COACHES' BREAKDOWN: Most of the coaches who saw Cardenas play this year rated him as one of the most difficult attacking players that they had to deal with. With a solid frame, a low center of gravity and a tremendous workrate, Cardenas is a hassle to take off the ball, one that is compounded by his dribbling capabilities. "KeeyKeh" spins well to get out of tight spaces, but is also dynamic in the open field, and if he does not beat his marker off the dribble to find a seam in the defense, he can draw two or three players to him and then find his teammates' with a well-placed pass in the space that has opened up. Cardenas was given the reins of UC Irvine's offense in his senior season, taking the role of a true No. 10, but his combination of pace, technique and passing, means that he can play multiple positions: Underneath a target striker, as an attacking midfielder or out wide. The few questions that remain boil down to size and defensive work. Despite his strength, Cardenas is still only 5-foot-6, which could raise flags. And while his defense has gotten better in his four years at Irvine, it's not his strength, and he will be at his best in a system where he does not need to shoulder much of the defensive burden.
COLLEGE: 2013: First Team All-West Region... Big West Midfielder of the Year... First Team All-Big West... Led UC Irvine with eight goals and seven assists... Played in all 23 of the Anteaters' matches, starting 22... 2012: Scored two goals and earned three assists... Started 17 of his 18 matches played... 2011: Scored six goals in 17 matches... Added 3 assists for 15 points, third on the team... 2010: Played 9 matches as a redshirt freshman, starting in 1... 2009: Redshirted his freshman season
HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB: Four-year letter-winner at Coachella Valley HS... Team captain... CIF Player of the Year... All-CIF first team... Played club ball at South Coast Bayern under Coach Vishtap Farhadi... Played with United Futbol Club...
PERSONAL: Club soccer coach for the Pacific Soccer Club Girls U-15 team