Three local soccer players — San Marcos High midfielders Jared and Caden Vom Steeg, and Dunn School winger Rene Anthony Pacheco — are among eight athletes who have signed national letters of intent to play for UCSB next year.
The Vom Steeg twins, sons of Gaucho coach Tim Vom Steeg, and Pacheco all play for the Santa Barbara Soccer Club.
“Jared has spent his entire youth career playing the defensive midfield position against the top players in the country in the most competitive leagues,” coach Vom Steeg said. “Consequently, he is further ahead in his development than most players and he should be able to contribute significantly at the Division I level very early in his career.
“Caden has developed into an all-around player who is able to affect a game while playing different positions. He is fast and skillful but his most important attribute is his ability to read and understand the game. It is this tactical understanding of the game that sets him apart from most players and will allow him to play Division 1 soccer very early in his career.”
The Vom Steegs have led San Marcos to a 12-0-1 record so far this season and into today’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2 second round. Pacheco led Dunn to last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division 6 final.
“Rene is a well-known local player who has developed into a top soccer player,” coach Vom Steeg said. “He is very comfortable on the ball and excels in dribbling the ball in tight spaces.
“His best position in college will be in playing in wide areas of the field where his ability to go both to his right or left will make him hard to stop.”
Striker Salvador Aguilar of Oak Grove High is another in-state recruit.
“Salvador’s combination of size, skill, and strength make him a very difficult player to stop from scoring,” Vom Steeg said. “In addition, he is versatile enough to play in any of the front three positions as well as playing as a second forward.”
He’s also recruited attacking midfielder Peter Maitland from Nashoba Regional High of Bolton, Mass.
“Peter was on his way to becoming one of the top attacking midfielders in the country before injury and the COVID-19 situation limited his play and exposure,” Vom Steeg said. “He is an excellent passer and can also create goals for himself and for those around him.
“He fills a need at the number 10 position after the graduation of an All-Big West First Team selection in Thibault Candia.”
The Gaucho coach went overseas for two other recruits: center back Dino Leddie of Dundee, Scotland, and goalkeeper Leroy Zeller of Zulpich, Germany.
“Dino follows in the footsteps of numerous other center backs who have come from a European training system and have had tremendous success for our program,” Vom Steeg said. “He is big, athletic, and has very good skill. Most importantly, he will bring a professional approach and leadership that will add to the culture of our team.
“Leroy will bring experience and a physical dimension to the (goalkeeper) position that will offer us something different to consider as we look for our next starting keeper.”
With Ben Roach now playing professional soccer, Zeller will compete with Teddy Hutman of Yorktown High in Arlington, Va. for the starting goalkeeper position.
“Teddy has trained and played at the highest level of youth soccer,” Vom Steeg said. “Consequently, his game is very developed for a player in his position at this age. He will join a solid group of goalkeepers who will all be competing for a starting position next season.”
WESTMONT SEEDED THIRD
Westmont College, host of the Santa Barbara Bracket of the NAIA National Baseball Championships, has been seeded No. 3 for the five-team regional which runs from Monday through Thursday at the Warriors’ Russ Carr Field.
The Warriors (28-20) will open tournament play on Monday with a 12:30 p.m. game against No. 2 seed Hope International (27-13). The Royals are ranked 14th in the nation.
Monday’s first game between No. 4 seed Saint Katherine and fifth-seeded Corban, Ore. will be played at 9 a.m. The winner of that contest will advance to play at 4 p.m. against top-seeded Georgia Gwinett, which is ranked sixth nationally.
The winner of the four-day, double-elimination regional will advance to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho beginning May 28.
WARRIORS NAME NEW COACH
Joshua Ault, who pioneered the golf program at Pasadena’s Providence College, has been named to head the men’s and women’s golf teams at Westmont College. He succeeds Tom Knecht, who started the Warriors’ program in 2019.
Ault, who holds a Titleist Performance Institute Certificate, also coached for four seasons at Maranatha High School.