Smith, adding some needed defensive depth to the squad. Smith was a powerhouse for Rutgers, starting 73 consecutive matches for Rutgers and playing 2,174 minutes. In 2016 Smith was named first team all-conference capping a strong collegiate career.

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2016 San Antonio Soccer Awards

USL Orange County Blues FC at San Antonio FC

San Antonio Soccer Awards Player of the Year: Stephen McCarthy (Photo: San Antonio FC)

2016 was a phenomenally big and busy year for soccer in San Antonio with lots of news and a brand new team. Ultimately San Antonio FC fell just short of the playoffs but created plenty of highlights along the way, and those are recognized in the 2016 San Antonio soccer awards.

Story of the Year: San Antonio FC’s season

Okay, so we’re cheating here a little bit, in 2015 this was perhaps the closest fought award, and in 2016 it proved even harder. So yes, this isn’t an individual story, but no individual story could be pinpointed that was as big as this one. San Antonio FC’s existence fundamentally altered the soccer scene in San Antonio and their rollercoaster ride of a season kept everyone excited until the bitter end in Edinburg.

Non-San Antonio Team of the Year: Swope Park Rangers

There was certainly plenty of contenders for this award, but in the end Swope Park Rangers’ incredible run to the United Soccer League (USL) championship game pushed them over the edge. They entertained when they played at Toyota Field, and they had a phenomenal season. Rio Grande Toros FC could also have been mentioned here but their playoff collapse hurt them. FC Dallas also get an honorable mention here but as they did not play in San Antonio they are not included in consideration.

Signing of the Year: Rafael Castillo

Castillo had a strong season, although that is not why he is the winner of this award, although his on-field performances were certainly a factor. Castillo’s signing by San Antonio FC as one of the first players announced was a phenomenally astute move from the club. It created a subtle link between the old club and brought some skeptical fans on board. There is more to signing a player than just what they can do on field, there are also commercial concerns to consider and in Castillo San Antonio FC was able to hit both on and off field concerns in a player.

Amateur Team of the Year: Reagan Boys

The first time a varsity team is being recognized by the San Antonio soccer awards, the Rattlers had another strong season, earning 10 places on the All-District Teams. Coach Gilbert Villarreal also earned Coach of the Year honors as he lead the Rattlers to the regional final, losing only on a goal with just three minutes to play.

College Team of the Year: Trinity Women

It was an agonizing end to the season for Trinity’s women, falling in the national quarter finals on their own pitch, to the eventual champions. That said, the Tigers had a phenomenal season, that quarter-final loss the only loss of the season as they continued to excel, building a strong program that looks set to contend for a national title again next year.

Game of the Year: San Antonio FC v Swope Park Rangers 4/9/2016

Yet again the best match of the year occurred in April, this time it was a club match as San Antonio FC played their first ever home league match. The atmosphere was electric, despite San Antonio FC conceding just two minutes in. The crowd of 8,466 set a Toyota Field Record, with San Antonio FC coming from behind in a 1-1 draw. In 20 years there will be 18,466 people claiming they were there, keep your ticket stub!

Goal of the Year: Franck Tayou Bicycle (9/17/2016 v Tulsa Roughnecks)

Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Tayou scored one of his most crucial goals against Tulsa. Sure they left him wide open for the finish, but his acrobatic finish was out of the blue, with San Antonio fans not used to seeing him score goals like that. Castillo’s free-kick against LA Galaxy II was a very close second, but bicycles have a strong record in this category, and being in general play helped Tayou claim the win.

Administrator of the Year: Tim Holt (San Antonio FC)

This is no doubt the lowest of Holt’s many accolades from a very successful career as a soccer administrator but it’s one that he deserves for all he has done for soccer in San Antonio this year. Holt comes in as a phenomenal administrator who has greatly improved the back office of pro soccer in San Antonio, following from the disaster that was Howard Cornfield, creating a successful on and off field product that can no doubt stand the test of time.

Coach of the Year: Dylan Harrison (Trinity Women)

In a year with two coaches new to San Antonio this was a difficult decision but in the end Harrison just edged out Darren Powell for the award. Harrison led Trinity, in his first season back at his alma mater, to an almost perfect season, losing just once, the national quarter-finals. While it was a bitter end to the season, Harrison has proven his credentials, deserving to be at a strong school like Trinity, and he seems on track to fill the big shoes of former coach Lance Key.

