June 19, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge men's soccer head coach Terry Davila has announced the signing of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The accomplishments of this incoming class include, but are not limited to an adidas ESP participant, multiple starters on ODP teams, a litany of honors and awards earned at the club and high school levels, and student-athletes who received invitations to train with the coaching staff of the U.S. Men's National Team earlier this year.
After narrowly missing out on one of the four available spots in the inaugural Big West Men's Soccer Tournament last season, the Matador coaching staff wasted no time in recruiting one of the most decorated classes to arrive on campus during his tenure.
"All of these guys have the ability to start and compete against other teams in the Big West, they just need to understand what their roles are within the team, and just " shared Davila. "This group has the most experience (on all levels) of any class that we have ever recruited. We expect them to contribute."
Michael Abalos, Yuval Borak, Luis Gil, Eduardo Gonzales, Jesus Landeros, Chris Smith, Thomas Jake Troy and Gustavo Villalobos will blend their talents and skills with the maturity and experience of a Matador team that graduated only four student-athletes last year, with another twelve returning for their senior season in 2009.
A First Team All-CIF award winner in 2007, Gil, a Tri-County League Offensive Most Valuable Player and three-time Cal South Olympic Development Program player will make the jump to Division-I soccer this fall.
Having scored 20 goals in his final season at Fillmore High School before concentrating his time and efforts to play with the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy last season, the three-time United States National Champion as a member of Real So Cal has the potential to earn serious minutes off the bench for Coach Davila and contend for a spot in the starting line-up.
"Gil is one tough competitor," shared Davila, "who has a solid game on both sides of the ball."
Also making the switch from Real So Cal to Cal State Northridge is midfielder Eddie Gonzales who travels to the Valley after participating in the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Soccer Team Mega-Camp earlier this year with Landeros.
A First Team All-League as a freshman and sophomore while at Thousand Oaks High School, Gonzales was a member of the 2006 National Champion Valley United Blast soccer squad, winning the Golden Boot for his successes during the tournament, and was invited to the United States Developmental Academy's Southern California All-Star Team in 2009.
After tallying six goals and three assists for the Pacific View League champion and CIF Division IV Southern Section runner-up Channel Islands High School soccer team, Landeros capped off his high-school tenure having been named to the All-CIF and All-County teams in both 2008 and 2009.
"Eddie is a very dynamic player in the offensive third who will make an impact because he is able to create a number of scoring opportunities for himself and other forwards."
A member of FC Barcelona (Los Angeles), Landeros was invited to compete in the Adidas Elite Soccer Program, sanctioned from U.S. Youth Soccer and one of the most recognizable development programs in existence today, National Team Camp in 2007, Regional IV team in 2007 and 2008, and named to the Cal South State Team from 2005-'08.
"Landeros is a powerful player who is deadly on set pieces and constantly looks to impact the game on the offensive side of the ball."
With three Surf Cups and Dallas Cups already in his possession, Chris Smith is hoping to add a Big West Championship title to his collection during his time at Northridge. The native from Palmdale also competed for the FC Barcelona soccer club in Los Angeles along with Landeros.
The two-time State Cup finalist carries with him a dynamic skill set and foundation of experiences; the U-20 coaching staff for the U.S. Men's National Team invited Smith to participate in their inaugural workouts this year to witness first-hand the potential the center-mid/outside back from Quartz Hill High School possesses.
"Smith is a very technical player who had played with a lot of great clubs in this area. He is a fantastic player who is very multi-dimensional, who constantly works to improve his game."
After helping his soccer team at Judge Memorial Catholic High School advance to a third place finish in the 3A State Tournament, First Team All-State recipient and All-Tournament Team recipient Troy will make the trek from his hometown in Salt Lake City, Utah to Northridge in 2009.
"We saw Troy at the Surf Cup and brought him in to fill a need on defense. He has a lot of potential and we are both honored and excited to have him as a member of our program."
A member of the Utah State Cup Championship team in 2006-07 before competing in the Utah Olympic Development Program, the state's most competitive level of organized youth soccer, Troy scored 11 goals in his final season at Judge Memorial while also competing as a member of La Roca FC.
Finishing the 2008-09 season with 72 points off 32 goals and eight assists Villalobos, a forward who looks to gain additional playing time as a midfielder, looks to add another championship to his collection after earning a National Cup Championship as a member of the soccer team at Birmingham High School.
"Villalobos is a special player who is dynamic off the dribble, can challenge anyone one-on-one, is a great shooter, and possesses skills that cannot be taught. He is an athletic player who separates himself off the dribble well."
Originally gaining the interest of local recruiters after being named the Most Valuable Player of the West Valley Soccer league with his 31-goal performance, the three-time First Team All-West Valley and two-time First Team All-City recipient also spent the 2008 season as a member of the Cal South State Team and Rampage FC to further develop his talents in preparation for his transition to Division-I competition.
"Abalos is a solid goalkeeper who will contend for the starting spot this season. He comes from the Pateadores Soccer Club that has a long list of great goalies; hopefully he will be the next name on the list to continue the strong tradition," said Davila.
"Borak is a mature player who just completed his commitment to the Israeli National Army. I like his accuracy with his passes, he is an extremely dedicated and disciplined player, knows his role very well as a left-back, and has an opportunity to make an immediate and positive impact to our program."
The Matador's 2009 season will begin on August 28 against the UNLV Rebels in a Friday afternoon game scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Matador (Soccer) Field located on the campus of Cal State Northridge.
CSUN will compete in three pre-season tournaments before beginning Big West Conference action on the road against UC Riverside on September 30. Other conference teams making the trek to Matador Field include UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UC Riverside, and Cal State Fullerton, with the Matadors traveling to Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Irvine for conference games.