Four Blazers Named Preseason All-C-USA

UABSPORTS.COM Junior forward Freddy Ruiz was named the 2014 Preseason Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year.
UABSPORTS.COM
Junior forward Freddy Ruiz was named the 2014 Preseason Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year.
UABSPORTS.COM
Aug. 6, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Four members of the UAB men’s soccer team were named to the 2014 Preseason All-Conference USA Team and junior forward Freddy Ruiz was named the 2014 Preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday. UAB led the nine-team conference with four selections on the preseason all-conference team.

Ruiz was joined on the Preseason All-Conference USA Team by redshirt senior midfielder Alex Clay, senior defender Darion Copeland, and senior forward Diego Navarrete. All four players earned All-Conference USA accolades following the 2013 season.

The UAB men’s soccer team was selected to finish in third place in the 2014 Preseason Conference USA Poll. UAB was one of three teams to earn a first-place vote.

New Mexico was named the preseason favorite in the vote by the league coaches. 2013 Conference USA Tournament champions Charlotte was selected to finish in second. Old Dominion and South Carolina round out the top five, respectively.

Ruiz, a First-Team All-C-USA selection in 2013, led the team in scoring last season, accumulating 26 points on 11 goals and four assists. The Fort Payne, Ala. native ranked second in Conference USA in game-winning goals scored (4), goals scored (11), goals per game (0.61), and points per game (1.44). He was one of four Blazers to earn 2013 NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men’s All-Midwest Region honors, as well.

Clay earned the inaugural Conference USA Golden Boot Award in 2013 after scoring a league-high seven goals in conference play. The Huntsville, Ala. native was second on the team in scoring, tallying 22 points on eight goals and six assists. Clay joined Ruiz on the 2013 All-Midwest Region Team and was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week following a five-point week against Belmont and Kentucky last season.

For the second straight season, Copeland was tabbed to the preseason all-conference team. The Stockbridge, Ga. native has started all but one contest in the UAB backline since arriving on campus in 2011. Copeland has received his fair share of accolades heading into his final season in Birmingham, a three-time All-Conference USA honoree and two-time All-Midwest Region Team member.

Navarrete completes the UAB quartet to garner preseason accolades from Conference USA. The Santiago, Chile native was third on the team in scoring last season, scoring 19 points on six goals and seven assists. Navarrete matched the program record with four assists against Florida Atlantic on Oct. 6, 2013. The senior forward won the first Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week last year after a seven-point effort at the VCU Nike Classic.

The UAB men’s soccer team opens the 2014 season against Memphis on Friday, Aug. 29. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. at West Campus Field.

2014 Preseason Conference USA Poll (First-place votes)
1. New Mexico (7)
2. Charlotte (1)
3. UAB (1)
4. Old Dominion
5. South Carolina
6. Kentucky
7. FIU
8. Marshall
9. Florida Atlantic

2014 Preseason Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year
Freddy Ruiz, F, UAB

2014 Preseason Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year
Mahamoudou Kaba, D, South Carolina

2014 Preseason All-Conference USA Team
Quentin Albrecht, F, FIU
Alex Clay, M, UAB
Darion Copeland, D, UAB
Matthew Gibbons, D, New Mexico
Callum Irving, GK, Kentucky
Mahamoudou Kaba, D, South Carolina
Ben McKendry, M, New Mexico
Diego Navarrete, F, UAB
Kyle Parker, F, Charlotte
Freddy Ruiz, F, UAB
Braeden Troyer, D, South Carolina

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