2021 Men's Soccer Season Preview - UCI Athletics (2024)

The Anteaters return after the Big West Conference announced fall sports would not compete in the 2020 Fall season. Coach Raz's squad is hungry to get back to the pitch lookingforward to a challenging non-conference slate, expanded Big West schedule, and 14 newcomers on the roster.

Health and Welfare
In accordance with updated public health guidance regarding COVID-19, UC Irvine Athletics events will be at full-seating capacity for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Athletics will align with the latest stateguidance regarding indoor and outdoorevents as well as county, city, and campus directives. Specific details regarding health and welfare protocols at specific venues and events will be announced at a later date.


Tickets are contact-less via mobile only | Prices: $8 before gameday / On gameday $10 / Kids $6


Daily permits are $13. Fans can also plan ahead and pay hourly with ParkbyPlate at parking.uci.edu/pay

Clear Bags only allowed in the stadium

Starting Formation
6 - The 2021 schedule includes 6 programs that have reached the NCAA Tournament in the last two years
659 - UC Irvine last played in the Big West Tournament November 6, 2019, 659 days since its last meaningful match
#5 - UCI opens with #5 Georgetown, 1 of 3 ranked squads on the slate. UCI is 22-30-7 all-time vs. ranked teams
0 - Head Coach Yossi Raz enters his fourth season with UCI and produced 0 losing seasons in the previous three
16 - Eddy Berumen & Kelvin Neumetzler made Dean's List all 3 2020-21 quarters, part of 16 'Eaters recognized
2 - 2 'Eaters (Alvaro Quezada, Daniel Crisostomo) have made MLS debuts for LAFC over the past month

·Head Coach Yossi Raz returns for his fifth year with the program and fourth Division I soccer season. Raz is 26-21-12 in his three seasons at the helm without any losing seasons including a Big West title and trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
·The Big West revealed its Preseason Coaches Poll and All-Big West Preseason squad last week. The 'Eaters are projected to finish third behind UCSB and UC Davis who are tied for first. The 'Eaters received one first-place vote and were one of six programs of the 10 in The Big West that earned a vote. The 11-player All-Big West Preseason squad featured a pair of Anteaters for the third straight season. Sophom*ores Eddy Berumen and Oscar Cervantes represented after each finished 2019 as members of the Big West All-Freshman Team.
·Returning to the roster are 13 Anteaters, 10 that have played minutes for UCI. Scoring leaders return in Michael Orozco with three goals and eight points. Lawrence Yamaguchi and Oscar Cervantes each bring six career points scoring twice and adding two assists. Cervantes has scored game-winners with each of his two goals. The 'Eaters enter 2021 with three keepers, but none that have any experience with the program.
·Joining the 13 returners are 14 newcomers; seven joined the squad in 2020 for the season that never happened, and seven more joined the fold for 2021 with three from four-year colleges like Fairfield, Kansas City, and San Francisco. UCI lost seven from the 2020 roster including four that signed pro contracts.
·Among the new Anteaters is some international flavor including a pair of freshmen from Norway in Victor Sandsmark-Evensen and Mathias Winum, four-year transfers in Gordon Botterill, originally from Switzerland, and Ryan Khedoo, originally from Canada while also recently playing with the Guyana National Team. Another freshman, Francesco Montanile crossed stateliness from Arizona, and Luke Pruter grew up in Ireland. 'Eaters also have international ties to Mexico, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and Germany.

This Week's Matches
·UC Irvine men's soccer starts the regular season on the road heading to the D.C. area
·Georgetown welcomes the 'Eaters in on August 26. The Hoyas are ranked No. 5 in the nation after reaching the Elite Eight in 2020 falling to the eventual National Champions, Marshall. UCI and Georgetown met 2019 at UCI with the Hoyas pulling a late winner for a 1-0 victory. The series began in 2014 with a trip to Washington D.C. that ended in a 1-1 draw.
·Loyola Maryland completes the trip in Baltimore as the 'Eaters open the season for the Greyhounds. The Patriot League squad went 3-2-1 in the abbreviated spring season giving them five straight winning seasons, and the last three full seasons have produced at least 10 wins. The Greyhounds are still looking for their first NCAA Tournament since 2009. This is the first meeting of the programs and third Loyola school with three matches against Loyola Chicago and 28 meetings with LMU.

·The 'Eaters had their exhibition against San Diego State canceled due to an abundance of caution. They replaced the match with a scrimmage against Mt. San Antonio College for three 35-minute periods. The 'Eaters scored late in the first period on an Olimpico from a Victor Sandsmark-Evensen corner to make it 1-0. The score ended 2-0 as Oscar Delgado converted a penalty that was drawn by Francesco Montanile in the box in the 60th minute.
·The 'Eaters face Cal Poly Pomona in a true exhibition match, Saturday, August 21, in Anteater Stadium. The teams will play two 45-minute halves along with an additional 20-minute period.

