Monday, August 31, 2009

Colleges: Lions women cancelled, Mozzo earns defensive award

Saint Leo’s womens soccer team will have to wait for its opening game of the season, as its game Monday against Webber International was cancelled.

The Lions will travel to face No.2 West Florida on Friday. The Argonauts won the corresponding fixture last season, and are coming off a season where they reached the NCAA Division II championship game, losing 1-0 in double-overtime to Seattle Pacific.

In other Saint Leo news, mens goalkeeper Erik Mozzo was named the Sunshine State Conference Defensive player of the week after posting a pair of shutout victories for the Lions against Clearwater Christian College and North Georgia.

College: Bulls feeling good entering regular season

TAMPA – The curtain goes up on South Florida’s mens soccer season on Tuesday, and Coach George Kiefer believes his team is ready for the road ahead.

“We’re looking forward to that,” Kiefer said of his side’s game against Central Florida. “I said even after the Stetson game I think we’re ready to get the season going and have some fun.”

The Bulls completed their preseason with a 3-0 win against the Hatters on Thursday night, while Central Florida fell to Tampa 1-0 in its final exhibition game. Kiefer wants his side to establish it’s game early on against the Knights.

“We’ll always go out and try to play our game, do the things we know we’re good at,” Kiefer said. ”In saying that, we do do our homework on opponents, and we do know a fair amount about them. Having seen them play Tampa, you know, it’s a good game for us, but this year it’s much more about us competing against ourselves.”

USF senior Zak Boggs, who began his college career at UCF, believes the team is ready for the regular season to get underway.

“I feel like we’re as prepared as we could have been,” Boggs said. “We’ve had a great preseason, had a good three games, we’ve got something from each of the games, we’re picking up momentum, we still have a long way to go.”

SINCLAIR SETTLING IN: With a goal and an assist against Stetson, Hasani Sinclair appears to have found his feet at the college level quickly.

According to Kiefer, the U.S. Under-18 international and Parade and ESPN Rise All-American, has been excellent to work with throughout preseason.

“You take a lot of young men with his resume, they come in and they think the programs owe them something,” Kiefer said. “With Hasani, he’s very committed to learn and very committed to work hard, and that makes it a lot easier to coach a team when you have guys like him, guys like Bernardo (Anor), guys like Zak, Francisco (Aristequieta). They want me to do more work, I had to tell them no, because I want them to have their legs for (Tuesday).”

Sinclair’s willingness to do the little things, like pressuring defenders and chasing down passes have allowed him, and the rest of the freshman class, to fit in quickly with the rest of the squad.

“Hasani fits in great,” Boggs said. “He’s a good guy, a great player, and you could say the same about any of our freshmen, so everyone’s fitting in well.”

BLEACHER CREATURES: One thing Kiefer is looking forward to are the students who descend on the bleachers behind both goals at the USF Soccer Stadium for home games. Kiefer thinks the atmosphere they add that close to the field helps his side raise their game.

“We have a lot of student groups behind the goal,” Kiefer said. “For whatever reason the atmosphere is a little bit faster when they’re out there, so I look forward to seeing the guys respond to that.”

College Women's Matchday: Saint Leo at Webber International

WHEN: Monday, 5 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: The Lions, picked to win the Sunshine State Conference, open their season on the road. Saint Leo got a comfortable 3-1 win in the corresponding fixture last season, Hannah Beard, Chrissy Darwell and Francesca Williams finding the net then.

All three of those players return to the team, Beard as the reigning Player and Offensive Player of the Year. She scored 16 goals and added 12 assists last season, giving her a conference-high 44 points. The Lions will look for a similar output in this, her senior season.
One question that will need to be answered is who will replace All-SSC goalkeeper Lauren Hudson, with sophomore Kelcee Mai and freshman Cristina Coca, a former Bloomingdale standout, competing for the position.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Colleges: No.7 Florida rallies past Bulls

GAINESVILLE – South Florida’s womens soccer team had to face two opponents on Sunday afternoon.

Defeating No.7 Florida for the first time in school history was hard enough, but to do it with key members of the team hobbled by a stomach virus proved too much, as second half goals by Lauren Hyde and Tahnai Annis gave the Gators a deserved 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon at James G. Pressly Stadium.

Florida (3-0-0) came out strongly from the start, peppering Mallori Lofton-Malachi’s goal with shots as the Bulls struggled to possess the ball in the first 20 minutes.

But gradually the Bulls (1-1-0) came into the game, and began to string some passes together to quell the Gators' pressure. The Bulls were rewarded in the final minute of the first half, when after a Chantelle Goodson free kick from the left was only half-cleared, Brittany Pilon flicked the ball back into the penalty area from the right, finding Noelle Pineiro in space near the penalty spot.

Pineiro controlled, and fired a left-footed shot low into the right corner of the net, giving the Bulls the lead. Pineiro’s goal was the first by USF in a regular season game against Florida.

“For the first 20 minutes they had us on the ropes,” USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “And instead of reacting in a negative way by playing an ugly style of soccer, I thought the girls adjusted and figured out the game, learned how to defend it, and then started playing soccer to beat them.”

The goal didn’t seem to affect Florida, which came out for the second half as sharply as it had the first, and five minutes in Hyde drove a fabulous free kick from 30 yards out into the left corner of the net. It was the senior’s first goal for Florida, and according to Coach Becky Burleigh was something Hyde and assistant coach Victor Campbell had been working on.

“They call themselves the special teams,” Burleigh said. “So it was a good goal for the special teams.”

USF, which had lost defender Bahar Sansar to the virus at halftime, continued to try and roll substitutes in to keep fresh legs on the field, but lost Chelsea Klotz 15 minutes into the second half, the virus becoming too much for her to try and play through.

“Bahar Sansar is a big-time player for us,” Schilte-Brown said. “Her getting sick at halftime, she had a virus going into the game and really toughed it out in the first half, so we were extremely proud of her, but she couldn’t complete the game due to illness, then Taylor Brown went in and she couldn’t complete the game.”

That allowed Florida to build pressure on the USF goal, and it eventually led to Annis' goal in the 78th minute. Jazmyne Avant took a throw-in a yard from the right corner flag in USF’s half, and after a quick pass back from Erika Tymrak created her room, Avant fired a low cross into the penalty area. A cutting Hyde had her shot blocked, only for it to come to Annis 8-yards out, who shot low into the left corner of the net.

Annis said she thought Florida's depth allowed the Gators to wear the Bulls down in the second half.

“That’s definitely one of our strong points,” Annis said. “The way that our system works and the way that we play is that as the game goes on, we wear teams down, and in the end we know that we’re going to still be fresh enough to make those runs into the box, and get wide and they’re not going to be able to keep up.”

Schilte-Brown said she thought there were positives her team could take away from the game.

“When you get to play a good team, a highly-ranked team, and you’re working on a system of play, it kind of answers any questions about the strengths and weaknesses of your system,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think we got a lot of questions answered today.”

Hopefully for the Bulls, the answers they found will show soon.

