Aug. 10, 2012
Quick Facts | Coach Roberts Video Interview | Photo Gallery
BOSTON - Entering his 28th season at the helm of the Boston University men's soccer team, reigning America East Coach of the Year Neil Roberts welcomed nine newcomers and 19 returnees, as the Terriers opened fall practice earlier this week.
BU is looking to build off last year's 9-9-0 season in which the team claimed the program's 11th conference regular season title and earned three victories over in-state rivals along with a win over No. 22 Providence.
One person excited to return to the field is three-time America East All-Conference First Team honoree Michael Bustamante, who had to redshirt the 2011 season due to injury. Previously named conference Midfielder and Rookie of the Year, he was selected to last year's MAC Hermann Award watch list before having to redshirt. He currently ranks 11th all-time at BU with 11 assists.
Two of this year's newcomers are transfers who are eligible to play immediately. A native of Reykjavik, Iceland, Fannar Arnarsson joins the Terriers from UNC Greensboro. Serving as a midfielder, he played and started in 33 contests over two years. As a freshman, he earned All-Southern Conference Second Team and All-Freshman honors. The following year, he picked up All-SoCon Tournament accolades after scoring the game-winning goal in the semifinals.
Prolific scorer Ali Sozeri competed for two seasons at nearby Lesley University over in Cambridge and will now bring his talents to BU. This past season, he was tabbed NECC Tournament MVP after posting a hat trick in Lesley's title game victory. A native of Istanbul, Turkey, he finished with a staggering 19 goals and 39 points to rank eighth in the nation after recording seven and 18, respectively, as a freshman.
The seven freshman class consists of three forwards, two goalkeepers, a midfielder and a defender.
Taking the shortest journey to campus is forward Carlos Ruiz, a 5-foot-8 forward standout from East Boston H.S. Earning NSCAA All-Region honors, Ruiz led the state with 37 goals and 58 points. Leading his team to the city championship semifinals, he also received both Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic accolades.
A 6-foot-1 striker from Rye Brook, N.Y., Lucas McBride had a standout senior season, leading Blind Brook H.S. to the Section I championship. Named Section I Player of the Year and MVP of his league, he finished with 23 goals and scored or assisted on 10 of the Trojans' 11 postseason goals.
McBride and Ruiz will be joined upfront by 5-foot-11 Bino Cerqueira (Stirling, N.J.), who served as captain of his freshman and JV teams while at Seton Hall Prep and was previously a member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy at the U-15/16 Division.
Helping mind the nets will be 6-foot-4 Matt Gilbert and 5-foot-9 Alexander Bello. A native of Madison, N.J., Gilbert is a three-time All-County First Team honoree at Madison H.S. In his final year, he earned All-State accolades after recording 121 saves on 134 shots for a .903 save percentage. Besides posting 10 shutouts, he added two assists and a goal from 40 yards out on a free kick attempt.
Born in New Jersey but attending high school in Madrid, Spain, Bello was a member of the U.S. U14 and 15 national teams. He also trained with the U17 team in Spain and with U17/U18 Atletico de Madrid. Previously named the Best Goalkeeper at the Sitges Cup in Barcelona, he helped his club team win the Disney Cup in Florida as a freshman and also took third as a junior at the Disney Showcase as a junior.
For the fifth straight year, Terrier fans will have the opportunity to see a player from Trinidad don the scarlet and white uniform. Following the graduation of 2011 America East First Team All-Conference honoree Stephen Knox, Jeroen Blugh will join BU's midfield. Standing 6-foot-2, he was a two-time team captain at Queen's Royal College and was named his league's top defensive player with the Clayton Morris Award.
Born in Nigeria, Dennis Ejorh Jr. attended Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet H.S. in Nashville, Tenn. A three-year starter, he helped the Brentwood Soccer Club place fourth in the state tournament and won the 2010 Atlanta Cup championship.
The Terriers will compete in two exhibition games before opening the regular season at Big East power St. John's on Aug. 24. BU will visit Army on Saturday, Aug. 18 and then host Merrimack on Monday, Aug. 20.