With the regular season opener less than a month away, national acclaim is starting to trickle in for the University of Akron men’s soccer team.
The Zips, who were recently ranked No. 9 in College Soccer News’ Preseason Top 30 National Poll, landed three players on Top Drawer Soccer’s Preseason’s Best XI this week, including first-team honoree Bryan Gallego, second-team selection Reinaldo Brenes and third-team choice Aodhan Quinn.
Gallego, a junior defender and All-Mid-American Conference second-team selection, has started every game of his college career, including all 22 matches in 2012. He helped lead a defensive unit that allowed eight goals in more than 2,000 minutes and recorded 16 shutouts last fall. Furthermore, the Zips held their opponents to one or fewer goals in all but one match and recorded the 10th-longest shutout streak in NCAA history with eight clean sheets in a row from the middle of September to October.
Brenes paced the Zips with 11 goals and four game-winners to establish career highs in both categories in a breakout season in 2012. The first-team Academic All-American and first-team All-MAC honoree notched the first hat trick of his career against Buffalo and recorded the game-winning strike in three consecutive matches against the Bulls, Florida Atlantic and Penn State. He scored 10 times during an eight-match stretch last season.
Quinn enters his third season with the Zips after transferring from Bradley in 2011. He appeared in 19 matches, including 17 starts, and was an All-MAC second-team selection in 2012 after totaling four goals and three assists. Quinn scored in the MAC Tournament championship match against Northern Illinois and then assisted the game-winning goal in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Michigan.
Brenes (first team) and Gallego (second team) were also named to the College Soccer News’ Preseason All-America Team.
The Zips (18-1-3) swept the MAC regular-season and tournament titles for the fifth time in six years in 2012 and advanced to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth season in a row. UA will return nine letter winners and five starters for Jared Embick, who is in his first season as head coach.
Akron will host Marshall in the first of two exhibition matches on Aug. 20 before officially kicking off the regular season at the College of Charleston Tournament from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 against the College of Charleston and Furman.
The Zips will open their home schedule on Sept. 13-15 when Virginia Commonwealth University and San Diego State come to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field for The University of Akron Tournament.
Season and single-game tickets can be purchased online anytime at ZipsTickets.com, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Mondays through Fridays by either calling 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or visiting The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field (located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets).