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Everything You Need To Know About the 2022 UCF Men’s Soccer Team

The Knights want to re-take the AAC crown in a transitional year

UCF Knights Men’s Soccer falls to USF 4-3 in Overtime. Wednesday, 10/27/2021 Photo: Noah Goldberg

The UCF Knights’ Men’s Soccer team is about to enter the most interesting transitional period of any UCF team. Unlike the rest of UCF’s sports, they’re not going to the Big 12 in 2023, since the conference doesn’t sponsor men’s soccer. Instead, they’re going to the Sun Belt alongside fellow Big 12 school West Virginia and the SEC’s Kentucky and South Carolina.

In the meantime, the Knights embark on their final campaign in The American facing a re-tooled league, which added four teams from Conference USA — two of which made the NCAA Tournament last year, and one other was one win away.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Last Season

9-8 (6-4 AAC), 2nd place in The American

Postseason: Lost in AAC Championship to Tulsa 2-1, Missed NCAA Tournament

UCF had its three-year conference regular season championship streak snapped but still finished second in a fall season that came immediately after an abbreviated off-season following a COVID-delayed spring 2021 campaign that saw UCF win the double in the AAC.

Seven wins over an eight-game stretch — including a 3-2 victory over No. 6 Tulsa at home — put the Knights at 8-4 and 6-1 in the league with just three matches left in the regular season.

But then they lost all three to USF, SMU, and Tulsa, which meant they had to win The American Tournament to get to the NCAAs.

Still, they came within one goal of pulling it off, falling to Tulsa 2-1 on a late goal. Their NCAA bubble burst with a final RPI of 58.

This Season

Picked 2nd in The American’s preseason coaches poll

Yes, the conference looks a lot different this year — more on that in a second.

Tulsa was in the top ten last year and was the unanimous pick to win according to the league’s coaches (you’re not allowed to vote for yourself, hence the one vote for FIU).

Right on UCF’s heels are two newcomers from C-USA, Charlotte and FIU. The Panthers were last year’s regular season champs in C-USA. It’s possible that at least three and maybe as many as five teams could get into the NCAAs from this year’s AAC.

Who’s in Charge

Scott Calabrese — 6th season at UCF

Scott Calabrese celebrating the 2018 AAC Regular Season Championship
Photo: Derek Warden

Under Scott Calabrese, UCF has never finished lower than second in The American and has never failed to reach the AAC Tournament Final.

Yet, the heartbreak has been real. They have only won that tournament once, with three of those losses coming to SMU, and two of them in overtime or PKs. The heartbreak is real, which is what made Spring 2021’s double so sweet.

Calabrese is just five wins from tying Bryan Cunningham for third-most all-time by a UCF head coach.

Scott Calabrese’s UCF Career

Year Overall Conference AAC Reg. Season AAC Tournament NCAA Tournament
Year Overall Conference AAC Reg. Season AAC Tournament NCAA Tournament
2017 8-6-2 4-2-1 2nd Lost AAC Final in OT (SMU) -
2018 13-3-3 5-1-1 1st Lost AAC Final in PKs (SMU) Bye/Lost 2nd Round in OT (Lipscomb)
2019 15-3-2 6-0-1 1st Lost AAC Final (SMU) Bye/Lost 3rd Round in OT (at SMU)
2020* 9-4-1 7-3 1st Won AAC Tournament Bye/Lost Sweet 16 (Pitt)
2021 9-8 6-4 2nd Lost AAC Final (Tulsa) -
2022 6-7 3-6 8th - -
Total 60-31-8 31-16-3 3 Titles 1 Title 3 Appearances

Listen to our preview podcast with Coach Calabrese here:

What to Watch for

Meet the new guys

With the dissolution of Conference USA’s sponsorship of Men’s Soccer, The American added three future full members of the conference as Men’s Soccer-only affiliates a year early: Charlotte, FAU, and UAB. FIU joined the trio and will remain a Men’s Soccer-only member for the foreseeable future.

The Panthers won the C-USA last season but still earned a 13-seed in the NCAAs. Charlotte also made the NCAAs but lost in the first round. FAU got to the C-USA Championship but lost to Kentucky in OT. Had they won, they may have stolen Charlotte’s bid. UAB was just bad.

But either way, the AAC added three RPI Top-100 teams, making it eight of the ten total schools. The schedule also had to be adjusted, with the conference going from playing home-and-homes to one match against each team.

Who’s manning the net?

UCF spent much of last season figuring out who would take the place of Yannik Oettl, who was a goalkeeper extraordinaire for four seasons.

Redshirt junior Matt Douglass, who filled in for Oettl for a pair of matches in the spring of 2021, started the season in the net but gave up 10 goals in five games. He gave way to redshirt freshman Tyler Lavigne who saw the most action, winning seven of his ten starts and posting a 1.93 GAA. But he gave way to redshirt sophomore Bernardo Brandao from Brazil, who started the final three matches — against Tulsa twice and Memphis — and gave up four total goals while nearly backstopping UCF to the NCAAs.

Lavigne and Douglass are back, but joining them are freshmen Luciano Natoli from Miami and Juanvi Munoz from Spain.

Who to Watch

A trio of returning Knights, F Lucca Dourado, F Gino Vivi, and D Anderson Rosa, were selected to the AAC Preseason All-Conference team, tied with FIU for the second-most selections behind Tulsa. Dourado was the only non-Tulsa player that was selected to the team unanimously.

#9 Lucca Dourado - Forward

Noah Goldberg

The Brazilian is back with a new number (he was #22 in 2021) after a sophomore season that saw him unanimously selected First Team All-AAC with 13 goals, tied for 10th-most in the nation.

He also played 300 fewer minutes than fellow forward Gino Vivi, who was second on the team in goals with seven.

Dourado has been listed a “player to watch” by the United Soccer Coaches organization.

#7 Gino Vivi - Forward

Noah Goldberg

Speaking of Vivi, the native of Costa Rica said in a tweet back in early August that the 2022 season would be his last as a Knight, although Calabrese did verify on the Black and Gold Banneret podcast that he does have an extra year of eligibility if he wishes to use it.

Vivi scored seven goals and notched six assists last season en route to Second Team All-AAC honors

He was also named as a “player to watch” by the United Soccer Coaches, though he was put on the midfielder list, despite being listed on the roster as a forward alongside Dourado.

#6 Anderson Rosa - Defender

While the starting goalkeeper role changed hands last season, Rosa remained a steadfast presence on the backline, clocking in the most minutes of any player on the team with 1,532. He also scored one goal and notched four assists, and was selected as Second Team All-AAC last year.

With the goalkeeping situation potentially still in flux, Rosa’s newly-retooled backline will be vital to the Knights’ defensive efforts this season.

#10 Mauricio Villalobos - Midfielder

While not selected to the preseason all-conference team like the trio above, the Costa Rica native is a pillar of leadership for the team.

Villalobos has been a captain for the team in the last two seasons and is slated to take the role again this season.

“I think what has been exciting is that he has leveled up as a leader,” Calabrese said after the team’s scrimmage against Jacksonville. “When you’re a leader, you need people to follow behind you, and he’s got that as well.”

On the pitch, Villalobos scored two goals and notched five assists last season en route to Second Team All-AAC honors.

Who We’ll Miss

Nick Taylor - Forward/Midfielder

The SMU transfer only spent his final year of collegiate eligibility as a Knight, but in that one season, he led the team with 9 assists (tied for 18th in the nation) and scored three goals en route to Second Team All-AAC honors.

Taylor remained in the City Beautiful after he was selected with the 74th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft by Orlando City SC. He currently plays for the club's MLS Next Pro league affiliate, Orlando City B, where he has scored one goal, notched two assists, and is second on the team in tackles with 18.

To learn more about Taylor’s collegiate journey that took him from New Mexico to Dallas and, finally, to Orlando, check out the Know Your Knight article on him from last year.

Yanis Leerman - Defender

The French defender scored a goal and tallied three assists en route to being selected Second Team All-AAC in 2021.

While Leerman was drafted by the Chicago Fire with the 85th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, he has since transferred to Pittsburgh, where he will play his final season of collegiate eligibility.

Who’s New That’s Good

#3 Raphaël Crivello - Defender

NCAA Soccer: Men’s College Cup- Pitt vs Indiana Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

UCF and Pittsburgh essentially swapped French defenders this offseason, with the Panthers getting Yanis Leerman and the Knights getting Raphaël Crivello.

A starter in all 20 of Pittsburgh’s matches last season, Crivello tallied 1,812 minutes of playing time last season, scoring three goals and getting two assists.

Calabrese praised Crivello’s intelligence and decision-making during his interview on the Black and Gold Banneret podcast.

#23 AJ Seals - Midfielder

Seals makes his grand hometown return after graduating Magna Cum Laude from NC State.

He played in 17 games with the Wolfpack last season, starting 13 of them, tallied 1,233 minutes, and notched two assists.

