Men's Soccer Hosts UC Santa Cruz In Exhibition

THIS WEEKEND - SPARTANS HOST UC SANTA CRUZ IN EXHIBITION
The San Jose State University men’s soccer team plays host to the Slugs of UC Santa Cruz in their first of two scheduled exhibition matches for 2008, this Friday evening, August 22. Kick-off at Spartan Stadium is set for 5:00 p.m. The San Jose State women’s team will face No. 22 Santa Clara University at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the season opener for both squads as part of a Spartan Soccer doubleheader.

The Spartans are coming off a 2007 season in which they finished 10-9 overall and an even 5-5 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, good for third. They were picked to finish in a tie with UNLV for third again this year by the league head coaches in the preseason poll, behind four-time defending MPSF champion New Mexico and Denver.

Following the UC Santa Cruz exhibition, San Jose State will open the 2008 season for real exactly one week later, also at home, against Notre Dame de Namur at Spartan Field on Friday, August 29, beginning at 3:00 p.m. The Spartans then host tough area foe Stanford inside Spartan Stadium on Sunday night, August 31.

UC Santa Cruz was scheduled to have hosted Cabrillo College in a scrimmage on Tuesday, August 19, but the result of that contest was not available at press time. The Banana Slugs open their 2008 campaign with two games in Dubuque, Iowa, next weekend. They play host Loras on Sunday, August 31, and Wartburg on Tuesday, September 2. UC Santa Cruz is an independent member of the NCAA Division III that has made five straight postseason appearances, losing 2-0 at Redlands last year in the first round. The Slugs concluded the 2007 season at 15-5, and now boast a 36-7 two-year mark under third-year head coach Dan Chamberlain, a former standout goalie for UCSC.

Friday’s meeting will mark the second straight year that San Jose State has opened the new season with an exhibition against UC Santa Cruz. Last year at Spartan Stadium, the Spartans out-shot the Slugs, 12-4, including 7-3 in the second half, but were held to a 0-0 draw through 90 minutes of soccer.

EXHIBITION GAME
SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY
vs. UC SANTA CRUZ
SPARTAN STADIUM, SAN JOSE, CALIF.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 5:00 P.M.


LIVE STATS
Live stats will be available free of charge for all San Jose State men’s and women’s soccer matches played inside Spartan Stadium throughout the 2008 season at SJSUSpartans.com. Just click on Live Stats under Live from the top menu bar on the front page. JumpTV has re-designed the look of the live stats this year for a new-and-improved product for fans unable to attend the games. Links will also be made available at the same location for most road contests.

2008 SPARTAN SOCCER TICKET INFORMATION
For the San Jose State University men’s and women’s soccer programs throughout the 2008 season, cost of admission for matches inside Spartan Stadium is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for kids aged 12 and under, $1.00 for kids in soccer jerseys, and free, as always, for students with a valid Tower ID card. No admission will be charged for games at Spartan Field.

HEAD COACH GARY ST. CLAIR
San Jose State head coach Gary St. Clair is in his 19th season in charge at his alma mater. He has compiled an overall record of 171-157-25. The two-time NSCAA/adidas Far West Coach of the Year and two-time Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year ranks second in the Spartan record book in career wins behind Julius Menendez (295).

In 2008, St. Clair is joined on his staff by associate head coach Ron Smare, now also in his 19th season with the San Jose State program, sixth-year assistant coach Chris Behler and first-year volunteer assistant Dan Benton, like St. Clair a former standout Spartan goalkeeper.

NATIONALLY-RANKED OFFENSE A YEAR AGO
San Jose State finished the 2007 season ranked 15th as a team in scoring offense in the NCAA Division I. The Spartans scored 37 goals in 19 games for a 1.95 goals-per-game average. Head coach Gary St. Clair and company will be charged with the task in 2008 of replacing 17 of those scores, mostly due to the departures of Ismael Ibarra (nine goals) and Julio Gonzalez (six).

RETURNING ALL-MPSF TALENT
In 2008, San Jose State returns a trio of All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honorees. Senior tri-captains Hiroki Akiyama and Ed Brand each earned second-team selection in 2007, while junior Nick Cukar, the Spartans’ leading returning goal-scorer, picked up honorable mention. It was a third All-MPSF distinction for Brand, second second-team award for Akiyama and first mention for Cukar.

BRAND AFTER RARE FEAT
Senior tri-captain Ed Brand is vying this season to become just the third known Spartan men’s soccer player to earn all-conference honors in all four years. Brand garnered honorable mention as a freshman in 2005, first-team selection in 2006 and a spot on the second team a year ago. Previously, Johnny Gonzalez was a two-team first-team and two-time second-team pick from 2002-05. Frank Sanfilippo was a three-time first-team standout in 2000, 2002 and 2003, with honorable mention in 2001.

All three players were chosen to the MPSF 15th Anniversary Teams a year ago, with Sanfilippo on the second team and Brand and Gonzalez each on the third.

SPARTANS EXCEL IN CLASSROOM
Head coach Gary St. Clair’s Spartans had a stellar year in the classroom in 2007-08, putting a program-high six players on the Academic All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Team. Those players were Hiroki Akiyama, Ed Brand, Savio Carrijo, Oscar Monjaras, Jacob Morrison and Sam Shore.

Akiyama continues to lead by example, as he gained selection to the 2007 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII men’s soccer team to add to his increasingly impressive list of academic laurels, which now stands at eight.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP
Midfielder Hiroki Akiyama, central defender Ed Brand and goalkeeper Richard Mann will serve as senior team tri-captains for the Spartans in 2008. Brand is now a three-time captain, with Mann in his second season in that role and Akiyama in his first. San Jose State has six seniors in all on the current roster. The other three are Sam Shore, Lewis Sweeney and Gavin Wenyon. Mann and Wenyon are the elder statesmen of the program, each in their fifth season as Spartans.

THE SPARTAN BRAND
Spartan soccer fans, follow the exploits of the 2008 San Jose State men’s soccer program through the pen (keyboard) of senior tri-captain Ed Brand, as he regularly provides his insights for SJSUSpartans.com’s first in-season student-athlete blog.

SPARTANS COME FROM ALL OVER
The 2008 San Jose State men’s soccer roster of 31 players consists of student-athletes from a variety of different players. Five countries are represented, in Australia, El Salvador, England, Israel and Japan, as well as five states in California (20), Hawaii (1), Illinois (1), Oregon (2) and Nevada (2). The five San Jose natives on the squad are Justin Castro, Ricky Dorrego, George Fahmy, Richard Mann and Steven Sanchez.