Soccer Players Honored On MPSF Anniversary Teams

Woodland, Calif. - Five current and former student-athletes from the San Jose State University men’s soccer program have been recognized by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation on the conference’s 15th-year anniversary teams.

The list of Spartan honorees is headlined by former standout Lars Lyssand, the 2001 MPSF “Player of the Year,” who was a four-year member of the San Jose State program between 1998-2001. A midfielder out of Redwood City, Calif., Lyssand was named to the 12-player 15th-Year Anniversary first team, alongside current United States men’s national team player pool members Carlos Bocanegra (1997-99), Eddie Lewis (1992-95) and Ante Razov (1992-95), all of whom starred at UCLA while the Bruins were in the MPSF.

Frank Sanfilippo, a midfielder out of San Diego, Calif., who played for the Spartans from 1999-2003, was named to the 12-player second team, while Johnny Gonzalez (2002-05) and Ed Brand (2005-06) made the 12-player third team.

Frank Mata (2001-04), a midfielder out of San Jose, Calif., was one of eight players to earn honorable mention.

“What jumps out at me is the impressive list of names,” said San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair, who will be in his 18th season at the helm in 2007. “You have U.S. national team members, players who have competed in Europe and who have made quite a career for themselves, and our players are right in the midst of that. The quality of the list is one of the best that I have seen. I am quite pleased that our players are mentioned among this group.”

Lyssand helped lead the Spartans to the 2000 MPSF Mountain Division championship and 2000 MPSF Tournament title in their first season in the conference. San Jose State went a program-best 20-1-1 overall and a perfect 8-0 in league play that season, qualifying for the 2000 NCAA Tournament. In addition to being named the 2001 MPSF “Player of the Year,” Lyssand was a 2001 first-team All-MPSF, 2000 second-team All-MPSF and 1999 second-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection.

Lyssand started 79 of 80 games played over his four years, missing just three, and finished with 24 goals, five of them game-winners, and 24 assists, for 72 total points in his career. He started all 21 games as a freshman in 1998. Lyssand was a sixth-round draft choice, No. 70 overall, of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer in 2002. He later played for the Montreal Impact of the United Soccer Leagues’ First Division.

Sanfilippo, like Lyssand, was a member of the 2000 Spartans. The 2003 National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas Far West Region second-team selection was a three-time first-team All-MPSF honoree (2000, 2002-03). He also earned All-MPSF honorable mention and MPSF All-Tournament Team honors in 2001. Sanfilippo started 77 of 80 games played in four-plus seasons, producing eight goals and 14 assists for 30 total points in his career. He currently plays with the Carolina RailHawks of the USL First Division.

Gonzalez, a forward from Culver City, Calif., is the only player in Spartan history to be a four-time All-MPSF honoree, earning first-team selection in 2004 and 2003, and second-team distinction in 2005 and 2002. He produced 23 goals and 12 assists for 58 total points in his four years in the program.

Brand is a current Spartan. The defender from London, England, will be entering his second season as a team captain as a junior in 2007. The team’s anchor in central defense the past two years, Brand was a 2006 first-team All-MPSF and 2005 All-MPSF honorable mention selection.

Mata earned first-team All-MPSF distinction in 2003, second-team All-MPSF honors in 2004, and was named the “Most Valuable Player” of the 2003 MPSF Tournament.

Gonzalez, Mata and Sanfilippo were teammates on the 2003 Spartan team that won the MPSF Tournament championship, and was the last San Jose State squad to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Gonzalez scored the game-winner in the 3-2 defeat of New Mexico in the MPSF Tournament championship game in Sacramento, Calif.

Those honored were selected through a vote of MPSF men’s soccer head coaches, and announced recently by MPSF executive director Al Beaird. The conference will be celebrating its 15th year of competition in 2007-08.

The teams recognize current and former players from the following programs: UCLA, New Mexico, Cal State Fullerton, Denver, San Jose State, Air Force, UNLV, UC Irvine, Sacramento State, Cal State Northridge and Oregon State.

The coaches honored were Sigi Schmid of UCLA (1980-98), the current coach of the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, and Lou Sagastume of Air Force (1979-2006), who announced his retirement in April after 28 years in charge of the Falcons.

The UCLA Bruins had nine selections in all, including Schmid, with a total of six former players on the first team.