FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU men’s soccer program claimed six of the 20 spots on the 2010 Atlantic Sun Players to Watch list announced by TopDrawerSoccer.com earlier this week, the most by any of the 10 A-Sun institutions.
Recording the first winning season in program history in 2009, seniors Matt O’Shaughnessy (Trinity, Fla./Mitchell HS) and Matt Smith (Cape Canaveral, Fla.), junior Cristian Raudales (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee HS), and sophomores Jelani Smith (Mississauga, Canada/Rick Hansen Secondary), Westin Vallentine (Spring, Texas/Klein Collins HS) and Jeremy Vollmer (Carmel, Ind./Westfield HS) earned the preseason recognition from the media outlet.
“It’s a nice recognition for our players and the program,” said reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year Bob Butehorn. “Now it’s time to live up to the billing.”
Placed eighth on the players to watch list, O’Shaughnessy earned A-Sun All-Conference second team honors after starting in all 16 matches and playing every minute a season ago. The senior led a defense that finished first in the A-Sun in shutouts (6) and second in goals against average (1.21). Coming into his senior campaign, the defenseman, ranks first in program history in games played (52) and games started (51), and second all-time in game-winning goals (2) and total minutes played (4,526). Additionally, the Trinity, Fla. is tied for fourth place all-time in goals scored (6) and points (13), and will be one of the first four-year letterwinners in program history at season’s end.
Also receiving A-Sun All-Conference second team honors last season, Matt Smith earned the 10th spot on the preseason players to watch list. The goalkeeper started all 16 games and played every minute (1483) in goal, while ranking first in the A-Sun in goals allowed (20) and shutouts (6) last year. The Cape Canaveral, Fla. native also finished second in the conference in goals against average (1.21).
Heading into the 2010 campaign, Raudales is already the program’s all-time leader in goals scored (8) and game-winning goals (3), while ranking in the top five in 10 other categories. Claiming the sixth spot on the players to watch list, the Bradenton, Fla. native started all 16 matches and accumulated 1264 minutes on the pitch in 2009. The junior picked up A-Sun All-Conference second team honors last season, finishing tied for first place in the A-Sun in game-winning goals and ranked in the top 10 in points (13), points per game (0.81), goals (5), and goals per game (0.31).
A newcomer to last year’s team, Jelani Smith was named to the 14th slot on the preseason watch list. Smith competed in all 16 matches and started 13 contests, ending the year with seven points on two goals and three assists. In the offseason, the Mississauga, Canada native was called to the Canadian U-20 National competition in Netherlands and added to the U-20 player pool for the 2010 CONCACAF and 2011 World Cup qualifying in Columbia.
Bursting onto the scene in his freshman season, Vallentine finished with five goals, highlighted by two game-winners. Picking up the 17th spot on the preseason watch list, the Spring, Texas native was selected to the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman team a year ago. The sophomore appeared in all 16 matches while starting two contests, and recorded at least one shot in 11 matches.
Landing the 19th position on the list, Vollmer rounds out the six-man group recognized with the preseason honor. Instrumental in the midfield success, the Carmel, Ind. native earned Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman honors in 2009, starting all 16 matches and accumulating 1286 minutes, which ranked third on the team.
Returning 23 players from last year’s club that finished third in the regular season standings, the FGCU men’s soccer team was predicted to repeat that finish in the 2010 Atlantic Sun preseason coaches’ poll, announced by the conference office on Tuesday. The Eagles received one of the 10 first-place votes distributed by the conference coaches.
After home exhibition matches next week against the University of Tampa (Aug. 25) and Rollins College (Aug. 28), the Blue and Green officially open the season on Wednesday, September 1, at 7:30 p.m. at No. 16 USF in Tampa, Fla. The home opener at the FGCU Soccer Complex is scheduled for Thursday, September 16, at 7:30 p.m. against Drexel, as part of the Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic. The Eagles conclude the Classic with a Saturday night meeting against No. 18 Ohio State, also set for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18.
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased through the FGCU Ticket Office in Alico Arena either in person or by phone at (239) 590-7145. Tickets are also available on www.FGCUathletics.com/tickets and are $6 for adults and $3 for youth (Ages 3-18). Admission for FGCU faculty and staff along with students is free.
Top Drawer Soccer’s A-Sun Players to Watch List
1 Ian Cameron Mercer MF
2 Brandon Tarr Belmont F
3 Fredrick Brustad Stetson MF
4 Sean Hoek East Tennessee State MF
5 Mitchell Cardenas Campbell MF
6 Cristian Raudales Florida Gulf Coast MF
7 Khalil Johnson Campbell D
8 Matthew O'Shaughnessy Florida Gulf Coast F
9 Guilherme Reis East Tennessee State D
10 Matthew Smith Florida Gulf Coast GK
11 Aaron Schoenfeld East Tennessee State F
12 Adam O'Neill North Florida F
13 Brett Petricek Mercer GK
14 Jelani Smith Florida Gulf Coast F
15 Filip Terland Jacksonville D
16 Keegan Terry Campbell F
17 Westin Vallentine Florida Gulf Coast F
18 Jonathan Mendoza Stetson MF
19 Jeremy Vollmer Florida Gulf Coast MF
20 Alesi Osorio East Tennessee State MF