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USF's Rob Valentino Named 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year

Nov. 8, 2006

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(San Bruno, CA) - USF junior midfielder Rob Valentino was recognized for an outstanding season and today earned West Coast Conference Men's Soccer Player of the Year honors as announced today by the league office. Valentino headlined six Dons receiving all-league accolades. San Francisco hosts No. 12 New Mexico Friday, November 10 in the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in a 7:00 PM kickoff at Negoesco Stadium.

Valentino is the second Don to earn WCC Player of the Year honors in the last three seasons and was named 2005 WCC Defender of the Year. Senior forward Aaron Chandler earned league MVP honors as a sophomore in 2004 and captured earned honorable mention selection this season.

"Rob Valentino is well-deserving and has been from day one when he entered this program as a freshman," USF head coach Erik Visser said. "His attitude has been contagious for the entire program and he has continued to grow as a player and has excelled at whatever we have asked him to do. He has developed into one of the top collegiate players in entire the country. I think he is truly the impact player in the conference."

A Preseason All-America Second Team selection for 2006, Valentino led the Dons with six assists this season and stabilized the top defensive unit in the WCC, which allowed a league-low 17 goals in 19 matches this season (0.89). USF only allowed five two goal matches in 2006.

Although USF posted a runner-up finish in the league after winning back-to-back WCC titles (2004-05), Valentino was the only Don to earn first team selection. Senior defender Kevin Long captured second team honors for the second straight season as did senior goalkeeper Geremy Uhl, who ranked second in overall and conference only GAA this season. Junior defender Chris Rodd earned second team selection in his first season on the Hilltop after transferring from William and Mary.

"Chris Rodd, Kevin Long and Geremy Uhl were very deserving of first team status and in most other years would have been automatic," Visser said. "Uhl's records speak for themselves in breaking Kasey Keller's WCC shutout record. Kevin Long is widely recognized as one of the primary left-backs on the west coast and I think he played every minute of action during conference play. Chris Rodd has made us a stronger, more complete team this season. He organized the defense and made a tremendous impact on the program and helped us compete in a very demanding schedule."

"Aaron Chandler has been somewhat overlooked this season, but once again made the most of his chances this season. I feel he has developed into a more complete player and has scored some key goals for us this year.

Freshman forward Conor Chinn was selected to the WCC All-Freshman Team.

"We knew when Conor transferred in that he would contribute. He has only revealed glimpses of his potential and is capable of developing into one of the top forwards in the conference," Visser said.