UCSB soccer players have a history of making an impact with the Ventura County Fusion, a team in the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League.
Gauchos Alfonso Motagalvan, Ivan Becerra, Bryan Byrne and Danny Barrera helped the Fusion win the PDL National Championship in 2009.
This year’s Fusion squad, which opens the playoffs on Saturday at home against the Portland Timbers Under-23 team, includes current Gaucho Peter McGlynn and recently graduated Tim Pontius and James Kiffe.
McGlynn and Pontius are part of the back line while Kiffe plays on the right wing.
Kiffe joined the squad in June after rehabbing foot and ankle injuries. His recent play has impressed Fusion coach Ole Mikkelsen.
“James is playing some of the best football I’ve ever seen him play at right midfield,” Mikkelsen told the Ventura County Star.
The Fusion and Portland play at 5 p.m. followed by the Seattle Sounders U-23s against FC Tucson in the PDL Western Conference semifinals at the Ventura College Sportsplex. The winners play for the championship and a berth in the PDL Final Four on Sunday at 5 p.m.