Notebook: U-23s alumni Kawulok, Richards wrap up college careers

Numerous Timbers U-23s players pick up collegiate honors

Ryan Kawulok, U-23s

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Miranda Chrislock

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers U-23s alumni Ryan Kawulok (above) and Brent Richards have closed the books on their collegiate careers. While hopes of a storybook ending in the NCAA tournament didn’t come to be, their senior seasons in 2011 were filled with achievements and capped notable careers at their respective universities.

A stalwart on the Timbers U-23s backline for the past two PDL seasons, Kawulok turned in another solid season this fall for the University of Portland Pilots. He started all 20 games and added two goals and two assists to lead the Pilots to a third-place finish in the West Coast Conference. For his efforts, Kawulok was named the WCC Defender of the Year, becoming just the second UP player in the school’s notable soccer history to land the league’s defensive player of the year award.

Kawulok started all 82 games during his collegiate career, scoring 10 goals, with the Pilots and received all-conference honors all four seasons, including All-WCC first-team selections in 2010 and 2011. Over the last two seasons with the Timbers U-23s, Kawulok has earned consecutive PDL All-Western Conference honors (2010-11) and led the team to its first PDL championship in 2010.

Richards was the University of Washington’s leading scoring for a fourth straight season. As a captain, he guided the Huskies to second place in the Pac-12 and to the brink of a national ranking in 2011. Washington finished only behind College Cup finalist UCLA in the conference standings.

With 10 goals and five assists in 18 games as a senior, Richards ranked among the nation’s top scorers in several categories, including 29th in points per game (1.39), tied for 31st in goals per game (0.56) and tied for 37th in points (25). Richards ranks among the UW’s career leaders in goals (31) and points (77).

The awards and accolades rolled in for Richards in 2011 and he leaves Washington as one of the school’s most decorated student-athletes in men’s soccer, both on and off the field. Among his many accomplishments just this season, Richards was a All-Pac-12 first-team selection, named to the NSCAA All-Far West First Team, became just the second Husky to be tabbed a first-team Capital One Academic All-American and crowned the 2012 Pac-12 Men’s Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Richards, a two-time PDL All-Western Conference selection for the Timbers U-23s and the PDL’s MVP in 2010, was recently listed by MLSsoccer.com as one of several prospects to keep an eye on as the 2012 MLS SuperDraft approaches.

Two Timbers U-23s compete in the 2011 NCAA Tournament
Two Timbers U-23s players from the 2011 squad competed in the recent NCAA tournament, which crowned North Carolina as the 2011 College Cup champions. Timbers U-23s midfielder Nick Palodichuk and defender Reed Matte were integral members of the respective tournament runs made by Duke and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

After an appearance in the ACC Tournament semifinals, the Duke Blue Devils reached the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2011. Palodichuk was certainly a contributor towards the team’s successes in his first collegiate season. An All-ACC second-team honoree, Palodichuk started all 21 games and led all ACC freshmen in scoring with 22 points from eight goals and six assists. His 22 points ranked fourth among all Division I freshman. He was named to the 2011 College Soccer News All-Freshman Team and was the only freshman to earn a spot on an All-ACC team.

Down south, Matte turned in a stellar junior season for UAB, as the Blazers earned a No. 11 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and reached the second round before falling to College Cup finalist Charlotte. Matte, who played his first season for the Timbers U-23s over the summer, was one of four Blazers to start all 21 games and he led the team in minutes played (1,941). His two goals this season were both game-winners. Matte earned his first all-conference selection in 2011, being named to the All-Conference USA Second Team.

Timbers U-23s gather all-conference honors

In total, 11 members of the Timbers U-23s’ 2011 roster garnered college all-conference honors this season. Timbers U-23s players peppered the All-WCC teams with four overall selections, including first-team nods for  Kawulok, midfielder Steven Evans (Portland) and forward Erik Hurtado (Santa Clara).

Despite missing the first five matches of the season due to injury, Evans tallied six goals in 2011 finishing tied for the WCC lead in goals scored with Hurtado and Pilots teammate Michael Nielsen (who played for the Timbers U-23s in 2010). The Portland, Ore., native also led the Pilots in scoring with 17 points as a sophomore. In addition to all-conference honors, Evans was named to the NCAA All-Far West Team third team.

Hurtado finished his junior season at Santa Clara University and in addition to sharing the conference lead in goals, he also led the WCC in points (19) and assists (7). From Beaverton, Ore., Hurtado received his second consecutive All-WCC first-team honors in 2011 and was selected to the NCAA All-Far West Second Team. He’s projected to be one of the nation’s top forwards entering his senior season for the Broncos in 2012.

In addition, Timbers U-23s defender Dylan Tucker (Washington), midfielder Roberto Farfan (Oregon State) and forward Mile Byass (San Diego State) were all named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team; it was the first all-conference honors for both Byass and Farfan.

Midfielder Ricardo Carrillo received All-WCC honorable mention for the Pilots, while goalkeeper Keegan Rogers was an All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) honorable mention following his freshman season at Western Washington University.