“Every day AJ plays within our team, I notice how much he’s taking in, with our system and how to play, and he’s just already become a very effective central midfield player for us,” Calabrese said.

Before joining NC State, Seals spent 2013-2017 in the Orlando City SC Pro Academy. He spent the 2017 season with UCF alum Hadji Berry on Orlando City B, where he made one five-minute appearance on June 14 north of the border against Toronto FC.

Who’s On the Roster

  • 8 seniors and 5th-years
  • 13 returners
  • 4 transfers
  • 10 incoming freshmen
  • 9 Floridians — 3 from Central Florida
  • 15 International players (Costa Rica, Brazil, New Zealand, Spain, Senegal, France, Ghana)

2022 UCF Men’s Soccer Roster

No. Name Pos Year Hometown 2021 School 2021 Stats
No. Name Pos Year Hometown 2021 School 2021 Stats
1 Tyler Lavigne GK R-So St. Cloud, FL UCF 10 games (7-3), 19 GA, 1.93 GAA, 32 saves, 0.627 save %, All-AAC Rookie Team
2 Zane Bubb D R-Sr Jacksonville, FL Virginia Tech Injured in only game played, missed remainder of season
3 Raphaël Crivello D Sr Bordeaux, France Pittsburgh 20 games played (started all 20), 1,812 minutes played, 3 goals, 2 assists, 8 points
4 Andres Hernandez Betancur D 5Y San Jose, Costa Rica UCF Injured in first game, missed rest of season (50 career matches played)
5 Ousmane Ba M So Senegal Oregon State Made one appearence for one minute
6 Anderson Rosa D Jr Salvador, Brazil UCF 1,532 minutes played, 1 goal, 4 assists, 6 points, 2nd Team All-AAC
7 Gino Vivi F Sr San Jose, Costa Rica UCF 1,376 minutes played, 7 goals, 6 assists, 20 points, 2nd Team All-AAC
8 Beto Ydrach M R-Jr Orlando, FL UCF 14 games played (started 8), 792 minutes played, 1 goal, 2 points
9 Lucca Dourado F Jr Sao Paulo, Brazil UCF 1,029 minutes played, 13 goals, 2 assists, 28 points, unanimous 1st Team All-AAC
10 Mauricio Villalobos Vega M 5Y San Jose, Costa Rica UCF 1,383 minutes played, 2 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, 2nd Team All-AAC
11 Lucas Mauro F Jr Sao Paulo, Brazil UCF 16 games played (started 3), 459 minutes played, 1 goal, 2 points, All-AAC Rookie Team
12 Robbie Soronellas M Sr Lutz, FL UCF 17 games played (started 13), 1,329 minutes played
13 Josiah Ramirez M R-Jr Harrisburg, PA UCF 3 games played, 36 minutes played, 1 goal, 2 points
16 Timothy Arias D Fr Alajuela, Costa Rica Bri-Bri College Youngest player to make his professional debut in the second division of Costa Rica.
17 Oscar Hough M Fr Wellington, New Zealand Wellington College Was a part of the U-20 New Zealand Men's Training Squad
18 Owen Guske D R-So Jacksonville, FL UCF 4 games played (started 2), 178 minutes played
19 Kevin Andrews F So Minneapolis, MN UCF 16 games played (started 1), 450 minutes played, 3 assists, 3 points, All-AAC Rookie Team
20 Brandon Calderon D Fr Alajuela, Costa Rica Santa Teresa Was a captain of the Costa Rica National team at the U-15, U-17 and U-20 levels.
21 Emmanuel Bam F Fr Accra, Ghana Right to Dream 36 goals, 18 assists, first UCF Men's Soccer player from Right to Dream
22 Federico Tafur F Fr San Jose, Costa Rica Club Sports Cartagines Did a gap year to play at the highest level of Costa Rican soccer and had the opportunity to make his professional debut
23 AJ Seals M R-Sr Orlando, FL NC State 17 games played (started 13), 1,233 minutes played, 2 assists, 2 points
24 Maël Haise D Fr Laval, France Harry d'Arras Related to Franck Haise, who played 350 games in Ligue 2 in France
25 Matt Douglas GK R-Sr Clearwater, FL UCF 5 games (1-3), 10 GA, 2.38 GAA, 11 saves, 0.524 save %
27 Luciano Natoli GK Fr Miami Beach, FL Cypress Bay HS Played on Inter Miami ll prior to committing
28 Junior Trucillo F Fr Tega Cay, SC Fort Mill HS 21 goals, listed as one of TopDrawer Soccer's ECNL National Showcase Best XI
29 Joey Mueller F Fr St. John's Co., FL Creekside HS 29 goals, 13 assists, team MVP, named to All-Conference Team, and was team captain
31 Juanvi Muñoz GK Fr Valencia, Spain Escuelas Pías Valencia Former club was Getafe B in the Spanish soccer system

The Schedule

With the expanded conference lineup, UCF plays only five games out of the conference, including two each against Big West and ASUN teams. Of the first five opponents, only Wake Forest finished in the RPI Top 140 last season.

