After the greatest Warrior campaign thus far in 2012, men's soccer head coach Dana Taylor has announced the signing of seven outstanding players - four incoming freshmen and three transfers - for the 2013 season.
With the departure of five seniors from 2012 team, Taylor feels this incoming class will again make an immediate impact to the program both on and off the field. In 2012 the Warriors capped off an incredible campaign going 12-5-3 and captured the CCAA Championship. The Warriors won their first ever NCAA first round game against Notre Dame De Namur 3-2 before losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament to No. 1 Simon Fraser.
With the Warriors returning a strong squad in 2013, Taylor is confident that this incoming class is among his best in his four years.
"Every single player coming into the program is a special player. Each of them will add quality and competition in every position. They are quick, extremely technical and all play for strong programs," Taylor said.
"I feel our program is continuing to make strides in a positive direction and it truly shows by the quality of player and individuals that we are attracting. I look forward to seeing how these players add to our current team and help move our Stanislaus soccer to even greater accomplishments."
Eric Kaufman: Defender from Prunedale, Calif.
Kaufman is a talented outside defender who mixes a great deal of athleticism with skill. He has been battle tested by playing in the toughest U18 league in the U.S. while as a member of the SCC Breakers Soccer USSDA U18 Academy in Santa Cruz.
"Eric is exactly what we look for in an outside back. He has a great ability to read the game and defend one on one, yet he is calm under pressure when playing out of the back," said Taylor. "We feel over the past few seasons we have become a top college soccer program within the region. It is great to see that we are attracting young players with the pedigree that Eric has."
Kaufman plans to study Nursing at Stanislaus, and when stating his reasons for choosing the Warriors, he said: "I chose Stanislaus because the campus is amazing and they have the major that I really want to study. It also has a small town feel that is similar to where I grew up."
Manuel Villegas: Midfielder from Atwater.
Villegas joins the program from the U17 US Club National Champions Merced Atlas, to follow former teammate Luis Hernandez.
"We have begun a special relationship with Merced Atlas who run an amazing youth development set up and are producing top class players and young men, " remarked Taylor. "Manny is one of those players that when you just watch him on the field of play you are amazed by his work rate, technical ability, and decision-making. He covers the whole field and is always looking to get involved in the play."
Villegas is currently undeclared and chose CSU Stanislaus because, "they have an amazing campus and an even better soccer team. It is close to where I live, so it's perfect. I also see many possibilities for my future at this school."
Gustavo Silva: Defender from San Jose.
Silva is another standout player who comes to CSU Stanislaus from West Valley College. Following in the footsteps of recent great Warriors Miguel Torres and Manny Avila, Gustavo will have an immediate impact in the back-line.
"Gustavo has a great background as a player and he has been on our radar for some time now. Playing his club ball for Santa Clara Sporting and then playing for Gaspar at West Valley, Gustavo has already received great development that will prepare him to jump straight into the CCAA," said Taylor.
Silva was named the defensive player of the year in the conference where West Valley achieved another successful season ending with a 15-5-2 mark.
"Gustavo is a player who is a great all around defender, yet he possesses the special attributes of a 'footballer.' He makes good decisions on the ball and does not panic under pressure," added Taylor.
Silva plans to study Business Administration and when asked why he chose Stanislaus, he said "I chose CSU Stanislaus because of the great Business program as well as having a top Division II college soccer program."
Jose Luis Rodriguez: Forward from Modesto.
Rodriguez is another local player from the Central Valley that fits perfectly into the Warrior program. He was a four-year varsity starter at Johansen High School. At Modesto Junior College, Rodriguez continued his success, helping lead the team to two great seasons.
"Jose-Luis is a very intelligent and skillful player who can play up front or anywhere in the midfield. He is very good at finding space and then from there, his ability to make players miss and find the back of the net is one of the best I have seen," said Taylor
Rodriguez will make an immediate impact in a frontline that will return a very talented group of players who will be very exciting to watch over the next few years. Rodriguez played his club soccer for Modesto Ajax and in 2008 was part of the team that won the US Club National Cup.
"I chose Stanislaus because of the great program they have developed in the past years and the quality facilities they offer," said Rodriguez, who plans on majoring in Kinesiology.
Carlos Navarrete: Defender/midfielder from Modesto.
Navarrete is a great local talent who is making a return back home in the Valley. He is a very mature player who has the ability to fill in a number of positions, according to Taylor. Navarrete played his club soccer with the Mustang Academy in Danville.
"Carlos has had a great soccer background and understands the game very well. He is another player that always wanted to the ball and isn't afraid to play through pressure. He can play in the right back position or in the defensive midfield. He is physically strong and we are always looking for players that have the whole package like Carlos," stated Taylor.
Navarrete plans to study Kinesiology and choose Stanislaus because he wanted to be back in his hometown and "also for the great environment, both academically and athletically, that CSU Stanislaus provides," he said.
William Gomez: Midfielder/forward from Merced.
Gomez is a great talent and exciting player to be coming to CSU Stanislaus in 2013. He also played club soccer for the U18 Merced Atlas Academy, with incoming Manuel Villegas and returner Luis Hernandez.
"Willy is a player I loved since the first time I watched him play. He has a great set of intangibles which include; hard work, vision, and desire. He will be a great spark up front or in the midfield and I believe he has so much potential," said Taylor."
Gomez, who will major in criminal justice, said he chose CSU Stanislaus "for its soccer program and good academics. It is also close to home and I will be playing again with my club teammates."
Jaime Ceja: Defender from San Lorenzo, Calif.
Ceja is a very exciting central defender coming to the Warriors from Arroyo High School, where he played with current CSU Stanislaus and CCAA conference championship MVP, Carlos Gavino.
"Jaime is going to be a great defender for the Warriors for many years to come. Jaime has great size and yet he is extremely agile back. What sets Jaime apart is he is very calm on the ball! Jaime will be a great addition and should make an immediate impact in our squad," said Taylor.
Ceja plans to study criminal justice and is looking forward to the opportunity: "I want to attend CSU Stanislaus because of the opportunities it has for me as well as it being a chance for me to start a new chapter in life. Also I have family in the area which will make it a smooth transition."