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|Dear Gaucho Fan,|
Welcome to the second edition of "From the Sidelines" Gauchos E-Newsletter. This E-newsletter is designed to connect the community with UCSB Men's Soccer news four times a year- with Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter editions. For exclusive, behind-the-scenes interviews with players, coaches, and alumni, check out the stories below.
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UCSB Men's Soccer
On the Field
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
High School: European School of Brussels
Height/Weight: 6'3" /200
Nicolas Perera was born June 5th, 1986 in Madrid, Spain. He attended the European School of Brussels, leading the school team to the Inter-European School League Championship three years, running from 2002-04. Perera played his club ball with K.N.S. Tervuren in Belgium, leading New Star to five league championships and was named league MVP in 2000, 2003, and 2004.
Perera joined the UCSB soccer program in 2004. He was named the College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player for his performance his second season. He was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week after scoring a pair of goals in UCSB's 2-0 victory over UC Irvine. Perera notched his first career goal in the 106th minute to defeat Cal State Fullerton 2-1 in double overtime.
What has been your most memorable moment at UCSB?
o Definitely winning the 2006 National Championships.
What are your thoughts for the upcoming season?
o I will be a senior, so I am expecting an extremely good year so we can have the seniors go out in style.
How do you feel about the changes to the team?
o We definitely did lose a lot of players, but you have the quality and recruiting to replace them adequately.
How did you decide to come to UCSB from Europe?
o My dad is Spanish and my mom is American. I grew up in Belgium. I asked my mom where would be a good place to go to college, and she said Santa Barbara sounded like a fun place. Junior year of high school I came to visit the campus and I fell in love with Santa Barbara.
Where do you go for breaks?
o My family moved out with me from Belgium, so now we live in San Diego.
Do you want to play professionally?
o I do want to, but I'm not sure where. I'd love to take it back to Europe, to Belgium or Holland, or stay in the US.
Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
High School: Mt. Albert Grammar School
Height/Weight: 6'2" /200
Michael Boxall was born in Auckland, New Zealand. He played center and right back for four years at Mt. Albert Grammar School in Auckland. Boxall was named team captain as a senior in 2006 and led the Lions to a second Knockout Cup title in three years and to the Auckland Secondary School Soccer Association Championship. Boxall won the Head Perfect Award for academics as a senior.
Boxall comes to UCSB after competing in the FIFA U-20 World Championships this past summer in Canada with the New Zealand National Team. He has been a member of the Youth All-Whites these past two seasons. At the club level, Boxall competed for Central United F.C. and led the team to the 2007 Northern Premier League title. He also played for his hometown squad, Auckland City F.C., and won the N.Z. Football Championship this past year. Boxall was named the Auckland City Young Player of the Year with Central United in 2006 and then again with Auckland City F.C. In 2007. He was also named the Nike International Young Men's Player of the Year with the U-20s.
Do you have any nicknames?
o Some people call me Boxall or Box.
What was your first season at UCSB like?
o I liked the crowd and the atmosphere when playing at Harder Stadium. Unfortunately, I tore my MCL in mid-November, so it was tough watching on the sidelines.
Do you have a best UCSB soccer memory?
o Any home game at Harder Stadium was amazing. It's just a great atmosphere.
How did you decide to come to UCSB from New Zealand?
o It was a pretty easy choice. I had one other offer from a school in Indiana, but I looked up UCSB online, and it was so beautiful that it wasn't a difficult decision. Also, I already knew Tony Lochhead, who had already gone through the program.
Was there a culture shock when first arriving here?
o Not really, but it was my first time away from my family. The first 2 to 3 weeks took some getting used to, but I love the people and the place.
What are your hopes for being here? Do you hope to play professionally?
o My hopes are to first of all, graduate. This is a stepping stone to playing professionally. I'll see where UCSB takes me, and hopefully find my way into the pros somehow.
Do you have a professional team that you follow?
o Arsenal F.C. (England)
with Tim Vom Steeg
On thoughts for the upcoming season, UCSB men's soccer Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg reflects on the new players and goals of the team.
