SAN FRANCISCO – Two Pac-12 men’s soccer teams appear on the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Men’s National Preseason Coaches Poll. Reigning NCAA Champion STANFORD is ranked No. 1 in the country and is joined by No. 24 WASHINGTON. UW is coming off its fifth postseason appearance in six years.
For the fourth-straight year, a Pac-12 team is ranked No. 1 heading into the season. Stanford holds the No. 1 spot for the third-straight year and UCLA was No. 1 in 2015.
Stanford is ranked No. 1 in the nationally-recognized poll after winning its third-consecutive national championship in 2017. The Cardinal becomes the second team in NCAA history to accomplish a three-peat and looks to become the second-ever team to win four-consecutive titles, Virginia doing so from 1991-1994. Four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year Jeremy Gunn welcomes back first team All-Pac-12 selection Tanner Beason.
Washington comes in at No. 24 in the preseason ranking. The Huskies have a history of excellence, making 24 trips to the postseason, including five under head coach Jamie Clark who is entering his eighth season at the helm. UW made its second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season. The Huskies’ young squad boasts the last two Pac-12 Freshman of the Year recipients in Blake Bodily (2017) and Handwalla Bwana (2016). Both were tabbed first team All-Pac-12 members, as well.
CALIFORNIA (45 votes) and UCLA (32 votes) we’re just out of the top 25 and receiving votes. Cal earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2014, making its 18th overall appearance. The Bruins look to return to the postseason after missing out in 2017 for the first time after a 35-year streak.
Pac-12 men’s soccer action starts Friday, August 24 with three games broadcast on Pac-12 Networks, Oregon State vs. Syracuse, Stanford vs. San Jose State and Washington vs. Maryland. Pac-12 Networks airs 34 games this season, including at least two 2018 NCAA Tournament matches.