Terrell Lloyd

Strong Blend Of Upperclassmen and Newcomers Lead Men's Soccer Into 2019

San José, Calif. -- The San José State men's soccer team returns 17 letterwinners from last year's Western Athletic Conference Tournament runner-up squad and is ready to hit the pitch in full stride for the 2019 campaign. 

In addition to the large core of returners, a strong group of 12 newcomers has arrived on campus with many of them looking to make an immediate impact for the Spartans. They are led by head coach Simon Tobin, who is now entering his sixth season at the helm in San José.

"It is a squad filled with an intent to attack and a huge desire to control the ball in all phases of the game," says Tobin. "The team has advanced to the WAC championship game in each of the last two years and we truly believe that the third attempt will bring home the trophy." 


Returning Letterwinners (2): Isaiah de Dios (SO), Suliman Khorami (SR)

Letterwinners Lost (3): Zach Penner, Miguel Castillo, Austin Schneider

Newcomers (3): Rodolfo Castro (JR), Julian Boyce (FR), Jorge Lopez (JR)

Suliman Khorami is back for his final season in Silicon Valley after finishing tied for fourth on the team with two goals a year ago. The senior is joined by sophomore Isaiah de Dios as the team's two returning letterwinners at forward. 

"Suliman enters his senior year at the top of his game," Tobin said when asked about the forwards. "He will be ably assisted by Isaiah and a large group of returners in the midfield." 

A pair of local incoming transfers and an intriguing freshman headline the group of newcomers, all of which Tobin states can "add fire to the attacking mix." 

Rodolfo Castro, a San José native, spent the last two years dominating at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. The forward was named to the United Soccer Coaches Junior College Division III All-America team in 2018, finishing the season with a gaudy 22 goals and 19 assists. 

Jorge Lopez and Julian Boyce round out the group, each coming to campus with plenty of accolades in their own right. Lopez was also selected to the Division III All-America team as a sophomore at Cañada College, scoring 21 goals en route to the honor. The freshman Boyce shined at McClatchy High School in Sacramento, being named All-Metro League in all four years while also earning unanimous league MVP honors in two of those seasons. 


Returning Letterwinners (7): Finlay Wood (SO), Max Allen (JR), Willy Miranda (JR), Danny Sanchez (JR), Carlos Gomez-Zavala (JR), Eduardo Buenfil (JR), Nicolas Brenes (JR)

Letterwinners Lost (2): Jonathan Partida, Kalei Tolentino-Perry

Newcomers (1): Jered Mariani (RS-FR)

One of the strongest groups of midfielders in the conference will be led by junior Max Allen, recently named to the WAC's 2019 All-Preseason team after a sensational sophomore season. 

"Personally, I want to keep playing as well as I can and help the team however possible," says Allen. "I want to boost my goals, boost my assists and then see where we go from there. We've been close to a conference championship the last two years and now we need to get that final push to get to nationals." 

Second on the team with three goals last season, Willy Miranda's versatility will also be relied upon heavily in the center of the pitch. The junior can do it all, and he will be assisted by a trio of three-year players that Tobin is excited about heading into the 2019 campaign. 

"At midfield, Max Allen, Finlay Wood and Carlos Gomez-Zavala can pull all of the strings," Tobin said. "They get to play behind some excellent attacking talent."

Rounding out the group is redshirt freshman Jered Mariani in addition to juniors Eduardo Buenfil (5 points in 2018), Danny Sanchez (4 points) and Nicolas Brenes (2 points). Each could contribute immediately having been inside the program for multiple years now. 


Returning Letterwinners (7): Omar Lemus (JR), Angel Farias (SR), Jamal Adam (SO), Eduardo Miranda (JR), Eddie Saydee (JR), Jeff Dukes (SR), Aoi Hernandez (JR)

Letterwinners Lost (3): Joseph Kay, Andy Rios, Andrew Mendoza

Newcomers (5): Kasper Poulsgaard (FR), Andy Barajas (FR), Ethan Briens (RS-FR), Miguel Bermudez (JR), Josh Redfield (FR)

Another very experienced group is led by junior Omar Lemus and senior Jeff Dukes. Dukes has played nearly 5,000 minutes in just three seasons in San José and Lemus is back after leading the team in goals and assists a year ago.

"My teammates were the motivation behind me all of last year," says Lemus. "I wasn't in my natural position last season but I stepped up to the challenge and my teammates were there with me the whole way. They're definitely the key to any success." 

Minutes-eaters Eduardo Miranda (20 appearances in 2018) and Angel Farias (19 appearances) are also back to bolster the back line. They will be joined by a large group of newcomers that has already impressed Tobin. 

"We retain three of our four starters from last year's back four," Tobin said. "Jeff, Angel and Omar will bring good experience and leadership to the team. In addition, returners like Eddie Saydee, Jamal Adam and Aoi Hernandez will battle for a starting spot while freshmen Kasper Poulsgaard, Andy Barajas and Josh Redfield could contribute immediately." 


Returning Letterwinners (1): Rodrigo Reyes-Zavalza (JR)

Letterwinners Lost (1): Alex Clewis

Newcomers (3): Jose Bernal (RS-FR), David Sweeney (FR), Eric Waltz (FR)

Gone in goal is one of the top keepers in the conference, but SJSU does return some postseason experience in the form of Rodrigo Reyes-Zavalza. 

He will be joined by a talented trio of freshmen in Jose Bernal, David Sweeney and Eric Waltz, all of which could push for playing time in 2019. Sweeney, a Morgan Hill product, and San José native Eric Waltz have only been with the squad for a few weeks but are already shining in training. 

"The keeper position is up for grabs with the departure of Clewis from last season," said Tobin. "The local newcomers will immediately challenge Rigo, who had an outstanding spring for us." 


The Spartans will play a total of five teams who made the 2018 NCAA Tournament, welcoming two of those sides to the Spartan Soccer Complex. 

"For the past two years we have been ranked in the top-30 nationally for strength of schedule and 2019 will be no different," Tobin said. "Pacific, Saint Mary's, Stanford, Grand Canyon and Air Force were all NCAA Tournament teams last year and we get to play key games against Saint Mary's and Air Force at home."

Regular season play kicks off on August 30 against Sacramento State at the Spartan Soccer Complex. The team will open its exhibition season on August 24 at California. 


Follow San José State men's soccer on social media! 

Twitter: @SanJoseStateMS
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