UCF has established itself as an solid all-around athletic program over the past decade, and with 2014 around the corner, it’s not just football who deserves attention. Over the next three weeks, we will preview the big fall sports at UCF heading into the 2014 season, starting this week with men’s soccer:
Last Year: 8-5-5, 4-1-3 in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights finished strong, going unbeaten in their final eight regular season matches, including a 1-0 win at USF. The Knights won their first-round game in the AAC Tournament over Memphis, 2-1 in overtime, on a golden goal by Abdi Yusuf. However, the season came to an end six days later at the hands of UConn in the AAC semifinals, 2-0.
Head Coach: Bryan Cunningham – 8th season at UCF (57-53-20). Cunningham has posted four straight winning seasons, and guided the Knights to back-to-back NCAA Second Round appearances, in 2010 and 2011.
Listen to Coach Cunningham’s interview with Eric Lopez and Jeff Sharon on The Insiders Show on SportsTalk Florida 1080 The Team in Orlando:
- Romario Williams (Junior Forward, 5-11, 170-pounds, from Portmore, Jamaica) – Williams was last year’s AAC Player of the Year with 10 goals, six of them game-winners. He is on the preseason watch list for the Hermann Trophy, which is Men’s College Soccer’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy for football. He was also a member of the Jamaica U17 World Cup team in 2011.
- Sebastian Evers (Senior Goalkeeper, 6-1, 180 pounds, from John A. Ferguson HS in Miami) – Evers was 6-2-5 in 13 starts last year, and started in goal for the Knights’ program record nine-match unbeaten streak at the end of last year. He posted five clean sheets in 2013, finishing with a GAA of 0.77.
Key Games to Mark on the Calendar:
- at Oregon State (8/31)
- vs. FAU (9/5)
- vs. UNF (9/17)
- at Indiana (9/24)
- vs. #8 UConn (10/18)
- vs. USF (10/24)
- vs. Florida Gulf Coast (11/4)
Last Conference Title: 2004 (UCF’s final season in the Atlantic Sun Conference). It was the third of three straight A-Sun titles for the Knights. They lost to Wake Forest in the Second Round after beating FIU.
Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2011. UCF defeated Florida Gulf Coast in extra time in the First Round, but lost to USF in Tampa in the Second Round in extra time, 2-1.
Something to Keep an Eye on: Former UCF Goalkeeper Sean Johnson is now with the Chicago Fire of MLS. He is also in the USA Men’s National Team program, and figures to be in the mix to replace Tim Howard as Jugen Klinsmann’s keeper in the 2018 World Cup.
The Knights begin the season out west in Oregon against Portland on August 29th. They also have a pair of preseason games at home, against Jacksonville August 17th and Tampa August 20th.
Stay with SportsTalk Florida for updates on UCF sports throughout the season.