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Five Cougars named to National Arena Soccer Team

June 20, 2008 - Major Indoor Soccer League 2 (MISL 2) - California Cougars News Release

Stockton, CA - Stockton, CA - The Stockton Cougars, of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro), announce that United States National Arena Soccer team (USNAST) player/head coach Bernie Lilavois has selected four Cougars and one Pumas player to his summer national team roster. Brian Farber, Evan McNeley, Aaron Bonser, Garth Archibald and Pumas goalkeeper Jesus Molina headline a group that will play in the Circuito Mundial Tournament in Montreal, Canada from June 28 through July 1, 2008. The players selected were chosen after their participation during the first two national combines held by Lilavois in both Las Vegas, NV and Cincinnati, OH respectively.

Circuito Mundial Montreal 2008 features teams from Mexico, Canada and the United States. Circuito Mundial is the first international arena soccer tournament and is sanctioned by Federation International Futbol Rapido Association (FIFRA).

Lilavois acts as player/coach for the U.S. Arena Soccer team, the same role he holds with the Stockton Cougars. The Cougars are a first year member of the new PASL-Pro. The 37 year old forward has the most extensive amount of professional history among the players chosen to play for the USNAST squad.

The PASL-Pro is the fourth professional arena league Lilavois has played for in his career. He first broke into professional indoor soccer in 1994 as a member of the Continental Indoor Soccer League's San Jose franchise. The forward finished the 1994 season with 55 points, including 36 goals and 19 assists. He recorded 120 goals and 62 assists for a total of 174 points over four seasons in the CISL. He spent a single season in the short-lived World Indoor Soccer League in 1999. Lilavois racked up 27 goals and 15 assists for 42 points while with the Portland Pythons. The bulk of "the Bolts" career came as a player and coach in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) from 1995 to 2008. Lilavois amassed 286 goals, 171 assists for 457 points in 10 seasons. Lilavois' 1999-00 season with the Harrisburg Heat was the best statistical season in his career. Lilavois recorded 71 goals and 29 assists that season. Lilavois begins his fourth season with the Cougars, and his second full season as Head Coach. He took over command of the team after his forced retirement on 2/10/07. He recorded 19 assists and 12 two-point goals for a total of 43 points despite retiring after 19 games played in the 2006-07 season. Those 19 assists held throughout the remaining 11 game schedule, making Lilavois the team assists leader at seasons end. He returned as head coach of the Cougars in the 2007-08 season, and as a player in February. Former MISL Commissioner Steve Ryan allowed Lilavois to act as both player/coach because of the severe number of injuries sustained on the Cougars roster. Lilavois recorded 10 goals and seven assists over an eight game stretch after returning to the team. He eclipsed the 900 point plateau on 3/22/08 with a three goal and one assist performance against the Detroit Ignition. His 916 career points include the various multi-point scoring systems and all seasons of professional indoor play.

Midfielder Brian Farber recently signed with the Cougars as the first professional player signed by a PASL-Pro team. The quick midfielder has been with the Cougars organization for the past three seasons. He recorded 12 goals and seven assists during the 2007-08 season as a California Cougars midfielder. His season, sadly, was cut short due to a knee injury suffered in a match against the Chicago Storm. Farber, 26, has recorded 40 goals over his three year arena soccer career. He utilized his explosive speed to score 22 goals in his second professional season with the Cougars in 2006-07. He also added nine assists that year. His season total of 53 points placed him 14th best in the now defunct Major Indoor Soccer League. In his first professional season (2005-06), Farber connected on six goals and picked up three assists.

Farber also played with the USL First Division's Minnesota Thunder in 2007. He played in all 28 games for the Thunder and finished with a team leading seven goals, three assists and 17 points. His 17 points were ninth best in the USL-1, and his seven goals were good enough for seventh best.

Twenty Five year old defender Evan McNeley has played for the Cougars since 2006. McNeley put together an all-star caliber season in 2007-08 for the Stockton based California Cougars of the MISL. He recorded 10 goals, 11 assists and 35 blocks in 30 games in his second full professional season. McNeley joined Ryan Hall (‘06-‘07) and Farber (‘05-‘06) as the three Cougars players to have not missed a single match during a full season. The Cougars recognized his leadership qualities and value to the team both on and off the field by naming him the "Ultimate Cougar" in April 2008. Defender Ryan Hall was the first ever recipient of the Ultimate Cougar award in 2007. McNeley was a two year letter winner at Oregon State University, where he played in twenty games in the 2003 season, scoring five goals and three assists. In 2004, he tallied two goals and two assists for the Beavers in 19 games. He also played two seasons at Seattle University before transferring to OSU.

Midfielder/Defender Aaron Bonser signed with the Cougars on February 14, 2008 out of CNY United of the Premier Arena Soccer League. Bonser, 23, attended Syracuse University where he played in 65 games over his four year collegiate career. Cougars' defender, and fellow Orangeman, Ryan Hall recommended Bonser to coach Lilavois shortly after the MISL college draft. Bonser's rookie season saw him record 18 blocks, two goals and one assist.

Bonser along with forward Garth Archibald helped to revamp a young Cougars team during the second half of the '07-'08 season. Archibald joined the Cougars as a free agent signing in early March. The 24 year old scored his first professional goal during his first game on March 16 against the Baltimore Blast at Stockton Arena. He spent several seasons with the Chico Bigfoot, but most recently has played for the Pumas. Archibald was born in Chico, CA on June 13, 1984. The 6-0, 180 lbs. forward has extensive collegiate experience in both soccer and football. He has played for Chico State University, Butte Junior College, Cuesta Junior College and the University of New Mexico. Archibald played as a place kicker for both Butte Junior College and the University of New Mexico.

Also named to the USNAST group is Pumas goalkeeper Jesus Molina. Molina is a northern California native having grown up in Santa Rosa, CA. He has been a member of the Pumas since their inception in 2007. Out of the 12 players named to the team, he is the only goalkeeper. Molina played professionally in Mexico from 1994-1996 for Club Deportivo Toluca, Athletico Celaya Division 1A and Acambaro Mexican Third Division. Molina helped lead the Sonoma Sol to the NPSL and USSF Amateur Cup Championships in 2005. He was the PASL's first national finals most valuable player in 1999.

Other players include defenders Salvatore Fiore of the 1790 Cincinnati Excite (Pro League) and Darnell Quinn of Waza FC (Premier League). 1790 Cincinnati Excite midfielders John Cummings and Shawn Rockey were chosen for the team. Lilavois also selected Derik Van Gessel of the Las Vegas Knights (Premier League).

Three other national combines remain for Lilavois and his selection process. More information can be obtained at http://www.arenaleague.com.

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