January 11, 2006

Ballouchy To Enter MLS Draft

Jan. 11, 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Following a junior season in which he was considered arguably the top midfielder in college soccer, Santa Clara University men's soccer player Mehdi Ballouchy has announced his intention to forgo his senior season to enter next week's Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

Ballouchy will participate in this week's adidas MLS Player Combine at The Home Depot Center on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif. The coaching staffs and general managers from all twelve MLS teams will be in attendance to scout talent for the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, which will be held on Friday, January 20, 2006 in Philadelphia, Pa.

"I have really enjoyed my time here at Santa Clara and I will without a doubt miss my teammates and my coaches," said Ballouchy, who played his first season at Creighton before transferring to SCU. "I really feel that I have a much better chance to go higher in the draft and I have more leverage to negotiate this year, rather than playing another year of college soccer and taking the chance that things might not work out as well for me.

"If I had it to do all over again, no doubt I would have come to Santa Clara. It is a great place to be a student as well as a soccer player."

Ballouchy, a native of Casablanca, Morocco, was a two-time All-America and last season was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. He was selected as a semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, college soccer's version of the Heisman Trophy that is awarded to the nation's top player.

Santa Clara, which ranked as high as fourth nationally during the season, finished the season with a 13-6-3 overall record and a 6-4-2 mark and second place finish in the WCC. The Broncos went 7-1-1 at home during the season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. SCU defeated Ohio State by a score of 1-0 at home before playing to a scoreless draw at Cal in the second round. The Bears advanced in the tournament by virtue of a 5-4 edge in penalty kicks.

The players selected to participate in the adidas Player Combine were determined by a select panel of Division I college coaches representing all conferences, who nominated and voted for players in conjunction with MLS coaches. Youth players from the Generation adidas program and additional collegiate players from NCAA Division II schools, are also included.

The 2006 adidas MLS Player Combine will separate all players into four teams and feature doubleheaders at The Home Depot Center on the mornings of January 13, 14 and 15.