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Cal Men’s Soccer Looks to Make Statement Against Fullerton in Preseason Exhibition

Bears begin season with Aug. 13 exhibition at Big West’s Cal State Fullerton

Cal goalkeeper Drake Callender defends his goal in a soccer match.
Goalkeeper Drake Callender was named to the 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List this preseason.
Cal Athletics

With the regular season opener against Detroit Mercy just two weeks away (Aug. 24), the Cal Men’s Soccer team is looking to build on last season’s NCAA Tournament appearance which ended in a 1-2 first round defeat to the Dons of San Francisco.

Cal Forward Sam Ebstein and his fellow Bears began practice Wednesday (Aug. 8) ahead of their Aug. 13 exhibition against Cal State Fullerton. The preseason match in Fullerton, Calif., will be the first test for many players on the roster, as Coach Kevin Grimes welcomes eight true freshmen and four redshirt freshmen this upcoming season—many who are expected to contribute immediately.

“We had to work really hard to get to where we are,” Ebstein said in a prepared statement. “I think that mentality has kept going this year, and I think we will do even better this year.”

Ebstein, a senior originally from San Francisco, was an honorable mention in last season’s All-Pac 12 list. He notched the assist for the Bears in the NCAA Tournament match.

Freshmen to keep an eye on include Defender JJ Foe Nuphaus, who plays as a midfielder for the U.S. under-19 National Team, and Midfielder Christian Gomez, who recently represented El Salvador on its under-17 National Team in the Central America (UNCAF) championships and CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches.

The Men’s Soccer team enters the preseason “ranked No. 26” after receiving 45 votes in Tuesday’s (Aug. 7) United Soccer Coaches poll.

Cal fans will be able to catch many home-games at Edwards Stadium this season. The Bears are scheduled to play 12 games at home including a second preseason exhibition (against St. Mary’s on Aug. 18) and 11 (out of 18) regular season matches.

With so many home games this season, do you plan to cheer on your Bears at Edwards?