SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara's Rodney Michael and Noah Billingsley have been named to the NCAA Division I Men's All-Far West Region Team, it was announced by the United Soccer Coaches on Wednesday morning.
This marks the 14th time in the last 15 years that at least two Gauchos have earned a regional accolade, with both players taking up space on the All-Far West Region Third Team. The sophomore Michael claimed a spot for the second straight season, after being the lone Gaucho to do so last year.
On the heels of an outstanding 2017 campaign which take home the Big West Freshman of the Year recognition along with a handful of other honors, Michael was sensational in his sophomore season. The Freetown, Sierra Leone native ranked fourth in the conference with team-highs of 17 points and seven goals to go along with three assists.
A handful of standout performances would see the forward take home a second consecutive All-Big West First Team selection. Arguably no showing was more impactful though than when he notched a first half brace against No. 15 UCLA in late September, leading the Gauchos to a 3-1 win en route to earning his second career Big West Offensive Player of the Week award. He also came through with a pair of game-winners earlier in the season against Butler at home (Sept. 8) and on the road at New Mexico (Sept. 11), for the Gauchos' lone road win of the season.
Michael is one of eight Gauchos to be named to make the All-Far West Region Team multiple times since 2008, a list which includes five players who have gone on to play professionally in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Billingsley's list of accolades continues to grow following a career year which saw him make the transition from the attacking half to wingback. The former forward turned defender shined in his new role during his junior season, coming on especially strong during conference play.
The versatile Kiwi put away his first and only score of the season in dramatic fashion, knocking off Cal State Fullerton with a golden goal in a 1-0 overtime win back on Oct. 6. He also tallied an assist in a 3-0 win over CSUN and helped the Gauchos to four shutouts in seven conference matches. His efforts saw him claim his first ever all-conference nod in late October, as he joined Michael and Hunter Ashworth on the All-Big West First Team in late October.
Michael and Billingsley helped extend a now 17-year-long streak of at least one Gaucho earning a spot on the All-Far West Region Team. To view the complete list of 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Men's All-Far West Region selections, please click here.