Aug. 19, 2009
C-USA Men's Soccer Preseason Awards Announced
IRVING, Texas – Tulsa junior forward Ashley McInnes and Kentucky senior defender Barry Rice were named the Preseason Conference USA Men’s Soccer Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, in a vote by the nine C-USA head coaches.
McInnes, the 2008 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year, led the Golden Hurricane to back-to-back league championships last season and has been named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List entering 2009. The junior is joined on the preseason squad by teammates and returning all-conference selections Austin Neil, Joe Salem and Chris Taylor. Neil was honored as the 2008 C-USA Freshman of the Year, while Salem and Talyor were both All-Conference USA first-team selections.
Rice, the league’s first two-time Defensive Player of the Year winner and repeat Hermann Trophy watch list member, was also a second-team All-America selection in 2008. The senior played and started 21 games in 2008, notching two goals and one assist, while leading the club with 33 shots. Fellow Wildcat Jason Griffiths was also a preseason selection after garnering first-team all-conference honors in 2008.
SMU and South Carolina both placed multiple selections on the preseason all-conference squad as senior forward Paulo da Silva and junior Leone Cruz represent the Mustangs on the list. Da Silva led SMU with seven goals, while playing in 12 games. Cruz was a stalwart on the Mustang defense, playing in all 16 games and he added three goals.
The Gamecocks were represented by junior goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and junior forward Sam Arthur. Maurer paced the Carolina defense during the 2008 campaign, collecting a 0.80 goals against average and nine shutouts. The all-conference selection from 2008 is also listed on the 2009 Hermann Trophy Watch List. Arthur was a 2008 first-team all-conference honoree after leading the league in goals (12) and points (27).
UAB’s Two-Boys Gumede and UCF’s Kevan George round out the 12-member preseason team. Gumede, another Hermann Trophy Watch List member, was named first-team all-conference last season after recording five goals and 15 points for the Blazers. George was an all-conference first-team and All-Freshman Team member in 2008, the lone freshman voted first-team all-conference.
The top four teams at the conclusion of the regular season earn a spot in the 2009 Conference USA Championship November 13-16 hosted by the regular season champion. The league's 15th season kicks off Tuesday, September 1.
2009 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM
Jason Griffiths, Sr., MF, Kentucky
Barry Rice, Sr., D, Kentucky – PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Sam Arthur, Jr., F, South Carolina
Jimmy Maurer, Jr., GK, South Carolina
Leone Cruz, Jr, D, SMU
Paul da Silva, Sr., F, SMU
Ashley McInnes, Jr., F, Tulsa – PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Austin Neil, So., F, Tulsa
Joe Salem, Sr., MF, Tulsa
Chris Taylor, Jr., D, Tulsa
Two-Boys Gumede, Sr., MF, UAB
Kevan George, So., MF, UCF