Colleges: Tampa women trounced by Grand Valley State

No.9 Grand Valley State handed No.24 Tampa a harsh lesson on Sunday morning, as Alyssa Mira scored twice in the Lakers’ 4-0 rout of the Spartans.

Tampa fell behind in the second minute, an own-goal giving the Lakers the lead. Mira then scored her first in the 26th minute, latching onto a through-ball by Irie Dennis before finishing.

Caitlin Boyak added a third two minutes later, heading home from Erin Mruz’s corner. Mruz also had a hand in the Lakers final goal, her blocked shot falling to Mira, who scored on the rebound.
The Spartans will try to rebound, and find their first win on the season when it travels to Columbus State next weekend. Tampa will face Tusculum on Friday and Chowan on Sunday in the invitational tournament.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

College Women's Gameday: South Florida at No.7 Florida

WHEN: 1 p.m., James G. Pressly Stadium

NEED TO KNOW: South Florida will face a big challenge as it travels to Gainesville to face the Gators. Nationally ranked, and considered the favorite to win the SEC, Florida won 3-0 against Florida International in its last outing on second half goals by Lindsay Thompson, Erika Tymrak and Brooke Thigpen.

South Florida got a second half goal from Noelle Pineiro to defeat Florida Atlantic in its home opener on Friday night. It will need to overturn the past history between the two schools, as the Gators have won both previous meetings. Florida won 4-0 the last time the two teams played in 2007, and won 5-0 in 2000.

College Women's Gameday: No.9 Grand Valley State at No.24 Tampa

WHEN: Sunday, 10 a.m., Pepin-Rood Stadium.

NEED TO KNOW: The University of Tampa’s womens soccer team will try to rebound from a 2-2 draw against North Georgia on Friday night where the Spartans lost a 2-0 lead with 15 minutes to play as they face Grand Valley State.

The Spartans got goals either side of halftime from Jazmin Perry and Sara Kneeland against North Georgia. They should be sternly tested against the Lakers, which drew 0-0 with No.6 Columbus State on Friday.

The Lakers are led by defender Natalja Stanski, who was named to the Daktronics All-America first team a season ago.

College: Penalty kicks lead Lions past Saints

Bruce Cutler converted a pair of penalty kicks, and Bobby Huertas added to his opening night hat trick as Saint Leo defeated North Georgia 3-0 on Saturday night.

The Lions (2-0-0) applied pressure on North Georgia (0-1-0) from the opening whistle, and it was rewarded in the 28th minute when it was awarded a penalty kick, which Cutler converted.

Saint Leo doubled its lead in the 59th minute, as North Georgia’s Sean Durkan was awarded a yellow card for a foul in the area. Again, Cutler drove the ball home, making him 7-for-7 for his Saint Leo career from the penalty spot.

Leonardo Nogueira then created the third goal 10 minutes later, driving down the right side before beating his defender as he approached the top of the penalty area. Nogueira then slipped a pass through to Huertas, making a run from midfield, and the former Freedom High standout fired into the net from close in.

Erik Mozzo recorded his second straight shutout, making seven saves for the Lions, including five in the second half as the Saints came further into the game.

The Lions next face their road-opener as they travel to West Florida next Friday at 8:30 p.m. The Argonauts, currently ranked No.20 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II poll, should provide an opportunity for Saint Leo to prove its top 25 credentials.

Colleges: Tampa men postponed

An unplayable field led to the postponement of the University of Tampa mens soccer game against Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday afternoon.

No make-up date has yet been announced.

Tampa opened the season with a 2-1 win against Florida Memorial on Thursday night, and will next play on Friday when it travels to Clayton State. The Lakers opened their season with a 1-0 win against Nova Southeastern on Thursday.

Friday, August 28, 2009

International: Wallace named to U.S. Under-20 World Cup squad

St. Petersburg’s Anthony Wallace has been named to the United States squad that will compete in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt in September.

Wallace attended Lakewood High and played locally for the Brandon Flames and Hillsborough County United before joining the U.S. Under-17 Academy in Bradenton. He also played for a season at the University of South Florida before being drafted by FC Dallas in 2007. He is one of two returning members of the squad, UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk was also on the 2007 squad that reached the quarterfinals of the competition two years ago.

The U.S. has been drawn in a group with Germany, Cameroon and South Korea. The opening game against Germany can be seen on ESPN Classic on September 26 at 9:55 a.m. EST, while both the Cameroon (September 29) and South Korea (October 2) games will be aired on ESPN2 at 12:45 p.m.

Clearwater’s Zac MacMath, currently with the University of Maryland and a former Clearwater Charger, was originally named to the 30-player roster Coach Thomas Rongen was to make his final decision on, but did not make the cut.

For more on this year’s squad, which will try to go one better than the Kasey Keller-led squad that reached the semifinals in 1989, click here.

College Matchday: Tampa at Palm Beach Atlantic

WHEN: Saturday, 4 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: No.3 Tampa will look to build on its 2-1 win against Florida Memorial on Thursday night against the Sailfish, in what is an important game in the NCAA South Region.

The Sailfish do not have a conference affiliation, relying on an at-large bid into the NCAA Southern Region tournament. The Spartans won the corresponding fixture last season on a goal by Pascal Milien, who also had both goals for Tampa in its season opening victory against Florida Memorial.

Tampa coach Adrian Bush is expecting a tough test from PBA, which won its season opener 5-0 against Johnson and Wales on Thursday night.

College: Pineiro leads Bulls to victory

Noelle Pineiro scored in the 53rd minute to give South Florida’s womens soccer team a 1-0 victory in its regular season opener against Florida Atlantic on Friday night.

Pineiro created her own chance, weaving into the penalty area before firing a left-footed shot from 16 yards out past FAU goalkeeper Ashley Lantes into the net.

“I think she had a mission to score a goal,” Bulls coach Denise Schilte-Brown told “Nothing was going to stop her, it didn’t matter how many players she had to cut to get to that goal. I was real proud of her, it was a real individual effort.”

While the Bulls pushed on to try and scored a second to put the game away, it wouldn’t be necessary, as USF held FAU without a shot in the second half, Mallori Lofton-Malachi earning the shutout with her three first half saves.

“Mallori has a great presence back there,” Schilte-Brown said. “Although we had three in the back tonight, you could often see that our shape looked like four because she wants the ball at her feet, and that has a calming effect on the back.”

South Florida next travels to face No.7 Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m. in what should be be a stern test for the Bulls. The Gators, who are the preseason favorites to win the SEC, defeated Florida International 3-0 on Friday night to move to 2-0-0 on the season.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Schilte-Brown said. “They’re a highly ranked team, and they have a lot of historical success, so I view it as a great opportunity. The girls are excited about it, and we’re going to go up there and it’ll take every ounce of their ability to break us because we’re going to show up ready to play.”

College: Tampa Women lose lead, tie North Georgia

The No.24-ranked University of Tampa lost a two-goal lead with 15 minutes to go as North Georgia forced a 2-2 draw in the Spartans’ opening game of the season on Friday evening at Pepin-Rood Stadium.

The Spartans had taken a 16th minute lead, Jazmin Perry finding the back of the net after being put in by Samantha Kay, and doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half as freshman Sara Kneeland scored her first goal for the school.

But despite recording a 20-7 advantage in shots, the Spartans were unable to add to their lead as North Georgia goalkeeper Jessica English recorded seven saves, and that allowed the Saints to rally late. Casey Smith pulled a goal back in the 77th minute, and Natalie Douglass added a second four minutes later to tie the game.

The Spartans return to the Pepin-Rood field on Sunday as they face No.9 Grand Valley State at 12:30 p.m.

College Women's Matchday: Florida Atlantic at South Florida

WHEN: 7:30 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: South Florida’s womens soccer team opens its regular season looking to continue the momentum it built in preseason. The Bulls recorded a pair of 2-0 victories against Jacksonville and Saint Leo, and goes up against an Owls squad that lost 2-0 to Stetson in its opening game on Sunday.

Florida Atlantic finished 7-10-2 last season, but took USF to double-overtime in last season’s game, returning junior Alejandra Santos grabbing the game-winning goal for the Bulls in the 109th minute. This year’s edition of the Bulls squad promises to be more potent offensively, and could take advantage of the Owls' youth in goal. All four goalkeepers on the FAU roster are either freshmen or redshirt freshmen, with former Plant goalkeeper Courtney Zwetsch among them.

Colleges: Sinclair scores as Bulls beat Stetson

Freshman Hasani Sinclair scored his first goal for South Florida as the Bulls completed their preseason with a 3-0 victory against Stetson on Friday night at the USF Soccer Stadium.

Sinclair, a U.S. under-18 international and Parade High School All-American, capped the Bulls victory with a second-half goal to add to his earlier assist on Jorge Mora’s opening goal.

“It felt great to finally be able to play,” Sinclair told “It felt good to score on my debut.”

Fernando Gonzalez doubled the Bulls lead early in the second half as he headed home from Jorge Mora’s corner kick in the 50th minute.

Jeff Attinella had three saves, while Brad Sienkiewich added two in the final 15 minutes, to combine on the shutout for the Bulls.

“I thought the guys did a good job,” Bulls coach George Kiefer told “We always set out to get the shutout, and we did a good job with that. I don’t remember having to come up with any big saves, but I thought from that standpoint we did a good job.”

South Florida opens its regular season on Tuesday as it hosts Central Florida at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

College Women's Matchday: North Georgia at Tampa

WHEN: 4 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: The Spartans open the season by hosting an invitational tournament, and face the Saints in their opener. Tampa won the corresponding fixture last season 3-1, returning starter Samantha Kay scoring one of the goals, and will hope to record a similar result on Friday.

Coach Gerry Lucey has a young side overall, with only two seniors on the roster, but is hopeful the experience players like sophomores Kay, Brittan Spence and Jazmin Perry gained last season will have a positive impact on newcomers to the starting line-up.

Colleges: Spartans weather storm, down Florida Memorial

Despite a two-hour rain delay due to large storms that swept through the Tampa area, the University of Tampa got a pair of goals from Pascal Milien to open the season with a 2-1 victory against Florida Memorial on Thursday night.

With 29 minutes played, and the game still scoreless, a large lightning storm and heavy rain forced the teams from the Pepin-Rood Stadium field. With Florida Memorial facing Eckerd on Friday, the possibility to postpone the game wasn’t available, so both teams waited until the storm had passed and the field made playable again.

Milien then gave Tampa the lead six minutes after the break, but Florida Memorial hit back 20 minutes later as Jayson Maltez struck for his fourth goal of the season.

Milien quickly restored Tampa’s lead, though, scoring three minutes later to put the Spartans up 2-1. Tampa coach Adrian Bush said he was pleased with how his side had managed to maintain their focus despite the conditions the game was played in, and the delay.

“It was kind of awkward, a very awkward game,” Bush said. “But I do give our guys credit, because to get up for your first game of the year, and have to take a two hour, 15 minute break, and then come back out in the rain and turn it on again, it’s a lot of character to do that.”

Bush was also impressed with Florida Memorial, which was playing only its second regular season game in its inaugural season.

“For a first-year program, they’re a very dangerous team,” Bush said. “We didn’t overlook them by any means, we scouted them twice, before the game today we knew they were a very good team. Anyone that overlooks that team is going to be in for a rude awakening, because they’re way ahead of a first-year program.”

Tampa travels to Palm Beach Atlantic for its second game of the season on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Spartans won the encounter last season 1-0, and Bush is expecting a tough test from the Sailfish.

“They’re a very good team,” Bush said. “Well coached, we’re going to have to come out and play better than we did tonight.”

Colleges: Lions run rampant in opener

Saint Leo’s mens soccer team put away the concerns of losing last season’s leading scorer Eusebio Montoya for the moment with a 7-0 drubbing of Clearwater Christian College in its opening game of the season on Thursday night.

Former Freedom High standout Bobby Huertas recorded his first hat trick for the Lions, finding the net once before halftime and twice after.

Jonathan Glenn, who had 11 goals last season, opened the scoring in the third minute with a header. Huertas then doubled the lead shortly before halftime before the floodgates opened in the second half.

Leonardo Nogueira made it 3-0 shortly after the break before Huertas scored two goals in three minutes. He first capitalized after the Lions had been on a penalty kick with a low driven shot into the right corner and then completed his hat trick two minutes later.

The Lions outshot the Cougars 18-1 as Freddy Menor and Stephen Tatum completed the scoring. It was Saint Leo’s biggest win since an 8-1 victory against Southeastern last October.

The Lions remain at home to face North Georgia on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Saints had their opening game of the season against Florida Southern rained out on Thursday night.

USL purchased by NuRock Soccer Holdings

The United Soccer League announced on Thursday that NuRock Soccer Holdings had purchased the organization from Nike.

From the official release, it appears that not much will change in the short-term for the Tampa-based USL. Tampa Bay and New York franchises are still scheduled to begin play in 2010, with Vancouver and Portland scheduled to move up to Major League Soccer in 2011.

From the release, it could be inferred that Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. would be likely destinations to replace the Whitecaps and Timbers when they move on, as NuRock owns the rights to acquire two USL First Division teams in those two markets. NuRock currently runs a Premier Development League franchise in Atlanta.

As for Nike Soccer and Umbro, both will continue their relationships with the USL, Umbro continuing as an official sponsor and exclusive supplier of match balls for USL’s professional and amateur leagues and Nike Soccer as an exclusive sponsor for USL.

Colleges: Excitement, not nerves, for USF Women

TAMPA - As her team opens its regular season tonight against Florida Atlantic, Coach Denise Schilte-Brown isn’t expecting to see many nerves from her squad.

“I don’t think so, I think they’re ready,” Schilte-Brown said after Thursday afternoon’s practice. “We don’t have too many freshmen on the field. Normally, I think, some of the nervousness for that first game is a freshman thing.”

