DENVER — Bakersfield was selected as the favorite to win the 2013 Western Athletic Conference men’s soccer title as determined by a vote of the league’s eight head coaches. The 2013 WAC preseason all-conference men’s soccer team and preseason Players of the Year were also announced as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
This is the first year of men’s soccer in the WAC since the 1999 season. The league is made up of eight teams divided into two divisions and includes both full time members of the WAC and affiliates. The East Division is comprised of Air Force (affiliate), Grand Canyon, Houston Baptist (affiliate) and Kansas City. The West Division consists of Bakersfield, UNLV (affiliate), San Jose State (affiliate) and Seattle U.
Bakersfield was selected first in the poll as the team received five first place votes and 47 total points. The Roadrunners return five of their 11 starters from a team that went 9-5-5 in 2012 and finished in first place in the Pacific Division of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF).
Air Force, last year’s MPSF tournament champion, finished second in the poll with two first place votes and 43 points. The Falcons were 10-9-4 last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament where it lost 1-0 to Washington in the first round. UNLV is third with 30 points followed closely by San Jose State with 29 points. Kansas City was picked fifth with 26 points followed by Seattle U (19), Grand Canyon (18) and Houston Baptist (12). Grand Canyon makes the transition to Division I this season after wrapping up their final season in Division II with a 16-3-1 overall record in 2012.
Kansas City junior forward Jordan Rideout garnered Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors, while Air Force senior defender Caleb Downey was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Rideout, a first team all-Summit League honoree last season, led the Kangaroos with seven goals, 16 points and 44 shots in 2012. He also earned NSCAA third team all-region honors.
Downey earned honorable mention all-MPSF honors in 2012 as a defender. He tied for third on the team with three goals including two game-winners and attempted 11 shots during the year.
Bakersfield led all WAC teams with three preseason all-conference selections. Air Force and Seattle U each had two honorees, while Houston Baptist, Kansas City, UNLV and San Jose State each had one representative.
The 2013 WAC season is set to kickoff Aug. 30 with all of the WAC's teams in action over the Labor Day weekend. The WAC Men’s Soccer Tournament will be held at the Air Force Academy, November 14-15 and 17. Every team except Grand Canyon will participate as the Antelopes are ineligible due to their transition from Division II to Division I.
2013 WAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Rank||Team (1st Place Votes)
|2.||Air Force (2)||43|
|4.||San Jose State||29|
|7.||Grand Canyon (1)||18|
2013 Preseason All-WAC Team
|Brian Klazura||Sr.||F||Air Force|
|Jordan Rideout||Jr.||F||Kansas City|
|Miguel Gonzalez||Sr.||F||Seattle U|
|Kristopher Tyrpak||Sr.||MF||Houston Baptist|
|Caleb Downey||Sr.||D||Air Force|
|Andy Kelly||Jr.||D||San Jose State|
|Jake Feener||Sr.||GK||Seattle U|
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Jordan Rideout, Jr., F, Kansas City
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Caleb Downey, Sr., D, Air Force