UCLA defender Lauren Barnes, midfielder Kylie Wright and forward Sydney Leroux have been placed on the “Watch List” for the Hermann Trophy, the most prestigious of college soccer's player-of-the-year honors.
Barnes, a senior from Upland (Upland HS); Wright, a senior from Rancho Santa Margarita (Tesoro HS); and Leroux, a junior from Vancouver, British Columbia, by way of Phoenix, are among eight players with local ties to get mentions for the award, which is presented by the Missouri Athletic Club and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Also on the women's list are Stanford senior Christen Press of Palos Verdes Estates (Chadwick School) and sophomore Mariah Nogueira of Westminster (Marina HS), and Cal's Alex Morgan, a U.S. national-teamer from Diamond Bar (Diamond Bar HS).
UC Irvine's Spencer Thompson, a senior forward from Ahwatukee, Ariz., and former Cal State Fullerton midfielder Michael Farfan, a senior at North Carolina, are on the men's list.
Leroux won the Golden Ball (as MVP) and Golden Boot (as top scorer) when the U.S. won the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup two years ago. She was the top scorer for the U.S. in this summer's U-20 World Cup, but the Americans -- coached by UCLA's Jill Ellis -- were eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Barnes, Wright, Press and Nogueira have played for U.S. youth national teams. Farfan, who played in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup, played two years for Fullerton before transferring to UNC.
WOMEN'S KICKOFF: The college season officially begins Friday for NCAA Division I women, but third-ranked UCLA is holding off until Sunday, when it meets Big West Conference power Cal Poly on the Bruins' North Athletic Field. The other eight L.A.-area D1 schools play Friday, with USC, Pepperdine, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Riverside starting at home.
UCLA and USC were picked to finish second and third in the Pacific 10 Conference, and UC Irvine is expected to contend in the Big West.
Here are the coaches' preseason conference polls:
Pacific 10: 1. Stanford (9 first-place votes) 81 points; 2. UCLA (1) 73; 3. USC 58; 4. California 53; 5. Oregon State 50; 6. Washington State 41; 7. Washington 37; 8. Arizona State 25; 9. Oregon 22; 10. Arizona 10.
Big West: 1. UC Santa Barbara (4 first-place votes) 75 points; 2. Cal Poly (2) 61; 3. UC Irvine (2) 60; 4. Pacific (1) 58; 5. Cal State Northridge 45; 6. Long Beach State 44; 7. Cal State Fullerton 34; 8. UC Riverside 15; 9. UC Davis 13.
West Coast: 1. Portland (7 first-place votes) 49 points; 2. Santa Clara (1) 41½; 3. San Diego 38½; 4. Pepperdine 27; 5. Loyola Marymount 26; 6. St. Mary's 19; 7. Gonzaga 12; 8. San Francisco 11.
The WCC also chose an preseason all-conference side, which included Pepperdine midfielder/forward Michelle Spacciapolli and Loyola Marymount forward Julie Gallaudet. Also honored was San Diego's Jackie Zinke (Mater Dei HS)
NSCAA RANKINGS: UCLA is ranked third and USC 19th in the NSCAA preseason NCAA Division I women's poll. Defending champion North Carolina is first, followed by Stanford. Following UCLA in the top 10 are Notre Dame, Portland, Florida State, Boston College, Texas A&M, Santa Clara and Wake Forest. Cal is No. 14 and Washington State is No. 21.
In the preseason D1 men's poll, UCLA is ranked fifth, UC Santa Barbara is eighth and UC Irvine is 25th. Akron, which went unbeaten last year but lost on penalties in the final, is No. 1, followed by defending champion Virginia, Wake Forest and North Carolina. Following UCLA in the top 10 are Maryland, Tulsa, UCSB, Northwestern and Harvard. Stanford in 13th and Portland is 19th.
Cal State Dominguez Hills is ranked fourth and Cal State L.A. 14th in the D2 women's poll. Grand Valley State, which beat Dominguez Hills in last year's final, is No. 1. … Dominguez Hills is sixth, Cal State L.A. 12th and Cal State San Bernardino 25th in the D2 men's poll. Defending champion Fort Lewis is atop the ranking.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, coached by former L.A. Sol midfielder Keri Sanchez, is No. 18 in the D3 women's poll. Messiah is No. 1 in the men's and women's rankings.