That was evident in the squad’s practice, which finished with an entertaining game of soccer-volleyball. Sophomore Chelsea Klotz said she thought the team was feeling excited to get out onto the field against the Owls.

“There’s always nerves, but they’re more excitement nerves than scared nerves,” Klotz said.

PACKING A PUNCH: Klotz is expected to start in attack with Brittany Burt in South Florida’s opener, and is looking to build on a season where she led the Bulls with four goals.

South Florida’s principle struggle last season was putting the ball in the back of the net, scoring only 13 goals in 18 games, but Klotz is confident that the side will score more this season.

“This year with our set-up being different we have more goal-scoring opportunities, we have freshmen who are coming in and giving us a lot more scoring opportunities,” Klotz said. “We’re really excited, and we’re expected to score a lot, so that’s what we’re here to do.”

Schilte-Brown said pushing the focal point of the attack further up the field should help open up the attacking options for the Bulls, and create more space for the midfield to come forward.

“I feel that the goal-scoring opportunity is going to come from a full team effort to execute the offensive tactics that we have,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think we have a larger number of girls who can execute those things that we need done.”

IN SAFE HANDS: South Florida lost a pair of important defenders from last season in Jeanette Dyer and Melanie Sutherland, but Schilte-Brown thinks the players who will fill those roles should allow the Bulls to maintain their solid defensive record of a season ago.

“That’s never easy to bounce back from,” Schilte-Brown said. “But we do have Bahar Sansar, who is a standout player for us, play all spring and get that experience, so I feel confident that we’re going to do well in the back.”

Angelique Waller, who has played for the past two seasons, and Brittany Pilon, who like Sansar gained experience through the spring, will play in front of standout goalkeeper Mallori Lofton-Malachi.

The Bulls conceded 17 goals in 18 games last season, putting the Bulls in the top half of the Big East in goals against average. Lofton-Malachi’s play will be important to maintain that standard.

“She’s doing a really good job,” Schilte-Brown said. “She’s a good leader, and an excellent player, so we’re really excited about her.”

ROLL CAMERA: Schilte-Brown’s weekly show is now available at, where she discusses the opening weekend of the season, including the Bulls' trip to Gainesville to face No.10 Florida on Sunday afternoon.

College Matchday: Florida Memorial at Tampa

WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: The No.3-ranked Spartans open their regular season against NAIA opponents Florida Memorial. With nine of the 11 starters returning from last season’s NCAA Division II team, expectations of another run, and another national title, are being maintained at Pepin-Rood Stadium.

Florida Memorial is in its inaugural season, and won its opening game against the College of the Bahamas 6-3 on Sunday as Jayson Maltez scored a hat trick. The Pride may find scoring a little harder to come by against the Spartans and goalkeeper Ryan Thompson. The returning Sunshine State Conference Defensive Player of the Year had a 1.11 goals against average last season, posting eight shutouts.

The Spartans also welcome back SSC All-Conference first-teamers F Pascal Milien and D Dan Ingvarsson. Ingvarsson will team with Kyle Williams to form a strong backline partnership, while the Spartans will see greater experience throughout the side with the experience garnered by juniors Lister Warren and Mike Bethel and sophomores Ryan Griffin and Karl Swan a season ago.

The Spartans went 9-0-0 at home last season. Any result other than a UT win would be a major surprise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

College Matchday: Clearwater Christian at Saint Leo

WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.

NEED TO KNOW: Coach Joel Harrison’s Lions open against Clearwater Christian College, which finished last season ranked No.7 in the National Christian Colleges Athletic Association with a 9-7-2 record. Saint Leo will miss the now graduated All-America third-teamer Eusebio Montoya, who scored 14 goals last season, and Glenn Whitsett, who led the Lions with eight assists.

Jonathan Glenn, who scored 11 goals last season, does return for the Lions, while local fans will recognize a number of names on the roster, including former Freedom High standouts Bobby Huertas, Kyle Peel and Mike Panter.

Youth: Sparta Cup gives RSL players pro experience

One of the perks of being affiliated with an MLS club is the opportunities that can arise over the course of a season.

RSL Florida's boys under-16 team found that out during a recent trip to Utah, where it not only won the Sparta Cup but may have impressed some of MLS side Real Salt Lake's management in its performance.

"It was really good for us," Zach Higgins said. "We played our best soccer when we were being watched by coaches, so that was good for us to get spotted by them so we can hopefully get an opportunity to go to play for their youth team."

RSL Florida has sent players to compete on Real Salt Lake's youth team before. Earlier this summer, T.J. East, Joey Layton, Jake Peterson and Hamzi Elotari joined a squad that also contained players from RSL Arizona and RSL Utah on its roster, which won the SUM Cup in Denver. That team will compete in the Comunidad de Madrid next spring in Spain.

With Real Salt Lake assistant coach Brian Johnson at all of the team's game, and Coach Jason Kreis checking in to talk to the team, similar opportunities could be around the corner for this new crop of RSL Florida players. That acts as an incentive, according to Winston Lightbody.

"It makes us play harder," Lightbody said. "It keeps us motivated, and gets us to play consistently, knowing that people are out there watching us."

As a benefit of winning the tournament, RSL Florida's players also got to spend time with Real Salt Lake's senior side, accompanying them onto the field and being introduced to the crowd before a 1-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders,

"It was really fun going out in front of 20,000 people before the game," Higgins said.

The team is now looking to continue its recent run of success. It opened with a pair of victories in the Region III Premier League, and has also earned its berth in the United Soccer League's Super-Y North American finals, to be held in November.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Colleges: Spartans eager for opening game

With its regular season opener two days away, the No.3 University of Tampa men’s soccer team is eager for the regular season to get underway.

At the forefront of that sentiment is Coach Adrian Bush, who enters his fifth season as the Spartans' coach when they play Florida Memorial on Thursday night. Of course, for Bush, the excitement of game day doesn’t just bring a sense of expectation to the opening game of the season.

“I think if you are a competitor, before every match you should be excited,” Bush said. “I think there’s a difference between excitement and nerves, hopefully you can blend that together and be at your best come kickoff. Whether you’re a coach or a player, I think you get excited come the games, and I’m already not sleeping much, I’m excited, ready to go.”

Following a second straight Division II Final Four appearance, where the Spartans lost 3-2 to Cal State Dominguez Hills in overtime, UT has set a return to the Final Four, and a national title, as the goal for this season.

“I think it’s been pretty similar,” defender Dan Ingvarsson said of the Spartans’ training camp. “The only difference is this year we have a focus on getting into the Final Four again, and trying to win it this year. We lost in the semifinals last year, and it was bitter. This year we have a chance again because we’re hosting the Final Four. We’re hoping we’ll be back again only this time lifting the trophy.”

GEARING UP: Tampa completed its preseason with a 1-0 win against Central Florida on Sunday. Since it opened camp just under two weeks ago, the win continued the progression the side has seen since a 4-1 defeat to South Florida in its preseason opener.

According to midfielder Pascal Milien, that progression has been the main focus of training since the team opened camp.