Student-Athlete Notes
·With no soccer in 2020-21, men's soccer still pushed through graduating five Anteaters, and 16 'Eaters made Dean's List between Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. Eddy Berumen and Kelvin Neumetzler were Anteaters that appeared on all three quarters of Dean's List in 2020-21. Three Anteaters return out of the seven that were Big West All-Academic in 2019 including Berumen, Beto Alvarenga, and Lawrence Yamaguchi.
·Of the 22 'Eaters that have declared a major, 12 different majors are represented with the most common as Business Economics and Sociology / Social Ecology with six members each.
·The pair of grad transfers to the program will each be working towards their grad school degrees during the season. Gordon Botterill begins the highly-acclaimed Master's in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Ryan Khedoo is pursuing DASA, or the Master's in Demographic and Social Analysis
·A pair of Anteaters are currently double majors in Lawrence Yamaguchi for International Studies and Sociology while Kelvin Neumetzler is in Psychology and Business Economics.
·Among the other fields Anteaters are studying toward are three Criminology, Law, & Society majors, two International Studies, two Business Administration, and solo artists in Education Science, Public Health Science, and Computer Game Science.

Stats To Watch
·Two veterans lead the way in matches played with fifth-year forward Lawrence Yamaguchi at exactly 50 matches starting 20 while scoring leader Michael Orozco has started all 40 matches he's appeared in.
·Other Anteaters with multiple years of experience include Beto Alvarenga - three starts in 30 caps, Axel Adler - 26 caps with one start, and five starts in 25 career appearances for Christian Bond-Flasza.
Third-year sophom*ores played big roles in 2019 with Ricardo Ibarra, Oscar Cervantes, and Eddy Berumenall playing over 17 matches. Berumen started 13 times with a pair of assists, Ibarra made five starts, but collected five points including a goal, and Cervantes had a pair of game-winning goals and two assists while starting 10 times and earning Big West All-Freshman honors along with Berumen.
·The 'Eaters lose quite a bit including 20 of their 27 goals scored from 2019. Cervantes and Orozco each scored two of the seven returning goals. Orozco also returns to the back line that loses its two center back in Seamus McLaughlin and Luca Mastrantonio.
·In goal, the 'Eaters equip three keepers, all newcomers to the program with a pair of freshmen in Cody Aung and Luke Pruter, and Gordon Botterill was a four-year starter and four-year all-league at Fairfield posting 24 clean sheets in 60 career matches who joins as a graduate student.

The Beautiful Game
Head Coach Yossi Raz and his staff show the way his program plays The Beautiful Game at UC Irvine.

Fans In The Stands
·UC Irvine soccer and Anteater Stadium welcomes back 100% capacity attendance for the 2021 season. In accordance with updated public health guidance regarding COVID-19, UC Irvine Athletics events will be at full-seating capacity for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Athletics will align with the latest stateguidance regarding indoor and outdoorevents as well as county, city, and campus directives. Specific details regarding health and safety protocols at specific venues and events will be announced at a later date.
·All home soccer matches will now be shown on ESPN+ in 2021 following the Big West's new deal.
·Joining coach Raz on the sideline is a reformed coaching staff led by Cale Rodriguez as top assistant coach. Yonha Adrabi has elevated from volunteer goalkeeper coach to assistant. Joining as the new volunteer assistant is Kostas Kyriazis and director of operations Gemar Lezeau, both coming from the New York Red Bulls coaching ranks.

'Eaters Playing Professionally
·UC Irvine men's soccer alums currently account for 16 'Eaters playing professionally across five countries.
·The United States holds the largest contingent of Anteaters still playing. Alvaro Quezada was drafted in early 2021 by LAFC and signed with them. He is currently being loaned to Las Vegas Lights FC alongside fellow 'Eaters Daniel Crisostomo and Roberto Molina for the USL Championship side. On Wednesday, August 6, LAFC added Crisostomo to the club signing him. Later that evening in LAFC's match vs. Sporting KC, he was on the bench alongside Quezada before Quezada heard his named called for his first MLS minutes entering in the 68th minute and finishing out the match nearly collecting an assist in his debut. Quezada becomes the seventh Anteater all-time to record minutes with and MLS club.
·The USL Championship level is home to eight Anteaters including the three in Las Vegas. Cameron Iwasa continues his run with Sacramento Republic FC which will make the jump to MLS soon. Elsewhere is Thomas Janjigian with Hartford Athletic, Tarek Morad at Oakland Roots, Ford Parker at Birmingham Legion FC, and long-time MLS pro Miguel Ibarra landing with San Diego Loyal FC.
·Below the USL Championship is USL League One containing a pair of 'Eaters with Victor Falck in his second season with Richmond Kickers and 2020 grad Luca Mastrantonio with FC Tucson. Within the NISA league stands two more 'Eaters with Giovanni Ramos-Godoy at Stumptown AC and Los Angeles Force's Seamus McLaughlin.
·Four Anteaters are thriving globally starting with the most successful in Lester Hayes III. He's found himself in Denmark with new club Dalum FC. He took part in Gold Cup qualifiers with Puerto Rico scoring once in his two matches. Prior to that, he spent three years in Spain with two different ninth-tier clubs as one of their top goalscorers. Darren Hamilton continues his career back in England now with Whitley Bay FC of England's ninth tier. Making his way with Latvia's Super Nova is long-time forward Renato Torquato. Former keeper Bryan Tian Keat See, who spent one season with the 'Eaters, is on his third club in southeast Asia now with Pulum Pinang in Malaysia.

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2021 Men's Soccer Season Preview - UCI Athletics (2024)
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