News | March 31, 2016

AthleticsNews

Soccer standouts see action in pros

Former FGCU men’s soccer standouts Rodrigo Saravia and Aaron Guillen both had watershed moments in the last week as the Eagles’ young but successful program continues to be showcased globally.

Saravia, the 2015 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year, started and played all 90 minutes in Guatemala’s World Cup qualifying matched against the United States on Friday and started again on Tuesday, while 2015 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Guillen started and played all 90 minutes in FC Dallas’s MLS match versus D.C. United on Saturday.

While Saravia entered the match with one previous international cap, he became the first player in program history to play in a World Cup qualifier, while Guillen became the first player in program history to appear in an MLS contest.

“What wonderful achievements for both Rodrigo and Aaron,” commented FGCU program-founding coach Bob Butehorn. “For both of them to not only have the opportunity to play on a national and international stage, but to play well is a tremendous accomplishment. It continues to show that our still-young program can produce professional players who will represent FGCU extremely well.”

Guatemala claimed a 2-0 victory over the U.S. in Guatemala City in a stunning result as part of qualification for the 2018 World Cup – Guatemala’s first win over the U.S. since 1988. Saravia started at central midfield and played a confident and steady role in just his second international appearance. His first came last month in a 3-1 friendly victory over Honduras. In the second leg against Guatemala on Tuesday, the US recovered with a 4-0 thrashing.

In January, Saravia became the first FGCU player and highest player in A-Sun history ever drafted when the Columbus Crew SC selected him with the 19th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft.

Guillen, meanwhile, started as a defender for FC Dallas and helped FCD to a 3-0 victory in the nation’s capital over D.C. United – and did so playing with a broken nose. FC Dallas is tied for 1st place in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference with 9 points and a 3-1-0 record early in the season.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Guillen signed a Homegrown Contract with FC Dallas in January. He joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2011 and helped the U-18 side to the 2012 U-18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship. With his prior affiliation to FC Dallas, Guillen became eligible for a Homegrown Contract which allows teams to sign local products directly from their academy to their professional team.

Guillen and Saravia could face each other this weekend as their respective MLS teams square off in Dallas on Saturday, April. 2, at 8 p.m.

Saravia and Guillen were two of an incredible three players from FGCU’s senior class to sign professional contracts in January. Nathan Ingham  was named A-Sun Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015 and inked a deal with FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League (NASL).

Ingham and FC Edmonton begin their season on Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m. at Rayo OKC (Oklahoma City).

FGCU has produced six other professional players: Daniel Stanese is playing for FC Augsburg II in Germany and Manny Gonzalez with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the NASL. Gonzalez spent 2008-10 with the Eagles, and Stanese signed professionally in February of 2013 following his freshman season with Germany’s top-tier Bundesliga for FC Nuremberg. The feat is made even more impressive when considering the program’s first season was only in 2007.