With more than twenty matches left in his senior season, senior forward Sagi Lev-Ari has plenty of time to add to an already prestigious Matador Career
At six-foot-one, the senior finance major from Israel was recently voted one of 32 players to watch for the MAC Hermann trophy, by the National Soccer Coaches of Association of America. He becomes the first CSUN player to be voted to the list, and also becomes the program’s first Preseason All-American at the Division I level.
With two seasons under his belt, Lev-Ari has already established an impressive Matador Resume.
In 2013, Lev-Ari became the first Matador to be an All-American athlete since 2005, a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann trophy and a finalist for Soccer News Net’s College Boot award. He was also the country’s leading scorer during last season’s Big West tournament, with five goals in three games.
Growing up in Israel, Sagi Lev-Ari was born to have the soccer ball in front of him. Lev-Ari said he played, “the beautiful game,” at any chance he had, whether it be in a park or on the streets.
He played soccer in his home-country until he was 18 and moved to the United States after finishing the army at age 21.
Lev-Ari flourished in the youth system at the prestigious Israeli club of Maccabi Haifa. His childhood hero was the prolific Brazilian goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He inspired me. I just wanted to be a forward and score goals,” Lev-Ari said.
The senior forward proved to be clutch by scoring five game-winning goals for the Matadors, last season.
Lev-Ari said he started his college career as a striker at Monroe College in New York.
He scored seven goals in 11 games, but wanted more playing time and was recruited by CSUN.
Terry Davila, CSUN head soccer coach, could not be more proud of his star player, as Lev-Ari continues to exceed expectations.
“Every year he brings something to the table like every great player does. He’s always there at the right place, at the right time, and you can’t teach that.” Davila said.
Last season, the 16 goals scored by Lev-Ari tied him for seventh highest amount of goals scored in a single season as a Matador.
Senior defender Tanner Snedigar said, “If they don’t shut him down, then they don’t shut Northridge down.”
Lev-Ari’s combined 31 goals in two seasons have made him opposing teams biggest target, Snedigar said.
This is one of the reasons why Lev-Ari has his sights set on further improvement of his game.
“I’m trying to get better and better every season,” Levi-Ari said. The current senior scored 15 goals two seasons ago, 16 goals last season, and hopes to score more this season.
Coach Davila said Lev-Ari has already developed into a better player.
“He’s gotten better at getting back to the goal and incorporating his teammates more,” Davila said.
Besides teamwork, Coach Davilla applauded Lev-Ari’s conditioning efforts in Israel and with the Matador staff.
“He’s a little bit fitter so he can get himself a little more around the goal more,” Davila said.
Lev-Ari also aspires to leave a matador legacy of scoring double-digit goals per season.
“My goal [on the field] is to be like Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s my favorite player, and I try to be like him for every game,” Lev-Ari said.
However, scoring is not the senior’s ultimate dream. “My goal is to get to the team to the national championship,” Lev-Ari said.
The forward shares the same goal as the entire Matador team. “I’m just focusing 100% to win the game,” Lev-Ari said, “ I hate to lose more than I like to win.”
Coach Davila said Lev-Ari is also very focused on his teammates.
“Of course he’s happy when he scores goals, but he would very much rather see his team win than score goals.”
The finance major also said he is keen on his studies, with a 3.0 GPA and an upcoming graduation date.
Davilla hopes Lev-Ari can have the best season in the classroom and on the field. He said Levi Ari’s focus in the classroom keeps him on track towards maturity.
“I want him to get great grades and I want him to become one of the Big West Scholars of the Year. That’s one of his biggest goals,” Davila said.
Outside of the classroom, Lev-Ari hopes to go pro and get drafted to the MLS, after his senior season.
“I’m trying to go professional. It’s my dream. Hopefully I can go to the MLS next year. If not, I want to try Europe or Israel,” he said.