Nov. 12, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Six members of the UAB men’s soccer team were named to the 2013 All-Conference USA teams, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday. Four of the six Blazers recognized made their first appearance on the All-Conference USA squads.
Sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz was the team’s lone first-team selection. Redshirt junior midfielder Alex Clay and junior forward Diego Navarrete were second-team honorees, while senior goalkeeper Raphael Ville and junior defender Darion Copeland were selected to the third team. Freshman forward Rami Dajani was named to the conference all-freshmen squad.
Ruiz was the leading scorer in Conference USA after tallying 26 points (11 goals and four assists) during the 2013 regular season. The Fort Payne, Ala. native also ranks 11th in the nation in total goals and 14th in total points. He had a stretch during the season where he scored at least one point in seven straight matches.
Clay finished the regular season with 22 points (eight goals and six assists), good enough for second on the squad, fifth in the conference, and 38th in the country. The redshirt junior midfielder also shared the league’s first Golden Boot Award, given to the league’s leading goal-scorer in conference play. Clay had seven goals in Conference USA action. Earlier in the season, Clay was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Belmont and Kentucky.
Navarrete led the conference in assists during the 2013 regular season, accumulating seven helpers. He also ranks 31st in the nation in assists. The junior forward has six goals on the year, as well. Navarrete was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week following the VCU Nike Classic and matched the UAB record for assists in a single game, recording four against Florida Atlantic.
Ville played nearly every minute in goal for the Blazers the past two seasons. This year, he owned a 1.00 goals against average and .787 save percentage. Ville ranked second in the conference in saves (59) and save percentage for the regular season. He was also a part of a UAB defense that recorded five clean sheets, which ranked fifth in Conference USA.
Copeland has started every match the past three years for the UAB men’s soccer team. One of the team’s two co-captains, Copeland has been UAB’s anchor on its backline. The Blazers held a 1.21 goals against average, which ranked fifth in the league. On the offensive end, Copeland had a goal against South Carolina. The junior defender was named to the All-Conference USA Second Team in 2012.
Dajani was the squad’s lone representative on the All-Freshman Team. The Niles, Ill. native had 10 points in regular season competition on four goals and two assists. The only freshman on the team to play in every match this season, Dajani finished the regular season ranked fifth on the squad in scoring. He had the game-winning goal in the overtime-thriller against Indiana, the 2012 national champions.
UAB is back in action on Wednesday, Nov. 13 in the 2013 Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals in Charlotte, N.C. The Blazers, the third seed in the conference tournament, will take on sixth-seeded Charlotte at 7 p.m. CT at Transamerica Field.
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