“From day one that’s the big thing we’ve been working on,” Milien said. “Preseason is about getting better, you learn from what you do wrong and what you do right. We all feel good about it, and we’ll keep moving on every game, keep working harder and try to reach our goal.”

Bush has noticed a difference in the team this week, however, as it entered the first game week of the season.

“It’s been a good preseason, but I think everyone is anxious for the games to start really counting,” Bush said. “It’s a different vibe out here definitely today, you can tell it’s opening week because a lot of injuries have disappeared all of a sudden, but we’re ready to play. It’s been a long seven months since our last real defeat on our field, and we’re anxious to get back and redeem that.”

BACK TO ZERO: While the Spartans begin this season with the same ranking as they ended 2008, the players and coaches aren’t paying much attention to outside opinions yet.

“To be honest, our coaches have been telling us that the season hasn’t started yet. Everything is 0-0-0, you know?” Milien said. “Being No.3, it doesn’t matter, it’s going to matter when you start winning games and prove that you’re No.3 for a reason. Right now, we don’t want to worry about that, we’ll just keep working hard.”

Colleges: Some questions answered for Bulls

South Florida men’s soccer coach George Kiefer was looking to have questions answered when the No.11 Bulls faced No.3 Akron in an exhibition last Friday.

While the Zips won the game 3-1, Kiefer thinks he got some of his questions answered.

“I think it was helpful in moving some guys forward, and some guys need a little more work,” Kiefer said.

One player that did stand out for Kiefer was freshman center back Ashani Fairclough. The Jamaican under-20 international didn’t start against Akron, but had a strong performance off the bench, teaming with fellow freshman Carlos Anor in the center of defense in the second half.

“He showed me he could play against the top team in the country,” Kiefer said of Fairclough’s performance against Akron. “He’s been a captain for every team he’s played for, got good character. He’s young, he turned 17 on August 7, so he’s young. He’s taking information well, but physically, athletically, he’s as good as a senior.”

Bulls’ goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has also been impressed with Fairclough’s performance.

“He’s really young, but you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Attinella said. “He’s a good leader back there, and I know it’s usually tough for a freshman to come in and be vocal and try to get on the guys to do the right things, but that’s what we need from a center back, especially a big center back like him. We need someone to come in and fill the void that Yohance (Marshall) left, there’s been a really good competition at center back and he’s done well with that.”

CAMP CONTESTS: Kiefer is pleased with how his players have competed at camp so far, with the Bulls putting in rigorous workouts as they prepare to defend their Big East title.

One of the changes this season is the practice schedule. Instead of working out twice a day, as in the past, Kiefer has been putting his side through its paces just once a day, and is pleased with the results.

“They’re working really hard,” Kiefer said. “In the past we’d come out again tonight, but we’re focusing on just one session a day, and getting our work in, and I think we’re getting more out of them by doing that.”

Sophomore Sebastian Thuriere said he thought the preparation was going well, and that he thought the team was very positive and could improve on last season’s performance.

“We have a bunch of guys who are willing to step up the level of their game,” Thuriere said. “I think we’ll have a good season, possibly a better season than last year. We have a bunch of good players”

STETSON TEST: South Florida completes its preseason schedule when it hosts Stetson on Thursday night. With the Bulls facing a pair of in-state squads to open the regular season in Central Florida and Florida Gulf Coast, Kiefer had a purpose for scheduling the Hatters.

“We scheduled Stetson because we have a number of Florida teams coming up,” Kiefer said. “What we find with Florida teams is they’re all very good at moving the ball. We feel like it’ll be a good test for us to give a similar style to what we face when we open up.”

Kiefer said the side that starts against the Hatters is the one he believes is the Bulls best 11 right now, but with strong competition for places in the starting line-up and on the bench, changes could come.

“I think you’ll see us go with what our starting 11 is right now, and that could change in a week or two weeks, but on Thursday night, that’ll be the group we want to start,” Kiefer said. “They’re all feeding each other the right way, and if you can come on and work your tail off for 30 minutes, you know you’ve got a guy that can come on and take care of the next 15. We’re not asking them to save anything, and with the rules of college soccer, you can make moves moreso than in the international game, and I think we need to take advantage of that. “

Colleges: Zwetsch commits to Seminoles

Plant High junior soccer player Connor Zwetsch has committed to Florida State, becoming the latest player from the bay area to become a Seminole.

“Florida State was always No.1 on my list,” Zwetsch said. “It was always a dream to go there and play soccer for FSU, and I feel 100 percent accomplished. I don’t even know, it’s kind of indescribable.”

Former Bloomingdale and Alonso standouts Marissa Kazbour and Tifani Mullen are currently on the Seminoles roster, with Zwetsch’s RSL Florida teammate and current Bloomingdale standout Jordan Johnson committed to sign with the Seminoles in 2010.

Zwetsch, who will be part of the Noles’ 2011 class, said she had tightened her focus on joining FSU in the last 12 months.

“Within the last year, I set my goal that I wanted to go to FSU,” Zwetsch said. “I just wanted to work for it. I kept in contact with them, and let them know I was interested, and pretty much worked for what I wanted.”

While her commitment is now out of the way, Zwetsch said that she is now focused on becoming a player who can contribute to the Noles program as soon as she steps onto campus in two years.

“I still have so much work to do,” Zwetsch said. “I have two years to work and make sure that I earn a spot on the field once I get up there, so I still have a lot of work to do.

“It makes me feel great that I would fit in well with the team and be a good asset, but I still have so much work to do.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Youth: Flames split on Premier League opening weekend

Despite rain and lightning causing disruptions to their schedule, the Brandon Flames girls’ under-15 team split a pair of games in the opening weekend of the Region III Premier League.

The weather in Savannah, Ga. caused the postponement of the Flames’ opener against the Cape Fear Wave on Friday night, making the Flames play a pair of games on Saturday. The disruption didn't seem to affect the squad, though as Brandon controlled the bulk of the game in a 3-1 victory against the Wave.

“We really knocked the ball around them and dominated the possession,” Flames coach Randy Belli said. “They scored late after it was already 3-0, and the game was never really in doubt. The girls really did well, knocked the ball around and played well.”

The Flames were unable to complete the weekend sweep, though, as a pair of late goals gave the CASL Spartan Elite a 2-0 victory. One of the elite clubs in the country, CASL reached the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship game over the summer as the Region III champions, and is currently ranked No.5 in the nation in the under-15 division.

Belli said that he was pleased with the way his side competed, and continued to try to play its game despite the pressure CASL put it under, but was highly impressed with CASL’s quality.

“That team is a class team,” Belli said. “They pressure well, they’re well organized, they put you under so much pressure, they really dictate the pace of the game, and how the game is going to be. I’ve got to give them credit, they were better than us, no doubt about it.”

Belli said that games like the loss to CASL were the reason why he thought competing in the Premier League was going to be beneficial to his squad.

“The best thing for me, and the girls all realize that this is how you get better,” Belli said. “You play the best teams in the country. If we sat around and playing in the local leagues and smacked people around the way we’ve been doing, it wouldn’t make these players any better.

“I don’t like to drive to Savannah, we didn’t get in ‘til 1 a.m. and the girls have school today, but they realize that they’ve committed to being better players, and this is what it takes, to play the best competition.”

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Colleges: Spartans grab late goal to beat UCF

Mike Bethel scored in the 89th minute to give the University of Tampa a 1-0 victory against Central Florida in Orlando on Sunday evening in the Spartans final preseason game.

The victory was Tampa's first, after previous losses to South Florida and Jacksonville. Bethel finished a chance create by Pascal Milien to give the No.3 Spartans victory.

"I am very pleased with the progression of our team," says head coach Adrian Bush. "The young players are settling in and we hope to get healthier. We are excited to open up the regular season games that start beginning Thursday night."

Tampa begins its regular season on Thursday night at home to Florida Memorial at 7 p.m.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Colleges: Second half goals lift USF past Saint Leo

Eyllcia Colon and Brittany Burt each scored to give South Florida a 2-0 victory against Saint Leo in the Bulls second, and final, exhibition game of the preseason.

As in its exhibition victory against Jacksonville, USF played a tight defensive game, limiting the Lions to only a pair of shots on goal.

South Florida opens its regular season against Florida Atlantic on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Saint Leo, which has been picked to win the Sunshine State Conference, opens on August 31 on the road at Webber International.

Colleges: USF felled by Akron, freshmen honored

No.11 USF fell 3-1 to host No.3 Akron on Friday night in the Bulls second exhibition game of the preseason on Friday night.

After Akron took an early lead through Darlington Nagbe, USF tied the game in the 31st minute through Felipe Libreros. It was Libreros' second goal in as many game, but the lead only last six minutes, as Blair Gavin converted a penalty kick to give Akron a 2-1 halftime lead.

Akron added a third with just over a minute to play in the second half through Michael Nanchoff.

"I have to give Akron a lot of credit,” USF head coach George Kiefer said to “They did a good job for 90 minutes and came out with a lot of intensity. The looked extremely comfortable out there tonight and looked like they were in midseason form. But I think that this was a good experience four our team tonight. We learned a lot and that’s why we play these types of exhibition games. It will help us in our training as we prepare for the regular season.”

Earlier in the day, Hasani Sinclair and Ashani Fairclough were named to the College Soccer News "100 freshmen to watch" list for the season.

USF faces Stetson at home on Thursday in its final exhibition before it opens the regular season against Central Florida on September 1.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tampa makes first cut of possible World Cup venues

Raymond James Stadium remained on the list of potential venues after 13 sites were cut by the U.S. Soccer Federation on Thursday.

FIFA still has yet to announce the venues for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup's, both of which the U.S. has applied to host.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Youth: HCU Under-18's taking their time with college selections

Only one member of Hillsborough County United’s boys under-18 squad has committed to the college he’ll play for next season, but Coach Kelvin Jones is expecting more minds to become made up soon.

Jones, who is also HCU’s boys director of coaching, said the biggest thing he and his players are looking for is the right fit with a program, which more often than not means the opportunity to compete for a place on the team immediately.

“Very few of them are willing to go to a place where they will sit,” Jones said. “Soccer isn’t like football, where you go and you sit behind somebody for two years and then play your junior and senior year. They’re use to playing 50, 60 games a year these kids so we’ve got to find the right fit for them. It’s where can they go and have an impact right away, or at least be in the top 18 and be able to make an impact right away, that’s the sort of schools we’re looking for for our kids.”

T.J. East, who joined the club from RSL Florida this fall, has committed to ACC powerhouse Wake Forest. Tampa Catholic standout Andrew Buckley, who led Hillsborough County in scoring last high school season, may be the next to commit, with Central Florida appearing a likely destination.

Other players, though, are taking their time to see what options are on the table. Jones said that while he likes players to get commitments wrapped up sooner rather than later, the desire to stay in or close to Florida can make the process a slower one.

“It’s almost that they’re waiting for the Florida schools to come and get them, and when the Florida schools don’t come, then they might go [up north],” Jones said. “It’s just playing in the sun and playing in Florida is a lot different to being in other parts of the country.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Colleges: Tampa falls to Jacksonville in exhibition

The University of Tampa lost its second exhibition match of the preseason, as it fell 2-1 to host Jacksonville University on Wednesday night.

Dolphins forward Nedim Hrustic scored both goals for the Atlantic-Sun champions, including the game-winner in the second half.

“We looked pretty good for our first live action,” JU head coach Mike Johnson said. “Even though we still have some people missing, I was very pleased with the overall effort. I saw glimpses of how good we can be in the first half, but we got tied in the second half which is to be expected. Most importantly, we plan to get sharper and improve each day to get ready for our season opener on Sept. 1.”

Tampa tied the game earlier in the second half, as freshman Joey Gratt, formerly of Countryside High, took advantage of a defensive mistake by the Dolphins to find the net.

Youth: Flames eager for Region III Premier League

BRANDON - In a competition like the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Premier League, it’s hard enough to compete when you have a full complement of players.

When you’re short-handed, it makes things a bit more difficult. But that’s the situation the Brandon Flames girls’ under-14 side found itself in over the spring, as it competed in the tournament for the first time.

Now, as an under-15 team, the squad has reinforcements as it begins the new season this Saturday against the Cape Fear Wave from North Carolina. After finishing seventh due to tiebreakers, four different teams ended on 17 points, the Flames are looking to make a strong run this time around.

“I think the team expects to do well again,” Aubrey Riggins said. “We played most of the season with nine or 10 players, and we’ve picked up a lot of new really good players, and we hope to have a really good season.”

Flames coach Randy Belli has been impressed by the dedication the side has shown over the summer, adding he thought getting a feel for what premier league competition held gave them added motivation.

“We’ve had a good summer, the girls have been working hard and have come in fit,” Belli said. “They’re serious players, they come in on their own and they know what it takes to play. Having a taste of the region premier league last year, they know what it takes to be competitive in that league, sitting around for the summer is not an option for them.”

The Flames qualified for the competition by reached the State Cup final, where it lost 1-0 to Ponte Vedra. That loss left the squad hungry to achieve more this season.

“It was very disappointing,” Kalynne Heyer said, “but it kept our heads up for this year to come out stronger and not worry about what happened previously. Just let that be part of the past.”

While the side has the opportunity to qualify for next year’s Southern Regional tournament with a top-two finish in the league, Belli said he is more concerned with making sure the side continues to develop and be challenged.

“I think for the girls, it’s exciting,” Belli said. “For me, I think what we draw from it is the competition is what helps the kids develop, and in the end all I care about is how good they are when they are 17, 18 and can go to college. We’ve just happened to win a lot of games now, but we never emphasize winning, it’s all about developing so they’re the best player at 17, 18.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Youth: Fusion merger has been smooth sailing

It’s been a little over two months since the Black Watch Soccer Club and New Tampa Soccer Association merged to become the Tampa Fusion Futbol Club, and according to Director of Soccer Operations Jim DiNobile, the transition has gone very smoothly.

