Defending NCAA Division I men's national champion UC Santa Barbara has signed Michael Boxalland Sam Jenkins, who are both expected to represent New Zealand at next month's Under-20 World Cup.
"We are very excited to add two players that have performed at the top level on an international stage and will continue to do so this summer," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said. "Michael and Sam will have an immediate impact on our team and in the college game in general."
Boxall, a gifted center back that can also play in the midfield, was named Auckland City FC's Young Player of the Year. Jenkins, who scored three goals in his first two games with the U-20s, plays for Hawke's Bay United in the NZ Football Championship, New Zealand's top domestic league.
Boxall and Jenkins follow in the footsteps of former UCSB defender Tony Lochheadand forward Neil Jones, who both competed for New Zealand at the national level prior to their arrival in Santa Barbara. Lochhead, who is currently playing with the All Whites, was an All-American defender and four-time All-Big West selection at UCSB. Jones returned to Santa Barbara as an assistant coach before the start of the 2006 season after amassing 28 goals and 16 assists as a four-year starter with the Gauchos.
"Tony and Neil were an integral part of this program's rise onto the national scene, culminating with a national championship appearance in 2004," Vom Steeg said. "They were tremendous for us for four years and left a lasting impact here. We expect the same type of things from Boxall and Jenkins."
Boxall and Jenkins help give UCSB one of the nation's top recruiting classes for 2007. The Gauchos' recruits also include Ciaran O'Brien, a talented transfer from the San Diego.