10 Bay Area College Soccer Players to Watch: Nick Lima – University of Cal/Berkeley
Nick Lima, one of the most un-talked about San Jose Earthquakes Academy products, is stepping onto the big stage in his Senior Season at UC Berkley. The Golden Bears’ starting Right Back is a good candidate for a Homegrown Contract next season, with the introduction of the Earthquakes new USL Pro affiliate Reno 1868. Let’s take a look at what Nick Lima has to offer.
Nick Lima, a Castro Valley native scored two fantastic goals in CAL’s season opening win against Penn State. Lima is known for his two way play as a fullback. That trait is something the Earthquakes haven’t enjoyed since the departures of Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow. He came up within the San Jose Earthquakes youth ranks, but finished his club career with DeAnza Force. As a high-school prospect he earned a three star rating from TopDrawerSoccer.com. Lima also played football at Castro Valley High School, playing three positions: Running back, Kicker, and Defensive back. It’s safe to say he has the athletic ability to play fullback at the professional level, but what about the technical play?
Despite his time playing football, Lima has been a soccer player through and through, making appearances with the San Jose Earthquakes reserve team in 2011. He also played for the Region IV ODP team in 2007/2008. In his junior year of high school he committed to the University of California-Berkley. During his freshman year he appeared in all nineteen as a substitute. By his sophomore year, he clinched his spot as a starter. He started in 19 games, and notched four assists, getting 17 shots on goal. Last year he notched two goals and four assists in nineteen games, and nearly doubled his shot total (30) in his junior season. This year? TopDrawerSoccer.com has Lima ranked in its top one hundred players to watch across college soccer this year. He was also named to the all Pac-12 preseason team, and their team of the week in the first week. In two games he’s taken 10 shots and scored two goals, including a brace against Penn State with an overtime winner.
Lima is a must watch college player in the Bay Area, especially if you’re an Earthquakes fan. He is a potential homegrown player candidate and could feature for the clubs new USL Affiliate, Reno 1868. He played this summer for the Earthquakes U-23 affiliate, the Burlingame Dragons.The Dragons featured a plethora of Bay Area college players. With the Dragons, Lima frequented at the left back position.
“Nick was fantastic in Burlingame this summer, and has clearly carried that form into the college season. He can break teams down with his ability with the ball, and he has the engine and athleticism to excel at the next level,” Dragons head coach Eric Bucchere had to say of Lima. “He’s one of those players that can make some really incredible plays look easy.”
The Earthquakes struggles to find consistent production out of the outside back positions have been plaguing them since they failed to re-sign Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour. Marvell Wynne has had to transition to center back this year due to the rash of injuries the backline has experienced. While Cordell Cato has filled in rather nicely there, Lima would be a long-term option for the ‘Quakes. As a former ‘Quakes academy member, Lima may be eligible for a homegrown contract, and would likely sign after the college season ends in spring. Under current MLS player rules, Lima may not be a clear cut case for a homegrown player, but the ‘Quakes will certainly try and claim him as homegrown. Lima’s potential future with the club make him a must watch college soccer player in the Bay Area.