The conference did UCF zero favors in the Knights’ final season, with five of their nine league matches on the road, including trips to the two best teams in the conference (Tulsa and FIU). At least UCF will face SMU and FAU at home.

UCF Men’s Soccer 2022 Schedule

Date Day H/A Time Opponent Conf - Preseason Rank Coaches Poll 2021 RPI UCF's Results LY Last Season
Date Day H/A Time Opponent Conf - Preseason Rank Coaches Poll 2021 RPI UCF's Results LY Last Season
Aug 25 Thu Away 8:00 PM Wake Forest ACC - 2nd 15 13-7-1 28 - 3rd ACC Atlantic (6th Overall), Lost ACC QF (Duke), Lost NCAA 3rd Round (4 Notre Dame)
Aug 29 Mon Home 7:00 PM North Florida ASUN - 6th - 4-8-1 141 Won 5-0 Last in ASUN
Sep 2 Fri Away 7:00 PM FGCU ASUN - 3rd - 4-8-1 139 Won 6-2 3rd ASUN, Lost ASUN 1st Round (Bellarmine)
Sep 5 Mon Home 3:00 PM UC Riverside Big West - 4th - 9-7-3 145 - T-6th Big West, Lost BWC Semifinal in PKs (UC-Irvine)
Sep 9 Fri Away 9:00 PM UC Irvine Big West - T1st - 8-8-4 129 - T-1st Big West, Lost BWC Final (UC-Santa Barbara)
Sep 17 Sat Away 7:00 PM Temple American - 9th - 2-12-2 157 W 4-1, W @ 3-0 Finished Last in AAC
Sep 24 Sat Away 8:00 PM Memphis American - 7th - 6-9-2 93 W @ 3-1, L 3-0, W 6-0* Finished T-2nd in AAC, Lost AAC Semifinal (UCF)
Sep 30 Fri Home 7:00 PM FAU American - 8th - 9-7-3 89 - Finished 6th in C-USA, Lost C-USA Final in OT (Kentucky)
Oct 5 Wed Home 7:00 PM SMU American - 5th - 8-5-3 53 W @ 2-1, L 5-0 Finished T-2nd in AAC, Lost AAC Semifinal (Tulsa)
Oct 9 Sun Away 6:00 PM FIU American - T3rd 18 12-4-2 22 Lost 4-0 Finished 1st in C-USA, Lost C-USA semis (Kentucky), NCAA 13-seed, L 2nd Round (Wake Forest)
Oct 14 Fri Away 8:00 PM UAB American - Last - 2-12-1 171 - Finished last in C-USA
Oct 22 Sat Home 7:00 PM Charlotte American - T3rd - 10-6-1 47 - Finished 3rd in C-USA, Lost C-USA QF (FAU) in PKs, Lost NCAA 1st Round (Georgia St.)
Oct 28 Fri Away 7:00 PM Tulsa American - 1st 11 16-2-1 9 W 3-2, L @ 2-1, L @ 2-1** Finished 1st in AAC, Won AAC Tournament, NCAA 6-seed, L 3rd Round (11 West Virginia)
Nov 2 Wed Home 7:00 PM South Florida American - 6th - 6-7-2 92 W @ 3-2, L 4-3 (OT) Finished 5th in AAC

American Athletic Conference Tournament

  • The top two teams receive a bye to the semifinals
  • First Round (at 3-seed and 4-seed’s campus): Nov. 6
  • Semifinals (at regular-season champion): Nov. 10
  • Final (at regular-season champion): Nov. 13

The Last Time...

UCF hosted an NCAA Tournament Game: 2019.

UCF has hosted four times since 2010, going 3-1:

2010 — Won 1st Round vs. South Florida, 3-0

2011 — Won 1st Round vs. FGCU, 1-0 (OT)

2018 — #14 National Seed with a Bye, Lost 2nd Round vs. Lipscomb, 1-0 (OT)

2019 — #9 National Seed with a Bye, Won 2nd Round vs. Missouri State, 2-1 (OT)

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