California teams top the national junior college Division III (non-scholarship) rankings. Mt. San Antonio (Walnut) is the No. 1 men's team, with Cerritos third, Santa Ana 10th and Rio Hondo (Whitter) 13th. Santiago Canyon (Orange) is atop the women's list, with Cerritos fifth, Ventura ninth and Cypress 13th.
The preseason NAIA rankings will be released Tuesday.
OTHER RANKINGS: Akron also is No. 1 in College Soccer News' preseason rankings, followed by North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and Tulsa. UC Santa Barbara is sixth, UCLA is eighth and UC Irvine is 20th. Stanford is 14th, Portland is 23rd and Sacramento State is 28th.
PRESEASON BESTS: UC Santa Barbara midfielder Danny Barrera and Loyola Marymount midfielder Rafael Baca are on College Soccer News' preseason All-America team.
The Colombian-born Barrera, a junior from Thousand Oaks who played at Westlake High School, has featured for the U.S. under-17 and under-18 national teams and starred this summer for the Premier Development League's Ventura County Fusion. He is on CSN's second team.
The Mexican-born Baca, a senior from Lawndale who starred at Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood, is a third-team selection.
Farfan is a first-team choice.
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Hope International at Long Beach City College, 2 p.m. (exhibition)
Evergreen State at Concordia (Irvine), 4 p.m.
Arizona Western at Soka (Aliso Viejo), 7 p.m. (exhibition)
Cal State San Bernardino Alumni Game, 10 a.m. (exhibition)
Cal Baptist at Sacramento State, 11 a.m. (exhibition)
Hope International Alumni Game at Cal State Fullerton, 3 p.m. (exhibition)
Cal State L.A. at Vanguard (Costa Mesa), 5 p.m. (exhibition)
Azusa Pacific at Cal State Dominguez Hills (Carson), 7 p.m. (exhibition)
Cal Poly Pomona at Biola (La Mirada), 7 p.m. (exhibition)
The Master's at Cal State Bakersfield, 7 p.m. (exhibition)
Concordia at Concordia-Oregon (Portland), 3 p.m.
Concordia vs. Warner Pacific at Portland Christian High School (Portland, Ore.), 1:15 p.m.
Azusa Pacific at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo), 7 p.m. (exhibition)
Hope International at Long Beach City College, 4 p.m. (exhibition)
Vancouver Island at Vanguard (Costa Mesa), 6 p.m.
San Diego at USC (McAllister Park, Los Angeles), 3 p.m.
Fresno State at Pepperdine (Malibu), 3 p.m.
Loyola Marymount at California (Berkeley), 4 p.m.
Fresno Pacific vs. Roberts Wesleyan at The Master's (Santa Clarita), 4 p.m.
Brigham Young at Long Beach State, 5 p.m.
Idaho at UC Irvine, 7 p.m.
UNLV at UC Riverside, 7 p.m.
Cal State Northridge at UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton at Cal State Bakersfield, 7 p.m.
Concordia at Concordia-Oregon (Portland), 7 p.m.
Cal State San Bernardino at Cal Baptist (Riverside), 11 a.m. (exhibition)
Roberts Wesleyan at The Master's (Santa Clarita), 11 a.m.
Cal State L.A. at Vanguard (Costa Mesa), 3 p.m. (exhibition)
Azusa Pacific at Cal State Dominguez Hills (Carson), 4:30 p.m. (exhibition)
Concordia vs. Southern Oregon at Concordia-Oregon (Portland), noon
UC Irvine at California (Berkeley), 1 p.m.
Cal Poly at UCLA, North Athletic Field (Westwood), 4 p.m.
Portland at Cal State Northridge, 7 p.m.
Concordia vs. Warner Pacific at Portland Christian High School (Portland, Ore.), 11 a.m.
Brigham Young at Cal State Fullerton, 2 p.m.
Long Beach State at Fresno State, 7 p.m.