College Player of the Year: Laurence Wyke (Trinity Men)

Trinity had a number of strong candidates for this award but in the end Wyke’s consistency pushed him over the edge. Wyke was strong at the back for the season, but was also able to push forward, providing a number of goals and assists. Wyke was named a first-team All-American at the end of the season, and as just a sophomore has a strong shot at backing up for this award.

Player of the Year: Stephen McCarthy (San Antonio FC)

Another tough award in 2016, with a number of players making strong arguments for winning this award. In the end McCarthy just edged it as his strong defensive performances were vital for San Antonio FC keeping them alive. What clinched it was how much the defense struggled without him there and his leadership. McCarthy has re-signed for 2017 and San Antonio FC will be hoping he can remain fit for the season.

Stanford Claim 2016 College Cup Title

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All photos by Eric Guzman

It was an enthralling match in the NCAA College Cup final at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Sunday afternoon. In the end it required penalties with Stanford winning 5-4 in the shootout after a scoreless draw against Wake Forest.

Andrew Epstein was the hero of the shootout, making two saves, earning defensive player of the tournament honors, to win the title for Stanford for the second year in a row.

“In a shootout I just always think of the next play, and going in to the fifth shot I felt confident.” Said Epstein after the match. “When he came up I saw something in his run up and thought I could get to it and I did and after that I was feeling really confident. On the fifth he was a little tighter so that was going to make it harder to hit across his body, so I felt good I could get there.”

Wake Forest head coach Brad Muus was disappointed after the match “I had confidence in the guys we had going up there, but it just didn’t work out.”

“It was a cracking final”, said Stanford head coach Jeremy Gunn “Wake Forest played very well… Not too much more to say I’m pretty tired.”

Wake Forest had a strong shout for a penalty in the 20th minute when Jacori Hayes ran through on goal but was taken down from behind. The referee ran over to the spot but called play on arguing that the challenge was all ball.

Their head coach Brad Muus was frustrated after the match with the officiating, “There were 40 fouls but only three yellow cards, I think these players, we (all four teams) deserve more respect.”, he said while also not holding back about the pitch “I wouldn’t call it soccer. What happened this weekend (with the pitch) is a catastrophe for our game. It didn’t lose or win the game for us, it just made for a sloppy final four, which is supposed to be the pinnacle of college soccer… it played a small bit in to it.”

Only one minute later Stanford went agonizingly close to finding a goal after a set-piece allowed Foster Langsdorf to step up. Langsdorf hit it with power, with Andreu Mundet scrambling but he hit his effort well wide of goal, letting Wake Forest off the hook.

Wake Forest senior midfielder Ian Harkes very nearly put the Deacons in front with two minutes to play in the first half. He was able to get through on the right side of the box, but was denied as Stanford junior goalkeeper, Andrew Epstein made a great save at full stretch to keep it scoreless at half-time.

Harkes was named the offensive player of the tournament “I didn’t think I had a great game today, but I was pleased to contribute. It was a tough result with the PKs.”

Hayes could have opened the scoring for Wake Forest as he made a 30 yard run from midfield to the edge of the box and took a shot. That shot was too close to the keeper, allowing Epstein to make the save.

Moments later Hayes turned provider as he was able to cut the ball back to Ian Harkes who was making a strong run. Harkes ran on to the ball and shot but could only send it high and wide of goal, before he got on to a corner in the 64th minute, again heading it just over the bar.

Stanford thought they’d scored with 19 minutes to play when junior midfielder Drew Skundrich tried to bundle the ball home after a goal mouth scramble. The ball was saved by Wake Forest freshman goalkeeper Andreu Cases Mundet. He fell back, and towards the line, which led to the play being reviewed, in the NCAA soccer review system, but the replays couldn’t prove the ball crossed the line, keeping the original decision the correct one.

“I don’t think they had a good angle on the replay” said Stanford head coach Gunn. “But I’m all for it, anything that came make the job easier for referees who have a very difficult job.”

Wake Forest’s defense continued to ride their luck as they cleared the ball off the line in the 78th minute. A cross came in to Stanford sophomore forward Amir Bashti whose header beat the keeper but was cleared off the line perfectly by Wake Forest sophomore defender Sam Raben.

No side could break through and for the third time in the tournament the match went to extra time, the first time every match went to the extra 20 minutes since 2009, and just the second time in history.

A corner from Wake Forest junior midfielder Luis Argudo nearly resulted in the winner in the first half of extra-time. Argudo’s corner found junior defender Kevin Politz who saw his shot blocked and cleared away by Stanford to send the match to a second extra time period.

Wake Forest were forced to work hard in the second half of extra time, having to clear the ball off the line after a goal mouth scramble. Stanford senior forward Adrian Alabi was able to get a shot away which was parried away by Mundet and then cleared to keep the match scoreless and send the match to the shootout.

College Cup Preview: Stanford

With the College Cup coming to Texas this weekend, San Antonio Soccer News concludes its look at the four teams competing.

Team: Stanford

City: Stanford, CA

Conference: Pac-12

2015 Finish: CHAMPIONS

Ranking: Fifth

Best Finish: Champions (2015)

Coach: Jeremy Gunn (four years)

Preview:

The defending champions are back again, after winning their first ever title 12 months ago, Stanford are back to try and defend their title. They were perhaps fortunate to even get to the quarterfinal as they squeaked past Virginia in the third round thanks to a golden goal.

Stanford are on a run of program best form as they have continued their growth under head coach Gunn, finally in his fourth season. With just three seniors in the squad this could be a long run of domination from Cardinal.

With strong coaching and their most decorated ever squad, Stanford are coming in as a strong chance of defending their title. The Cardinal have three All-Americans, the most in program history celebrating another strong season.

Tomas Hillard-Arce was the Stanford player on the first team after a strong season at the center of defense for the Cardinal. Hillard-Arce is in the MAC Hermann Trophy semi-finalist list and is a crucial part of the defense that has a goals allowed average of 0.62.

In addition to this, Stanford had five players on the all-region team and look set to be a phenomenally difficult team to beat on the road to the national championship.

2016 MLS SuperDraft Class:

Brandon Vincent – Chicago Fire (4)

Eric Verso – Montreal Impact (34)

Tyler Thompson – San Jose Earthquakes (69)

Possible 2017 MLS Draftees:

Brian Nana-Sinkam – a strong defender Nana-Sinkam has captained Stanford and while not setting the world on fire a national championship could push him up the draft order.

Prediction: Champions

College Cup Preview: Wake Forest

Photo: Wake Forest Athletics

With the College Cup coming to Texas this weekend, San Antonio Soccer News continues its look at the four teams competing.

Team: Wake Forest

City: Winston-Salem, NC

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

2015 Finish: Quarter-Final (Lost 2-1 to Stanford after extra time)

Ranking: Second

Best Finish: Champions (2007)

Coach: Bobby Muus (Second Season)

Preview:

Wake Forest come to the college cup as the highest ranked team still alive in the NCAA Championships and have a strong chance at winning their second ever title. Coming in with an 18-2-3 record and on strong form having made light work of the NCAA field, although they played all three matches at home.

Three Wake Forest players were named to the All-Region team and all three serve as captains on the team and will be vital to their hopes. In a Championship tournament a goalkeeper is crucial and Alec Ferrell has a goals allowed average of 0.51, close to a program record for the senior.

Also in the all-region first team is Ian Harkes who has managed four goals from defense, while being vital in the Wake Forest defense. Jacori Hayes is leading the team with eight goals on the season after starting all 23 games. Hayes has also won the Senior CLASS award for men’s soccer reflecting his work in the classroom, community, character and his work on the pitch.

It has been another strong season for Wake Forest as they continued their growth under second season head coach Bobby Muus they have gone closer than last season. Muus used to be had coach of Denver who they will face in the semi-final on Friday creating an interesting matchup.

2016 MLS SuperDraft Class:

Jack Harrison – Chicago Fire (1)

Michael Gamble – New England Revolution (30)

Likely 2017 MLS Draftees:

Ian Harkes – Having lead the Wake Forest defense for another season, he has kept Wake Forest’s goals allowed count down and could well be a target for a team that needs a strong defender.

Jacori Hayes – The Senior CLASS award winner has led the scoring for Wake Forest and with so many teams in need of a goal scorer, Hayes would be a good pick up.

Alec Ferrell – A goalkeeper is not a common player taken in the MLS draft but if there is a team in need of a goalkeeper, and there may be in an expansion year, Ferrell would be a good pick up.

Prediction: Runner-up

College Cup Preview: Denver

Photo: University of Denver Athletics

With Texas hosting the College Cup this weekend, San Antonio Soccer News continues its look at the four teams competing.

Team: Denver

City: Denver, CO

Conference: Summit League

2015 Finish: Second Round (Lost 1-0 to Southern Methodist after extra time)

Ranking: Sixth

Best Finish: Semi-Finals (2016)

Coach: Jamie Franks (Second Season)

Preview:

Denver are appearing in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament for just the seventh time, and second in a row after falling to SMU in the second round last year. The Pioneers have lifted in the last two years, and find themselves in their best ever season, going past the 1970 season where they made the quarterfinals.

