Three all-league performers, Australian among men's soccer class

San Jose, Calif. San Jose State University head men’s soccer coach Gary St. Clair has announced the signing of four prospects to a National Letter-of-Intent for the 2006 season.

Roberto Castaneda, Eric Cross, Edward Murillo-Jimenez and Sam Shore will be joining St. Clair’s squad for his 17th year in charge. Cross, Castaneda and Murillo-Jimenez just recently graduated from California high schools, with the latter duo as teammates at Watsonville High School. Shore is a transfer from the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, who will have three years of eligibility remaining when he arrives on the SJSU campus.

“All four players are talented and versatile enough such that they all have a reasonable chance to start right away because of how many players we lost (to graduation),” said St. Clair. “This foursome will figure among many new faces on the field for us this year.”

Roberto Castaneda is a 5-10 midfielder out of Watsonville, Calif., and Watsonville High School, who earned second-team All-Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League honors as a senior last season.

“Roberto is a central midfielder with very good size,” remarked St. Clair. “When you see him, you think of what a smooth player he is. He has great poise and vision in midfield. He can play both holding and scheming midfielder, and is a very, very good player.”

Eric Cross is a 6-1 defender out of Chino High School and Chino, Calif., who in four years as a varsity soccer player, earned first-team all-league honors three times. He was also a first-team All-Inland Empire and third-team All-CIF selection during his high-school playing career, and a wide receiver on the varsity football team as a sophomore and senior. Cross played his club soccer with PSG, based in Fontana, Calif., helping his team to the State Cup finals in both 2005 and 2006.

“Eric is a big, strong, left-sided defender who can also play on the right. He is a tremendous athlete who is a better player than a lot of players who are just good athletes, because he can play on the left. We need left-sided players, particularly on the backline, so we’ll see how it goes with him.”

MURILLO-JIMENEZ AN ODP PERFORMER

Edward Murillo-Jimenez is a 5-11 midfielder/forward prospect from Watsonville, Calif. As a two-year varsity player at Watsonville High School, he earned second-team all-league honors as a junior and first-team all-league as a senior. The 2006 All-Central Coast Section selection was also his team’s “Most Valuable Offensive Player” as a senior, when he scored 24 goals and added 11 assists. He produced 15 goals and 13 assists as a junior. Murillo-Jimenez was a Region IV and California North state ODP (Olympic Development Program) player during the past year.

“Edward’s biggest attribute is that he is an outstanding soccer player,” commented St. Clair. “He has grown up playing with older players. He knows how to play the game, and read the game. He has great skill on the ball. He is versatile in that he can play everywhere in the midfield, both central and outside, and he was an All-Central Coast Section pick as a striker. He is a very good player.”

In addition to being teammates at Watsonville High School, Castaneda and Murillo-Jimenez have played alongside each other for the SCC Atlas club team the past four years, winning the State Cup in 2003 and making it to the State Cup finals in 2006.

“(Edward and Roberto) play for both an accomplished club and high school. They may not be big-time athletes, but they are big-time players. There is a difference. Both players possess the ability to think quick on their feet.”

SHORE LONE TRANSFER AMONG INCOMING FOURSOME

Sam Shore, a 6-5 defender, is a native of Sydney, Australia. A student at the University of Sydney the last two years, he will enter San Jose State as a sophomore athletically. He has played the past season on the youth team (Under-20) of Marconi Football Club, having played the previous year on the A.P.I.A. Leichhardt youth squad. Both clubs are members of the New South Wales Premier League. Shore had a tryout in 2005 with FC National Bucharest in Romania. He earlier played for three years at Cranbrook School in Sydney, gaining selection to the all-conference team for the last two.

Said St. Clair, “Sam is someone who has been playing at a high level in his home country of Australia. He is exceptionally good in the air. We are hoping that he can play alongside (sophomore central defender) Ed Brand, and he has a great chance of doing that. We got him for his experience and his ability in the air. He is confident and composed on the ball. He can handle the ball, which we like from all of our backs.”

In 2005, the Spartans went 11-5-3 overall and 7-2-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, narrowly finishing second behind NCAA national runner-up New Mexico in the league standings after pinning the Lobos with their only regular-season loss, 3-2 in overtime on the road last October.

2006 San Jose State University Men’s Soccer Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Last School
Roberto Castaneda MF 5-10 165 Watsonville, Calif./Watsonville HS
Eric Cross D 6-1 170 Chino, Calif./Chino HS
Edward Murillo-Jimenez MF/F 5-11 160 Watsonville, Calif./Watsonville HS
Sam Shore D 6-5 192 Sydney, Australia/University of Sydney