Eagles News
Men's Soccer - Tue, Dec. 11, 2012
The Eagles Advanced to the final eight in Alabama in 2012
The Eagles Advanced to the final eight in Alabama in 2012
 

In Concordia head coach Chris Gould's fourth season his men's soccer team took the proverbial leap.  They went 19-3-1, tying the 2007 team's win record.  The men went 9-1 in the GSAC, setting a new school mark.  The Eagles were untouchable at home, 12-0, and celebrated their third GSAC Regular-Season Championship, first GSAC Tournament Championship, and an Opening Round win at Eagles Field.  Christian Ramirez and William Prado left a program they pushed to new heights offensively in just two seasons.  They advanced to the NAIA Tournament for the first time since 2008 and moved out of the opening round for the first time since 2007.

 

Coach Gould, the GSAC Coach of the Year, ran his men through the gauntlet in 2012, mainly because he knew they could handle it and win the tough games.  Where the Eagles came one game short of a GSAC Regular-Season and Tournament Championship in 2011, they got their redemption a year later. 

"We took two big games last year and let them slip away, and that really motivated our guys this year," coach Chris Gould said.  "There was a sense of urgency in this group that they had something to prove.  The momentum we carried all year was a testament to our depth."

It was their first GSAC Regular-Season championship since 2006, third overall, and first Tournament Championship in school history.  The Eagles advanced to the NAIA National Championship for the first time since 2008 and advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007.  The Eagles were ranked in the top-10 for 11 straight weeks.  Gould is the second Concordia coach to earn the coach of the year honor, joining Don Ebert in 2006.

The men started their season with games against NCAA DII opponents Grand Canyon and Cal Poly Pomona.  They defeated CCP and turned around to dominate #15 Kansas Wesleyan 4-1 at home in front of a large preseason crowd.  After a tie against Concordia (OR) in Portland, the Eagles rattled off ten straight wins.  Following their lone GSAC loss to Biola, the Eagles wrapped up the GSAC Regular Season with a 1-0 win over The Master's at home on October 24th.  CU won the GSAC Tournament Championship with back-to-back shutouts against Hope International and (RV) San Diego Christian at home on November 3 and 10.

On November 17, Concordia hosted Our Lady of the Lake in the NAIA Opening Round game in front of a raucous soccer crowd at Eagles Field.  CU pitched their fifth straight shutout in a 1-0 win.  Concordia traveled to Montgomery, AL to join 16 other teams in the NAIA Tournament.  Concordia made their fifth appearance in the National Tournament and are now 5-4-1 all-time.  They entered as the #3 seed and defeated #14 Ashford (IA), 4-0, on November 26th at Emory Folmar Soccer Complex in the second round.

The Eagles season came to an end on November 28th in a 3-2 loss to #11 Mobile (AL) in the NAIA Quarterfinals.  William Prado was selected to the NAIA All-Tournament team for his two goals in the tournament.  Mobile went on to lose in the NAIA National Championship to Belhaven.  Concordia finished the season ranked sixth.  The Eagles were ranked in the top-10 for 11 straight weeks.

Concordia, the 2012 GSAC Regular Season and Tournament Champions, were the lone GSAC representative in the 2012 NAIA Tournament.  CU was first in the NAIA in shutouts (12), fourth in assists (68), sixth in assists per game (2.96), sixth in goals (76), and 12th in goals per game (3.3).  They led the GSAC in goals/game, assists/game, shots/game (17.75), shots on goal/game (8.9), and goals allowed/game (.70).

Entering the season Concordia had nine men who had been selected NAIA All-American in the past.  In 2012 they added three names to that list.  Christian Ramirez was selected First Team All-American at forward, Julio Trejo earned Second Team All-American at goalkeeper, Omar De La Piedra was a Third Team All-American at defender, and William Prado was Honorable Mention All-American at midfielder, his second such award in two seasons.

Ramirez, the 2012 GSAC Player of the Year, leaves CU as arguably the most potent goal scorer in history, even though he only spent two seasons in Irvine.  Ramirez, a two-time All-GSAC choice from Garden Grove, CA, was fifth in the country in goals (23), eighth in points (52), 13th in goals per game (1), 20th in points per game (2.26), and 47th in shots on goal per game (1.96).  He led the GSAC in points/game, points by 16, goals by 10, and was the only GSAC player to average more than a goal per game.  He set the single-season school record with his 23 goals in 2012.  In just two seasons, his 41 goals rank second all-time and his 100 points rank third.  He leaves CU as one of the most dominant offensive players in history, is the first GSAC Player of the Year from Concordia since Jeff Clark in 2006, and one only wonders what numbers Ramirez would have put up in four years at the school.

"These two years meant a tremendous amount to me, because before I came here I was tempted to just give up soccer and just go to school," Ramirez said.  "I want to thank the coaching staff and my teammates for trusting in me to lead.  We accomplished so much this year, it really was a special year.  We grew a lot in two years and proved to everyone this year that we were hungry, and we won the GSAC Championships and made a deep run into Nationals."

Prado, a two-time All-GSAC selection and 2011 NAIA All-American from Anaheim, CA, was 12th in the country in assists (12), 33rd in assists per game (.52), and 37th in points (36).  He led the GSAC in assists, assists per game, was second in points, fourth in points/game, third in goals (12), and sixth in goals/game (.62).  He broke the school's career assists record in just two seasons with 30.  He ranks fifth in goals with 20.  Prado ranks fifth in points with 70.  Prado leaves as the best distributor in school history.

"I had a great time and great teams both years I was here," Prado said.  "I couldn't have done it without the guys and a great coaching staff.  We didn't want to repeat last year, so this year we stuck together and pulled through in the big games.  We won both GSAC Championships and it felt good to do that."

De La Piedra, a junior from Los Angeles, earned All-GSAC honors in his first year at CU.  He led a defense that pitched 12 shutouts, best in the nation.  He showcased his offensive ability as well, scoring two goals.

Trejo, a junior goalkeeper from Garden Grove, earned the All-GSAC nod in his first season between the posts for CU.  He finished fourth in the nation allowing only .71 goals per game.  He was the only GSAC goalkeeper to allow less than one goal per game and had 55 saves.  He posted eight individual shutouts and was part of four team shutouts.  He finished with a mark of 18-2-1.

There is no doubt the 2012 Eagles were talented, that was on display every week, and most teams chose to play defense and hope to sneak a counter attack goal against the Eagles.  Concordia hung in tough every game and did what successful teams do, find a way to win.  Not enough can be said about coach Gould and his staff's ability to adapt mid-game.  Many a time the Eagles struggled to find a first half goal against their defensively oriented opponents.  The CU staff took what they saw in the first half, made adjustments, and Concordia always responded positively in the second stanza.  Coach Gould had his program on the national stage the last few seasons, but in 2012 the finish in Montgomery showed the NAIA where the men's soccer power lays out West.

 

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