Having only lost two starters from the 2015 season, Denver was able to use that stability to have another impressive season in 2016. Of those returning, just four are seniors, shaping for a strong 2017 season where they could return to the College Cup.

The team is obviously well coached with the Pioneers coaching staff wining the West Region coaching staff of the year award. The coaching staff have helped lead Denver to their first ever multiple win and best ever NCAA tournament appearance.

The star of the team is Reagan Dunk who has been named as a semi-finalist for the MAC Hermann award, given to the best college soccer player of the year. Dunk won the Conference Defensive Player of the Year award after being an All-American last year and has helped lead Denver to being the stingiest defense in the country, along with providing five assists.

Denver stunned Clemson in the quarter-finals to make it this far as they won in Clemson 1-0 to advance to the College Cup. The semi-final is going to be an interesting matchup as it will pit Franks against the man he used to be assistant to at Denver, Bobby Muuss.

2016 MLS SuperDraft Class: None

Likely 2017 MLS Draftees:

Reagan Dunk – A redshirt senior who remains in contention for the MAC Hermann award after yet another good season. Dunk has been a rock in defense for the Pioneers and could well do the same for an MLS team.

Prediction: Lose to Wake Forest in Semi-Final

College Cup Preview: North Carolina

Photo: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Athletics

With the NCAA College Cup coming to Texas this weekend, San Antonio Soccer News is setting out to preview all four teams in the tournament.

Team: North Carolina

City: Chapel Hill, NC

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

2015 Finish: Third Round (Lost 1-0 to Creighton)

Ranking: Ninth

Best Finish: Champions (2001, 2011)

Head Coach: Carlos Somoana (Sixth Season)

Preview:

North Carolina are perennial contenders for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship although are often in the shadow of their more successful women’s team. Any team winning two championships in 11 years would be impressive but given North Carolina’s women’s team has won 22 national championships often the men are forgotten but this year the men will definitely finish above them this season.

The Tar Heels may well be very fortunate to be here needing a golden goal to beat Florida Gulf Coast in the first weekend. Their other two results saw them defeat Syracuse and Providence 1-0, enough to qualify for the College Cup.

The star of the team is Cam Lindley the only North Carolina player selected on the All-Region first team for 2016. It’s an impressive result for Lindley who is only a freshman and is bound to have a strong collegiate career and no doubt head to MLS in 2020.

2015 MLS SuperDraft Class:

Omar Holness – Real Salt Lake (5)

Jordan McCrary – New England Revolution (10)

Jonathan Campbell – Chicago Fire (12)

Likely 2016 MLS Draftees:

Walker Hume – Named to the All-Region second team, Hume has been a strong defensive player for the Tar Heels while also managing goals and assists. Hume is a native of Texas, from San Angelo, and the tournament is something of a home coming for him.

Colton Storm – The captain of the Tar Heels has started every match this season in a vital defensive role for North Carolina. Storm was named to the All-Region third team after also adding three assists to his defensive efforts.

Prediction: Fall in Semi-Final to Stanford

Five Trinity Players Named All-Americans

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Trinity has had five of their players named to All-American squads announced on Thursday, two men and one woman were named first team all-Americans while two men were on the second team. Laurence Wyke and Austin Michaelis (both sophomores) were named to the first team along with Yasmeen Farra on the women’s side while defending all-American Christian Sakshaug (sophomore) and Kellen Reid (junior) were named second team All-Americans.

Wyke had a strong season at both ends of the field, being a strong member of the Tigers defense through the season. At the other end of the field Wyke scored seven goals and provided two assists through the season and earned Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Michaelis was a vital member of Trinity’s attacking play, often providing the ball before he would be credited with an assist. Michaelis also led the team with 11 goals, and provided nine assists for Trinity earning Conferense Offensive Player of the Year.

Trinity’s other first team All-American is Yasmeen Farra the senior midfielder capping her final season with the honor. Farra scored 14 goals, leading the team and both programs, while also managing seven assists. Winning the All-American award comes as her second honor of the season after winning the Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Shakshuag improved on his 2015 All-American third-team honor as a freshman moving up to the 2016 second team. Shakshaug led the Tigers with 11 assists and scored two goals for the season continuing his impressive early collegiate career performances.

