Sept. 12, 2006
San Francisco, CA- Eighth ranked USF (4-0-1), after winning the Penn State Classic last weekend continues a tough series of road contests when they face Cal State Northridge Friday and #8 UCLA Sunday in the Southland. After visiting St. Mary's on September 22, USF will finally return home to face another nationally ranked team, Santa Clara in USF's WCC home opener on September 24th.
HEAD COACH Erik Visser: A former USF defender, whose marking of Angelo DiBernardo in the NCAA title game helped the Dons earn the 1978 crown, Visser joined the USF coaching staff as an assistant to NCAA legend Stephen Negoesco in 1982. While an assistant, he also served as the initial head coach for the women's program in 1985. He took over the men's program in 2001, and has had great success over the past two seasons, earning West Coast Conference Coach of the Year Honors in 2004 and 2005. He currently has a 55-39-9 mark in his sixth season. Visser coached his 100th game at USF in the home opener this year against Stanford.
DEFENSE LEADING THE WAY: USF has just a single goal this season with solid defensive play. They opened the season with 437 shutout minutes before giving up a goal to Ohio State Sunday.
The USF defense includes 2005 WCC Defender of the Year Rob Valentino, senior Kevin Long, sophomore Kyle Schlumpf and newcomer Chris Rodd. Rodd, a junior from the Bay Area, played his first two years at William and Mary before transferring to USF last season. In goal, USF starts senior Geremy Uhl, who has 21 career shutouts and had the lowest league goals against average in the West Coast Conference over the past two seasons.
UHL WHITEWASHES: Geremy Uhl has now shutout out every team he has faced in the Bay Area (Cal, Stanford, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, San Jose State) over his career. He has also already shut out every West Coast Conference squad at least once (Portland, Gonzaga, St. Mary's, Santa Clara, San Diego and Loyola Marymount.) He has 22 career shutouts and is nearing the record for most shutouts in WCC play held by Portland's Casey Keller (13).
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: USF will be playing seven of its first eight contests on the road this season, where they are currently 3-0-1. In their first two road wins, at #11 California and at San Jose State, USF opened the scoring with an "own goal."
NEWCOMERS: Although they have won two consecutive WCC titles, the Dons have added a lot of new blood this season. Included is defender Chris Rodd, who has been a key member of the defense. Also joining the team this year and having played significant minutes is junior college All-American forward Ardalan Attar (who scored against Stanford), high school All-American Jesse Henderson, Seattle University transfer Conor Chinn (who scored at San Jose State) and Tyler Ruthven, who has seen time at midfield and defender.
SCORING LEADERS: Aaron Chandler, who led the team in scoring over the past two seasons, currently leads the team with one goal and two assists. Adam Bergman, Matt Languis and Kevin Long each have a goal and one assist.
ABOUT CS NORTHRIDGE: Cal State Northridge, a team that was ranked in the preseason top-25 has started the season with a very tough schedule and will carry a 1-2-1 mark into the USF contest Friday. It will be the Matadors' home opener. They opened the season with a 1-1 tie at UCLA, lost 2-1 at West Virginia and then split games this weekend in New Mexico's tournament, topping Oakland 2-0 before dropping a 1-0 decision to #15 New Mexico. They have scored four goals (two by Ryan Rossi) and allowed four. Last year they were 15-4-3 under head coach Terry Davila.
ABOUT UCLA: UCLA enters the week at 2-2-1 and hosts Santa Clara Friday night before playing the Dons. They are ranked #13 in the Soccer America poll and #7 in the College Soccer News poll. The Bruins were 12-5-3 last season. Four of their first five games were against ranked opponents including an impressive 2-0 win at #15 New Mexico last Friday. They followed that with a 4-1 win over Oakland. After opening the season tying #23 Northridge, they lost 4-1 at #1 Maryland at to #3 Virginia 1-0.
VISSER ON THE MATCHUPS: "It was an impressive achievement to play so well against two quality teams like that on the East Coast. But obviously, it gets no easier. Cal State Northridge and UCLA are top teams that have played against the cream of the crop. They are not afraid to play anyone and are always tough to beat at home."