“The transition has been good as far as where we are now,” DiNobile said. “We have a lot of very good people involved and working hard.

“There’s a lot of work still to be done, we’re continually trying to get everybody on the same page as to how we’re doing things as the Fusion, and we’re taking the best of both worlds and bringing it together to make it happen, and I think it’s been very productive.”

The Fusion opened play in the USA League last weekend, and open play in the Club Directors League this Saturday as it faces Hillsborough County United in the opening round of matches.

COLBORNE HONORED: Former Black Watch/Fusion standout Evan Colborne was recently honored, being named the recipient of the 2008-2009 Region C Davis/Hackworth/Rosen Scholarship.

Nominees for the award are judged on their academics, citizenship, soccer commitment and commitment to the game and other extra-curricular activities. Colborne, who also attended and played for Hillsborough High, was a straight ‘A’ student in the school’s IB program, and was considered a leader on Black Watch’s boys under-18 Celtic side last season.

Colborne has just begun college at Colgate, where he will be the placekicker for the football team.

REGION III SELECTIONS: Four Fusion players have been named to the U.S. Soccer Olympic Development Program Region III rosters, with Ellis Curry and Raymundo Marquez being selected to the boys under-17 squad and Logan Jones and Eric Mubang to the boys under-14 squad.

Overall, 13 Fusion players were selected to the Florida ODP teams.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Colleges: USF downs UT to retain Rowdies Cup

The University of South Florida scored three times in the final 30 minutes to retain the Rowdies Cup with a 4-1 win against the University of Tampa at the USF Soccer Stadium on Monday night.

The defending Big East champions took the lead for good a little over a minute into the third of three 30-minute periods, initially going close when Zak Boggs had a low shot from 10 yards parried wide by UT goalkeeper Ryan Thompson.

Thompson was powerless to stop a strong header by Jorge Mora off the ensuing corner, taken by Alessandro Bianchi, putting USF up 2-1 in the 62nd minute.

USF added to its lead six minutes later, as Boggs floated an angled ball from the left towards Ogi Perucica at the top of the penalty. Perucica turned his marker to run onto the ball and struck a spectacular right-footed volley into the left corner of the net.

Boggs completed the scoring 13 minutes from the end as he buried a chance after being slipped in by Brock Jennings.

Bulls coach George Kiefer, whose team only began training on Friday, was happy with his side’s performance.

“I thought the guys in the second 30 and the last 30, they got better,” Kiefer said. “They came in very fit, we didn’t score four goals [in a game] all of last year, so I think this team has a lot of work to do, but it’s good three days in.”

Tampa opened more brightly, using pressure to disrupt USF’s rhythm and win possession in dangerous areas. Pascal Milien in particular was a menace throughout the game, using his speed to take on the USF defense. Karl Swan also had a pair of chances in the first period that were well saved by USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.

It was USF that took the lead, though, six minutes into the second period as Felipe Libreros picked up the ball on the left, cut inside towards the top of the penalty area, and fired a low shot that appeared to deceive Thompson as it skidded under him into the net.

Tampa tied the game through Milien, who was awarded and converted a penalty with just over seven minutes to go in the period. Milien beat his defender on the left, and had flicked to ball up to try and volley it across the face of goal when Ashani Fairclough came in with a high boot, taking the ball first but clattering into Milien second, which made the referee point to the spot.

USF moved to 4-0-1 since the re-establishment of the annual game between the two schools, but Kiefer said he was impressed with the way Tampa had played.

“I think that’s the best team we’ve seen out of them,” Kiefer said. “They’re solid in every spot, and I thought they made it a very good game for us.”

UT coach Adrian Bush wasn’t as charitable towards his own side, paying credit to the Bulls.

“I’m disappointed,” Bush said. “Give credit to those guys at USF, they’ve got a great team, a great program, but I felt as a whole and as a group when it was really time to really step up and perform at a high level, we had some players, and as a team, we couldn’t match that.”

Division I No.11-ranked South Florida goes on the road for its second preseason game, against No.3 Akron on Friday night, while Division II No.3-ranked Tampa travels to face Jacksonville on Wednesday night.

Youth: Ayah named to U.S. under-17 Residency program

Atsouh Ayah of the Tampa Fusion Futbol Club has accepted an invitation to become a member of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton.

Ayah, seen here with Fusion FC coach Roland Moldovan (left)and Fusion FC Director of Soccer Operations Jim DiNobile, was a captain on the U.S. under-15 boys team, but wasn’t thinking about moving up into the residency program when he attended training camp in Zarephath, N.J. in June.

“I was going with a positive feeling that if it played good, my team would do good, and that was my approach to the whole camp,” Ayah said. “That every game I would play the same as I play every day.”

Ayah was named a captain on his team’s roster, adding a little pressure, but he said that staying positive throughout camp really helped him through.

“It wasn’t easy,” Ayah said. “But being positive kept me going.”

Ayah follows in the footsteps of other local players like current New York Red Bull Jeremy Hall, Blake Wagner and Anthony Wallace of FC Dallas, Eddie Ababio of the University of North Carolina and Zac MacMath of the University of Maryland. Wagner is the only other former Black Watch/Fusion FC player to be named to the residency program.

“I feel very honored and humbled to get this opportunity,” Ayah said. “I was fortunate to work with coaches like Jim DiNobile and Roland Moldovan, they helped me out a lot all the time, making sure I stayed on track. I’m very honored, and feel really good, excited.”

Ayah joined Black Watch Soccer Club five years ago, and quickly became a player to watch. He just turned 15 in April, and will take up residency in Bradenton on August 22. Moldovan, who has been Ayah’s coach since he joined Black Watch, said he was very proud.

“It’s a great feeling to see someone from your team, who you have worked with for five years every day, make it that high,” Moldovan said. “It’s a special feeling.”

Colleges: USF, Tampa renew Rowdies Cup rivalry

For the fifth consecutive year, the Rowdies Cup will be up for grabs as the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa men face off at the USF Soccer Stadium at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

The two teams played to a 0-0 tie in last season’s encounter, ending a run of three straight Bulls victories since the series was revived in 2005.

Now, with USF ranked No.11 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division I poll, and Tampa ranked No.3 in the Division II poll, the match should provide a good measure of where both teams are after a week of training camp.

"This is a really fun game for us and I really think that both program's respect each other," said USF head coach George Kiefer. "I think that it's a game that needs to happen in this area. It's two of the top teams in their divisions (Division I and II), it's good for the community, it's good for the game of soccer and that's why we play it."

It is the preseason opener for both sides, and the event is all the more significant now since the announcement of the return of the Rowdies to the United Soccer League’s First Division next season. The trophy awarded to the winner of the annual contest is the same as the one the original inception of the Rowdies won in 1975 as NASL champions.