Reid was a vital captain in the middle of the Trinity defense, often getting his work done in a way that doesn’t get noticed. But the voters noticed and named him to the second team after a notable five assists.

Trinity men see Season end to Kenyon in Round of 16

Kenyon celebrate their third goal Photo: Kenyon University Athletics

Trinity University men’s soccer saw their season come to an end on Saturday afternoon as they fell to fifth ranked Kenyon at Tufts. Kenyon were dominant as they managed a 4-0 win over the Tigers, using a big second half to tear Trinity apart.

After three straight seasons in the final eight, the Tigers had high hopes of making it to Salem in two weeks’ time. But Kenyon came out determined in conditions there were more suited to and won the match convincingly the number five team upsetting the number three team.

In the 40th minute Kenyon’s pressure told as Billy O’Neill opened the scoring as the first half started wearing down. Greg McNeer sent in the ball which found O’Neill who buried the opportunity forcing Trinity to require a comeback.

Two minutes in to the second half things got harder for Trinity as Kenyon was able to double their lead and make things difficult for the Tigers. Jordan Glassman was able to send a ball in for Woo Jeon who buried the opportunity to make it 2-0 to Kenyon.

The match was well and truly sealed for Kenyon in the 53rd minute as they were able to score a third goal. That saw Jeon seal his brace as he did all the work himself, creating the space for the opportunity to give Kenyon their third.

Trinity started the match the stronger side, with Brent Mandlekorn looking a likely outlet for the Tigers coming from set-pieces. Trinity won several corners in the early going but they could not result in goals, the best chance being a header from Laurence Wyke that went high and wide.

The first half was a very stop-start affair as the two teams were giving away a number of fouls which broke up the flow of the match. Kenyon started to take charge of the match in the final 20 minutes of the first half.

Trinity fought hard in the final five minutes of the half as they looked to find a goal to pull back in to the match. First Ryan Hunter had a chance before Kellen Reid had a chance of his own in the final 20 seconds but both chances were saved by Sam Clougher in the Kenyon goal.

Sitting three goals down just before the hour mark, Trinity was forced to go for it, trying to get a goal which would pull them back in to the match. Chris Madden went close twice for the Tigers in the 56th minute, first seeing an effort saved before sending one just wide.

It was all Trinity in the final half hour of the match but they were unable to capitalize and in the 87th minute Kenyon had their fourth. Will Bennett was able to find Greg McNeer who scored the fourth, up against Chris Morrish to seal their passage to the quarter-final.

UIW men Hold Conference Leaders Utah Valley to Draw

Photo: UIW Athletics

The University of Incarnate Word (UIW) soccer season came to an end on Saturday night as the UIW men managed a draw in their last match of the season. Ben Conway scored a brace in his last match for the school but it wasn’t enough as the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) leaders Utah Valley came back for a 2-2 draw at Benson Stadium on Saturday night.

Up against the conference leaders the Cardinals showed no sign of being overawed, starting the match well and opening the scoring in the 12th minute. A foul from Utah Valley allowed Conway to step up, in range, hitting his free-kick perfectly beating the keeper to get a perfect start to senior night.

After being stunned early, Utah Valley was forced to respond, and they did so, going on the attack to try and find an equalizer. But keeping out Utah Valley was Jorge Guzman who was having a phenomenal match in the Cardinals goal.

That Utah Valley domination continued throughout the first half of the match, but could not finish the chances that presented themselves. That allowed the Cardinals occasional chances, but the score remained 1-0 at half-time with UIW winning the match.

Ten minutes in to the second half UIW doubled their lead, punishing the conference leaders for giving away another free-kick. Conway stepped up curling the ball in and bending it in to the near-side of the net for the second.

In the 64th minute, Utah Valley had a way back in to the match after Guzman brought down a striker, earning a yellow card and conceding a penalty. That allowed Aaron Meyer to step up and he buried the penalty to make it 2-1.

With the match running out of time, Utah Valley University were chasing the match and in the 79th minute they were able to get back in the match. After Aaron Caprio’s shot was saved by Guzman, that allowed Paul Hoffmeister to run on and tap home the rebound.

The Cardinals pushed in the final ten minutes to try and find a goal, but they were unable to do so with Elliot Rubio excelling in the Utah Valley goal. He made two great saves late on to keep the match level and send it to overtime.

Utah Valley dominated the opening half of extra-time but could not take advantage of their chances, shooting off target too often. The second half saw that flipped with UIW controlling the match but the Utah Valley defense did enough to keep the Cardinals out to keep it 2-2 and make the teams settle for a draw.