"It is a young team with a lot of new players, but we're excited about what they will bring to the program. There is always some guessing and a lot of work to prepare for the first game," says Vom Steeg. Fifteen new players are joining the program. That's just about half the team that will be new.
Coach Vom Steeg adds, "We recruit players from everywhere, predominantly from California, but every year we reach out further. This year, we have a player coming from Texas, Washington, and a couple international players. First of all, we try to find players that would fit into the way we play. Then, we fill needs in terms of positions on the field."
The recruiting process is different for every player. Sometimes they contact UCSB, sometimes the coaches go see them play. The international players usually contact the school, and a strong effort is made to go see them play several times. It is a 9 to 12 month recruiting process that relies on a good staff. As Head Coach, Tim Vom Steeg makes the final decisions as to who gets invited to the program. There is an assistant coach that keeps in contact with prospective recruits through phone and email, and another assistant coach that travels more.
"We have several big games lined up for this season. Wake Forest, and of course, UCLA will be big games. We will play Indiana for the first time since the National Championship. There are not a lot of easy games. The league schedule will be very difficult this year," says Vom Steeg, "The goal is to really come together as a team the first four to five games this season. We want a good start and for every game to get better, so that we will play the best soccer at the end of the year."
|Gaucho Greats |
What advice do you have for incoming freshman who want to eventually play professionally? with UCSB Soccer Alum Eric Avila
o Work hard. You never know who's watching or who could be at a tournament.
What are some of your fond memories at UCSB?
o Hanging out with friends, being part of a team, just being in a social environment with a lot of people.
Winning the 2006 National Championship and also playing for the national team were great experiences.
What did training consist of at UCSB?
o It was hard work. We practiced every day from 2 to 4PM. With classes on top of that, it was hard to manage studying. Sometimes it was competitive, so I stayed longer hours, but I worked hard and learned a lot.
So you got signed with FC Dallas, congratulations! When did season start?
o We are already 5 games in. (As of May 2008)
What are you doing these days as far as practicing with the team?
o We have practice every day from 9:30 to 12 and then we get the rest of the day off. On the weekends we're traveling from state to state. Basically, playing soccer every day.
What is the coach like?
o The coach is nice. We get along, and he's not too strict.
How are you getting along with the team?
o In college, it was younger guys. In professional soccer, there are older players with families, so it's a different vibe. They're more experienced, so they are teaching me how everything works.
Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
o I hope to stay here for a good time and then hopefully move on to Europe. In 5 to 10 years I see myself still playing soccer. I would love to go to Spain.
|Spotlight on Michael Murphy
Mike "Maddog" Murphy graduated from UCSB in 1993. He played forward/striker/left wing for the Gauchos. He keeps in touch with several of the guys on the team, including Jon Tuler, "Das Hitman" Brian McCririe, "Babyface" Ryan Sparre, "Money" Sean Murray, and the Tipping brothers. Murphy adds "Gutterball Guthrie and CJ (Chris John) never let the distance hamper them and they are generally on the first plane out if the Gauchos make the playoffs or if there is an alumni happening".
Mike reminisces that he's known Coach Vom Steeg, whom he fondly calls "Stitch", for nearly 20 years. "The first place I ever stayed in Santa Barbara was on his couch".
As for work and hobbies, Mike Murphy is working in engineering at Kodak in San Diego, CA. He has a 6-year-old girl and a boy on the way. "It's scary to think that I've been playing soccer for 35 years but I may actually be hanging the boots up. My little girl plays though so I still get out to the fields," he says. Murphy has also been doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past couple of years to stay in shape and to compete in tournaments.
Murphy had a great experience at Alumni weekend. "We had a pretty good turnout and there were quite a few guys from my 'era'", he claims. The weekend started at Harder Stadium where alumni met up and kicked some balls around. Some headed over to Woodstocks for dinner and were amazed at how much had changed while still others things were exactly the same. The next night the alumni met up downtown Santa Barbara at Dargan's. It was a huge turnout and a great time to catch up and reminisce. Saturday was the big game. UCSB alumni played against the Westmont alumni. "We had a pretty good rivalry with them back in the day and it was good to see those guys again," Murphy says. He reflects on one shining moment from the alumni game, "I once again got to relive my glory days, tearing down the left wing, beating my defender, sucking out both the keeper and the sweeper before I slotted across an absolutely perfect ball for "Toolbox" Jon Tuler to slam home."
Afterwards Mike went to dinner with Chris John and his wife Kenny for his birthday. Joe's Café was the meet up location for Saturday night and the whole gang was there including most of the Westmont guys. It was at this point that the Flame Shirt made its reappearance. "Neil Jones had said that he would actually wear the shirt if I brought it. I'm pretty sure that he didn't think I actually had it with me but I never leave home without it. So I popped it out and Neil was good to his word. " At this point people started talking about making the shirt a tradition. "Much is still to be determined about the Flame Shirt ownership and who shall be honored in the coming years with its magic but it's fairly safe to say that the Flame Shirt will be making many an appearance at the alumni weekend".
Sunday was the alumni golf tournament, but Jon Tuler injured himself in the alumni game, so after some jokes and goodbyes, and a quick stop at Freebirds for some Monster Burritos, they concluded a fun-filled weekend. To sum up Alumni weekend, there were many photos, many stories, and the Flame Shirt. "Couldn't have asked for more", says Mike "Maddog" Murphy.
|In the Community |
On Wednesday, May 7, some UCSB men's soccer players went to Isla Vista Elementary School to volunteer with the children. The following is a letter from their organizer.
Thank you very much for coming out to coach the Isla Vista Sharks. This is a group of low-income first grade students that I have been working with for a few months. They are all good players but have not been able to join AYSO or other leagues due to family financial strain. I managed to acquire a few scholarships and volunteer my time to provide these students the opportunity to be soccer stars. Your visit made their year.
They were so ecstatic knowing you were on your way and when you arrived they ran up to you and clasped you by the shirt and hands. I also appreciate your presence since I am a professor of Sociology at UCSB and not nearly as talented as you in the sport of soccer. Thank you for your
time and energy. I hope you can visit us again in the near future.
Dr. Victor M. Rios
Department of Sociology
UC Santa Barbara
|Little Gauchos Zone|
Superfan of the Season
Eleven-year-old Kyle Carter has attended almost every UCSB men's soccer home game for the last 5 years, except for games that are too late during a school night, of course. Even still, his dad brings him to late games every once in a while. His dedication to attending the games and love for the sport of soccer earns him the spotlight of Little Gauchos Superfan.
Kyle is in the 5th grade at Monte Vista Elementary School. He plays goalkeeper for Neil Jones with the Santa Barbara Soccer Club. He also enjoys a little waterpolo, roller-hockey, and snowboarding when he gets a break from soccer. But Kyle's dream is to be a goalkeeper in college for either Duke or UCSB, and eventually get drafted into the EPL.
As a loyal fan of UCSB soccer, Kyle brings his dad, friends, and teammates to cheer on the Gauchos. He claims the most exciting game was when he got to be a ball-boy for the 2006 Elite Eight match vs. Northwestern. Kyle says, "We also went to the 2004 Final at the Home Depot Center. UCSB deserved to win but we must not have eaten enough good luck Hot Tamales that day."
Kyle cannot decide who his favorite player on the team is because he has met so many past players; Dan Kennedy, Neil Jones, Kyle Reynish, Bryan Byrne, Tony Lochhead, Matt Kubota, David McGill, Andy Iro, and now Bryan Rukner, Nick Perera, Avi, and Tino Nunez. "They have a lot of talent. They're awesome to watch, hardworking, and will always give a kid an autograph, even if they already signed one for me five times before", says Kyle. This Superfan has met almost every Gaucho on past and present teams. Kyle reflects, " It's amazing because they are great role models and take the time to actually talk and meet with me. Kyle Reynish was way cool and even sent me his Real Salt Lake jersey when he went into the MLS. I also have a poster signed by everyone on the 2006 Championship team."
UCSB is lucky to have such a dedicated fan, and maybe one day Kyle will make his dreams a reality to become a goalkeeper for the Gauchos...