Former Rowdies player, and current Rowdies Technical Director, Perry Van Der Beck will also host a free soccer clinic from 6-7 p.m., as he has frequently across the bay area in the past couple of months.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Colleges: USF Women down Jacksonville in exhibition

Gina Pacheco and Chelsea Klotz scored second half goals as host South Florida opened its exhibition season with a 2-0 win against Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulls didn’t allow a shot on goal for the game, but it took until the 66th minute before Pacheco gave the Bulls the lead. Pacheco earned her first international cap for Canada over the summer.

Former Tampa Prep standout Klotz then added a second goal less than five minutes later, off an assist from fellow forward Brittany Burt. Klotz led the Bulls with four goals last season.

Having only opened training camp on Wednesday, Bulls coach Denise Shilte-Brown was pleased with the team’s performance.

“It’s a good first showing, we’re proud of the girls,” Schilte-Brown told USF radio after the game. “We’ve just gotten into preseason, so we haven’t touched on all our tactical information, so what we’ve worked on mostly has been defense, so keeping their shots down to zero was a real positive sign.”

USF has another exhibition on Saturday against Saint Leo before it opens the regular season on Aug. 28th at home to Florida Atlantic.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Youth: RSL opens with Region III PL win

RSL Florida's boys under-16 squad fought off a flu bug, and the FVAA Flash Red from North Carolina to earn a 1-0 victory in its opening game of the Region III Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

Jarrett Link scored the only goal of the game late in the second half, after having entered the game with 15 minutes to go.

RSL coach Steve Wolf said the game was a pretty choppy one, but he was pleased with the effort the team put forth.

"The team spirit and the fight [was good]," Wolf said. "It's not the most fluid at this time because we're playing a lotof different ways, and a lot of different people, and we're looking at a lot of different people so, today's win, we just buckled down, had good team spirit. Everyone contributed."

The league format generally calls for games in a central location on back-to-back days, and RSL will face the CSA Predators on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. before heading back to Tampa. Wolf said early kickoffs can be a difficult proposition, and being ready to play from the opening whistle will be imperative.

"They're brutal," Wolf said. "How does the body function that early? That's going to be the key, getting a good warm-up in, and going on from there."

College: Spartans ranked No.3 in preseason poll

The University of Tampa has been ranked No.3 in the nation in the opening National Soccer Coaches Association of America Men's Division II poll.

The ranking is the same that the Spartans ended last season with. In fact, in an amazing display of unoriginality from the NSCAA voters, this season's preseason rankings are exactly the same as the final rankings from 2008.

That isn't the case in the preseason women's poll, with UT being ranked No.24, up a spot from its No.25 final ranking in 2008. However, it is apparent that Saint Leo's Sunshine State Conference title a season ago, and being named the favorite to repeat by SSC coaches and SID's this week, didn't register with the NSCAA voters, since the Lions do not even appear in the 'also receiving votes' section of the poll.

Friday, August 14, 2009

College: Tampa men, Saint Leo women picked to win SSC

The University of Tampa men's soccer team has been picked to win the Sunshine State Conference this season, receiving 14 of the possible 18 first place votes in the poll of coaches and sports information directors.

Voters were not allowed to vote for their own school in the poll.

Tampa was second in the SSC last season, and returns nine starters including goalkeeper Ryan Thompson, midfielder Pascal Milien and defender Dan Ingvarsson, who were all SSC first-team selections a season ago.

Saint Leo was picked to finish fifth in the nine-team conference, while Eckerd College was picked seventh.

Saint Leo's women, however, were picked to earn back-to-back SSC championships.

The defending champions received 10 first place votes, compared to eight for second-placed Rollins College, and have reigning SSC Player and Offensive Player of the year Hannah Beard returning. Beard scored 17 goals, and led the SSC with 46 points a season ago.

Tampa was picked to finish fourth in the women's poll, while Eckerd, which went winless in SSC play a season ago, was selected ninth.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Colleges: USF Men picked to finish second in Big East Red division

Defending conference champion South Florida has been picked to finish second in the Big East Men’s soccer Red Division behind St. John’s in the Big East coach’s preseason poll.

South Florida, which was ranked No.11 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason Division I poll, received one first place vote to put it ahead of Louisville. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team in the poll.

St. John’s garnered 13 first-place votes to finish with 109 points, while Notre Dame was voted the favorite in the Blue division, earning 12 first-place votes. Connecticut and Georgetown rounded out the top three in the Blue division.

Youth: RSL Under-15's earn draw, close in on Super-Y Championships

RSL Florida’ boys under-15 team stayed on course to earn its place at the United Soccer League’s Super-Y North American Finals after a 2-2 tie against the Florida Soccer Alliance on Wednesday evening.

With a roster depleted by a flu bug going around the team, RSL only suited up 13 players, and fell behind before Michael Ciluffo tied the game. Travis Jehs then gave RSL the lead with 10 minutes to go, but a late defensive error allowed FSA to earn a point.

“It was a pretty tough game for the guys,” Coach Mo Loregnard said.

RSL currently sits in third place in Pool A of the Southeast division, but needs just a win and a draw from its final four games to win the pool and advance to the championships, which will be held in Tampa beginning on November 19.

FSA and the Florida Rush are currently tied for the group lead, three points clear of RSL, but both sides have completed their schedules.

RSL heads to North Carolina this weekend to open its Region III Premier League season. One of only two bay area teams to qualify for the league, the Brandon Flames girls under-15 side being the other, Loregnard said he is looking forward to the elite competition.

“All of the teams that participate in it are either State Cup winners or runners-up,” Loregnard said. “It’s top quality competition.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Preps: Fanning commits to Florida Gulf Coast

Billy Fanning has made his pick for where he is going to play college soccer next season, and it's going to be at Florida Gulf Coast.

Fanning will follow former Freedom standout Deion Jones to Fort Myers, and said that Jones' input helped him make his decision. Georgetown and William and Mary had also made offers to Fanning.

Florida Gulf Coast finished seventh in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season with a record of 3-5-1, and its roster also includes former Mitchell High players Matthew O'Shaughnessy and Jonathan Koshko.

Colleges: USF Men have 11th-best incoming class

College Soccer News has named the South Florida men's soccer incoming class as the 11th best in the nation in its list of the Top 40 recruiting classes for 2009.

Led by forward Hasani Sinclair, who recently represented the U.S. under-18 national team at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland and was a Parade All-American for Delray Beach American Heritage last season, the eight-player class is ranked the second-best in the Big East, trailing only Notre Dame (No.9).

Others who could contribute immediately as the Bulls seek to retain their Big East championship are Boston College transfer Shawn Chin, and Jamaican under-20 international Ashani Fairclough.

Akron topped the list, as it attracted a number of U.S. youth internationals, with perennial powers Maryland and UCLA rounding out the top three.

Welcome to The TBSB

Welcome to you all.

First of all, let me say thanks for stopping in. This is going to be a bit of an experiment for me, but I hope it will become your one-stop-shop for all things Tampa-related when it comes to soccer.

From clubs and high schools to colleges and the pros, the TBSB will be covering those who play, or have played, in the bay area.

Got a story you think the TBSB should know about? Feel free to drop me a line at