PASADENA — Saul Uribe was named the 2016 SCIAC Men's Soccer Athlete of the Year and a total of six Leopards were selected to All-SCIAC teams as voted by the league's head coaches, the conference announced on Tuesday. In addition, La Verne's coaching staff led by head coach Trevor Persson was named the Coaching Staff of the Year.
Uribe, by virtue of being named the Athlete of the Year, landed on the First Team along with Justin Funes, Nathan Gonzalez and Anton Russell. Ferdinand Estrada and Briley Venti were selected to the Second Team. La Verne's six selections is the most of any schools in the SCIAC.
Uribe, always known for his work rate, found his shooting touch this year and scored a total of 12 goals--four of them game winners--in 18 matches this season. He scored 10 goals and dished out an assist in SCIAC play.
Funes was a menace down the right side and up top all season. He notched a total of 13 points on five goals and three assists, all of which came in SCIAC action. He posted a .650 shots-on-goal percentage.
Gonzelez, who was arguably the best striker in the SCIAC the previous two years, was swarmed by opposing defenders all season long and still managed to tally 13 points on five goals and three assists. Despite not matching his numbers from previous years, his presence on the field freed up Uribe and Funes to have career years.
The de facto leader of La Verne's defense, Russell has been as reliable as they come in the back line and contributed to La Verne's seven clean sheets this season.
Estrada pitched in for the clean sheets as the right back and chipped in offensively as well. He showed the ability to go forward and put in good crosses, took some free kicks and recorded a career-high three assists.
Venti, La Verne's pivot man in the middle, did a little bit of everything; he scored goals, dished out assists and broke up plays in front of the back line. He finished the season with four goals and two assists.
Persson, along with his assistants Samadhi Fisher, Erik LeVay and Ian Trantow, led the Leopards to a second place finish (14-5-1, 11-4-1 SCIAC) and a berth to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the second year in a row. The Leopards hosted the first round of the tournament for the first time ever.