Two weeks ahead of the start of training camp, Stanford men's soccer had a pair of players, sophomore Aaron Kovar and freshman Jordan Morris, recognized on preseason Best XI and All-America Teams.
Kovar was the highest-ranked Pac-12 player by each site, while Stanford was the only school from the conference to have multiple players recognized by Top Drawer Soccer.
Kovar, a sophomore midfielder coming off of a debut campaign in which he was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and to the All-Pac-12 Second Team, was named to the College Soccer News Preseason All-America Second Team as well as to Top Drawer Soccer's Preseason Best XI Second Team.
The Cardinal midfielder scored three goals and assisted on two others in 2012, along with manning a midfield that balanced aggressive attacking (306 shots, 123 SOG) with stalwart defending (1.24 team goals-against average).
Morris, an incoming freshman forward from Mercer Island, Wash., was named to Top Drawer Soccer's Best XI Freshman Team. Morris, a forward with the Seattle Sounders U18 Academy Team, earned Washington Gatorade Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2011.
Stanford officially begins its 2013 preseason when the team reconvenes for training two weeks from now on August 14. The 2013 campaign will be the second for the Cardinal under head coach Jeremy Gunn.
Stanford sees its first game action August 21 in a 7 p.m. exhibition at Cagan Stadium against Sonoma State. The 2013 campaign officially gets underway at Cagan on August 30 as the Cardinal hosts 2012 College Cup participant Maryland at 7 p.m.
The Cardinal's nonconference home program for 2013 includes a second College Cup participant from last season in Georgetown (Sept. 1), Grand Canyon (Sept. 13), College of Charleston (Sept. 20), Colgate (Sept. 22) and San Francisco (Oct. 25). On the road, Stanford visits Santa Clara (Sept. 7) and UC Santa Barbara (Sept. 27).
Eight of Stanford's matches will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, beginning with Sept. 1's battle with Georgetown. The TV slate also includes six conference matches.
In his debut campaign on The Farm, Gunn oversaw a Cardinal team that went 9-8-1 and finished third on the Pac-12 table with 16 points from 10 matches (5-4-1 record). After dropping five of its first eight decisions, the Cardinal came together to end the season on a tear, going 6-3-1 over its final 10 matches including a road scalp at No. 25 UC Santa Barbara and sweeping the season series against arch-rival California by an 8-1 aggregate score.
The work of Gunn and his staff of assistant coaches John Smith, Mike Graczyk and Nick Kirchhof molded the Cardinal into a team that scored 22 goals over its final 10 matches and outshot opponents by a margin of 306-188 for the season. Out of those 306 shots, 123 were on frame compared to just 75 for opponents, and Stanford's aggressive attack also resulted in more than twice as many corner kicks taken (120) than conceded (58).
Six Cardinal players went on to earn All-Pac-12 honors, headlined by Adam Jahn being named to the First Team after scoring a career-best 13 goals, and Kovar claiming the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year prize. Hunter Gorskie was named to the Second Team while Dersu Abolfathi, Zach Batteer and JJ Koval were all named honorable mention.
Goalkeeper Emily Oliver and forward Chioma Ubogagu were named to the Best XI preseason First Team by Top Drawer Soccer. Newcomer Stephanie Amack was named to the Freshman Team.
Stanford and North Carolina were the only Division I teams to have two first-team players named.