HAYWARD, Calif. - Cal State East Bay men's soccer head coach Andy Cumbo announced Thursday that five freshmen have accepted athletic scholarship offers for the 2009 season. Josh Alvarez, Tyler Andersen, Alex Dickerson, Ryan Herriage and Andy Pauley are set to join the Pioneers for their first season in Division II competition. The group has found success at both the club and high school levels, bringing plenty of experience to a team that is looking to start fresh in 2009.
"These five young men should make a solid contribution to our success this fall and throughout their college careers," Cumbo said. "I am excited that they are joining us and looking forward to their efforts in helping us rebuild."
Hailing from Temecula, Calif., midfielder Josh Alvarez has helped guide Arsenal FC to a Cal South State Cup championship and back-to-back Presidio Premier League titles in the last two years. Along with fellow signees Herriage and Pauley, Alvarez led Arsenal's Under-19 squad to the top of the Presidio League, which boasts 50 member clubs and is recognized as one of the top leagues in Southern California. Over the last four years, Alvarez has played a role in Arsenal's six tournament championships and seven finals appearances. Alvarez graduated from Chaparral High School in Temecula this spring.
"Josh is a very creative and effective playmaker," Cumbo said. "He is very strong on the ball and will battle well with the other midfielders in the [conference]."
A two-year varsity letterwinner out of University High School in Irvine, Calif., Tyler Andersen is a 5-10 midfielder and two-time All-Pacific Coast League selection. Andersen started at right back as a freshman, earning the team's Defensive Player of the Year award and guiding the squad to its first league title in 12 years. As a seven-year member of Irvine Strikers, Andersen guided his squad to a league title in 2004 and the 2006 US Club Soccer National and Regional titles. Andersen also participated in the US Soccer Development Academy with Pateadores RMO team in 2008. The spring 2009 graduate was on the Principal's Honor Roll at University and is an AYSO assistant coach.
"Tyler is a very good player on the flank," Cumbo said. "He has experience all over the field, particularly as an outside back and outside midfielder. He is skilled and effective and should help us be dynamic as we go forward."
Boulder, Colo., native Alex Dickerson comes to Cal State East Bay from Fairview High School in Boulder where he was a three-year starter. At Fairview, Dickerson guided the Knights to the state quarterfinals as a senior. The 6-3 midfielder and defender played his club soccer with Boulder County Force where he served as captain in 2006. Dickerson helped the Force go undefeated and claim the title in the Elite II Division in 2009, its second straight division championship. With his help, the Force also made back-to-back State Cup quarterfinals appearances in 2007 and 2008 and captured the 2009 Rocky Mountain Cup. Dickerson led the squad in scoring and assists in 2007, the same year the Force traveled to Finland for the Helsinki Cup. Also an Olympic Development Program pool selection, Dickerson was a three-time member of Fairview's Honor Roll and volunteered with the Community Cares Program.
"Alex has great skill and ball control for his size," Cumbo said. "He is a versatile player who has the ability to contribute in many spots."
A versatile defender hailing from Temecula, Calif., Ryan Herriage joins the Pioneers after spending two years on the varsity squad at Chaparral High School. During his tenure with the Trojans, Herriage helped lead them to back-to-back CIF playoff berths, a league title and a CIF quarterfinals appearance. Herriage began his club career with the TMSC Hawks before joining Southwest Soccer Club, where he helped take the squad to the Presidio League and State Cup championships. Most recently he played his club soccer alongside Pauley and Alvarez at Arsenal FC, capturing the Presidio Premier League title in 2008. Herriage also lettered for the CIF finalist football team and competed on the tennis and lacrosse teams at Chaparral.
"Ryan is an effective outside back who does well as a defender as well as going forward," Cumbo said. "He should help us on both sides of the ball."
Also out of Temecula, defender Andy Pauley was a three-time MVP for Temecula Valley High, spending two years as captain. Pauley was the first junior to ever be named captain for the Bears and earned all-league honors three times, including two first team selections. Pauley joined Herriage on the TMSC Hawks and Southwest Soccer Club before arriving at Arsenal FC where he captained the Gunners for two years, helping guide the squad to two Presidio Premier League titles and the 2008 Cal South State Cup championship.
"Andy is a very tough and physical center-back," Cumbo said. "He has a lot of experience in the back and should help us be organized."
The quintent of signees should be able to contribute immediately in Cumbo's first season at the helm. A tough schedule in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) will provide a good challenge for the incoming class, as well as the returning players in 2009.
"They are all well rounded student-athletes who will be successful both on and off the field here at CSUEB," Cumbo said. "We are excited to work with this group combined with other key returning and new players as we move forward into the CCAA."
The Pioneer men's soccer team kicks off its season with a home exhibition against Biola University on Aug. 24 before the regular-season opener on Aug. 27 against William Jessup.