The whistle has blown to kick off the 2012 NCAA soccer season and Timbers U-23s players are already making statements in their respective conferences.
With the first month of the season underway, University of Portland junior and Timbers U-23s midfielder Steven Evans earned the West Coast Conference Player of the Month for the month of August. With four goals in three games, Evans leads the WCC in goals and has won both WCC Player of the Week honors (Aug. 27 and Sept. 3).
The Troutdale, Ore., native helped the Pilots to a 2-1-0 record in August. His first two goals of the season came during a 4-0 win at Cal State Fullerton on Aug. 26, earning him his first WCC Player of the Week award.
Evans then scored two more goals – the equalizer and game-winner – to help the Pilots come from behind to defeat CSU Bakersfield, 2-1, at the Nike Portland Invitational at Merlo Field on Aug. 31. With an early season offensive spark, Evans was named the invitational’s offensive MVP and the Pilots were crowned co-champions along with the University of Washington, who features Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
Off to an unbeaten start at 3-0-1, Richey leads the Huskies into a nationally televised match on FOX Soccer against No. 4 UConn in Storrs, Conn., on Friday, Sept. 7. It’s the first of several matches featuring Timbers U-23s players as part of FOX Soccer’s NCAA Game of the Week.
Just down Interstate-5 at Oregon State, Timbers U-23s forward Emery Welshman was one of four other players considered for the Pac-12’s Player of the Week in the opening week of the season.
Moving to the Midwest, Timbers U-23s midfielder Andrew Ribeiro has made the transition to the backline for the No. 3 Creighton Bluejays this season and helped the team to a solid performance in the recent Ameritas Classic, earning Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Ribeiro played the full 90 minutes in both contests, as Creighton drew No. 7 Akron, 1-1, on Aug. 31 and defeated Rutgers 3-0 on Sept. 2. The win and draw extended the Bluejays home-unbeaten streak to 18 matches.
Timbers U-23s forward Erik Hurtado scored the equalizing goal against Duke on Aug. 31, logging his first goal of the 2012 season. With a goal and an assist already this season, Hurtado is tied for the team leading in scoring – a feat he’s accomplished in each of the last two seasons. On Sept. 7, Hurtado and his Broncos teammates will welcome in No. 3 Creighton and will go up against Timbers U-23s teammates Ribeiro and Eric Miller.