By Bill Paterson
California, coming off arguably its best men's soccer season in school history, got a big boost with the signing last week of two Placer County standouts with U.S. National Youth Team experience.
Granite Bay's Connor Hallisey and Rocklin's Seth Casiple are two of eight players signed by the Golden Bears. They will help replenish a roster that lost six starters from the 2010 Cal squad to Major League Soccer.
Casiple and Hallisey are members of the California Development Academy and are in the United States U-18 National Team pool.
Hallisey traveled with the U-18 national team to a four-team tournament in Israel in December.
Casiple has been called up to the latest U-18 training camp that begins on Saturday and continues through Feb. 20 in Phoenix, Ariz.
The 5-9 Casiple is an attacking midfielder and forward who also placekicked for the Thunder football team last fall. He helped Rocklin finish 13-4-6 overall and 6-2-2 and second in the Sierra Foothill League.
Hallisey is a 5-10 midfielder and forward who earned ESPN RISE All-America first-team honors and was named the SFL MVP last fall. As a senior, he scored 25 goals and added 20 assists in leading the Grizzlies to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship and a 26-0-1 overall finish.
Last season, Cal (14-2-4) won the Pac-10 title and reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal round, where the Golden Bears lost on penalty kicks to eventual national champion Akron.