In my previous post, I wrote about the still-under-construction new roster and laid out the reasons why I believed the missing returning players would not likely materialize. Given that the roster is practically complete, my prior assumptions appear to have been confirmed.
So, what to make of the roster? First, one previously announced player, Hanno Antoni, ended up on Portland University’s roster. When Athletics announced his pending arrival in the Spring, he was listed as a graduate student. My guess is that he had trouble gaining admittance into a UCSB graduate program which is notoriously difficult. In any case, that’s one less German on the roster. Sad!
The only other expected player not on the roster is LMU transfer Sahid Conteh. He was never officially announced but Vom Steeg mentioned him in a recent SB NewsPress article, so I expect there is some paperwork to finalize to complete the late transfer. We have a couple available jersey numbers (11 and 22), so I expect Conteh to be included shortly.
Four players that were not officially announced materialized: GK Alan Carrillo, D William Gillingham, D Frazer Poulter, and Koby Bench. Carrillo was not a complete unknown since he announced his intention to join UCSB back in April. As a member of the El Salvadoran U20 national team, I expect he’s doing more than just shagging balls and filling out the roster. Gillingham is a defender from the Wellington Phoenix youth academy (New Zealand). He was given the #2 jersey as a freshman which suggests the coaches think highly of his abilities, so he may be the most significant unannounced late arrival. Poulter is a transfer from Oregon State University where he earned 4 starts. His starts came consecutively late in the season, so I expect him to battle for playing time for UCSB. Our defense is going to be extremely young, but we should have depth and opportunities for players to emerge.
Prior to seeing the players on the field, reading the tea leaves that are the jersey numbers may provide some insights. To be sure, drawing any conclusions from jersey numbers is an inexact science, but it may be a predictor of what we will see this year. Vom Steeg had sung the praises of Adames in the recent SBNP article, and he’s wearing the #4 jersey, otherwise known as the Andy Iro jersey. Ammer will wear the #8, a central midfield number. He played as an attacking midfielder for Ventura, and this is likely where we will see him play for UCSB, although he could be pushed into a winger role given our central midfield depth. Rodney Michael, a freshman, was given the responsibility to wear the traditional #9 striker number. Billingsley will wear the #10 playmaker jersey even though he doesn’t play a traditional playmaker position, so expectations are clearly high for him this year. Feucht is going with number 77 again which I don’t really know what to do with. But he’s Feucht, so he can do whatever he wants as far as I’m concerned.
I have some ideas about how we’re likely to line up this year and which players are likely to earn significant playing time, but I’m going to wait until some articles and interviews come out before I start making any guesses.