February 27, 2006

Santa Clara Soccer Ready To Spring Ahead

Feb. 27, 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's soccer program has qualified for 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 17 seasons. During that span, Bronco teams advanced to five College Cups and won the 1989 NCAA title while 14 different players earned All-America honors.

With such an illustrious history guiding it, along with head coach Cameron Rast and his excellent staff, the Bronco soccer program begins its official preparation for the 2006 season in just over a month with high hopes of winning the school's third overall NCAA soccer title.

The team is scheduled to conduct a total of 23 training sessions, four intra-squad scrimmages and five competitions during the spring season. The Broncos will play in the annual College Classic, hosted by the Southwest Soccer Club at the John Blanche Memorial Soccer Complex in Temecula, Calif. on April 1. SCU will also play single matches at San Jose State and Stanford and at home against Cal Poly and Sacramento State.

"It seems like last season ended a long, long time ago," said Rast, who has won more than 69 percent of his games four seasons as the Broncos' head coach. "Our players are really looking forward to getting back on the field. The younger guys want to prove they deserve a spot on the team or more playing time. While, the older guys are clearly hungry to have another successful season and lead our squad to a national championship.

"The spring season truly is a developmental time for us and we take advantage of every day that we are allowed to train. It is also very important that we are able to play matches against other college teams during this non-traditional season. College soccer would be at such a disadvantage if we could not provide more of a year-round training experience for the players."

For the first time, the Bronco men's and women's teams will be able to play their spring matches in Buck Shaw Stadium. The construction of the beautiful, new $8.9 million Stephen Schott Baseball Stadium provides the soccer programs with a dedicated facility that is available throughout the year. The public is welcome to attend any of SCU's competitions or Intra-squad scrimmages.

"Having Buck Shaw available is really critical to both the men's and women's programs," said Rast. "We have a lot more flexibility on scheduling issues and we have more field space for individual training and other types of drills. Perhaps more importantly, it allows us the opportunity to decrease the amount of wear and tear on our practice field, which will help us immensely when we return for fall preseason training."

The Broncos lost six of their top 10 scorers and 10 overall letterwinners from last year's team that registered a 13-6-3 overall record and ranked as high as fourth in the nation. Santa Clara placed second in the West Coast Conference standings and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where it played to a scoreless draw at Cal. The Bears advanced in the tournament after earning a 5-4 advantage on penalty kicks.

Junior Mehdi Ballouchy, a first-team All-America selection and the WCC Player of the Year, decided to forgo his senior season and enter the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The Casablanca, Morocco native was the second selection overall by Real Salt Lake and has been predicted by several experts to make a significant impact in his first season in MLS. In addition, senior Hector Guzman, a native of San Jose, Costa Rica, was selected by Houston (formerly the San Jose Earthquakes) in the MLS Supplemental Draft after a career at SCU in which he twice earned all-league honors.

Headlining the list of players returning for the Broncos in 2006 are second-team all-WCC midfielder Peter Lowry, leading scorer Keith DeVey and freshman all-WCC selection Jide Ogunbiyi. Other returning starters include midfielders Erik Ustruck and Brian Curry as well as defenders Matt Hatzke, Matt Marquess and Jamil Roberts.

2006 Santa Clara Men's Soccer Spring Schedule

Day Date Opponent Site Time
Saturday April 1 Toyota College ClassicTemecula, Calif. all day
Saturday April 8 Intra-squad ScrimmageBuck Shaw Stadium tba
Saturday April 15 San Jose StateSan Jose, Calif. tba
Saturday April 22 Intra-squad ScrimmageBuck Shaw Stadium tba
Saturday April 29 SCU vs. Sacramento State
Sacramento St vs. CS Stanislaus
SCU vs. CS Stanislaus
Buck Shaw Stadium 10:00
11:30
1:00
Saturday May 6 Intra-squad ScrimmageBuck Shaw Stadium tba
Saturday May 13 Cal PolyBuck Shaw Stadium 11:00
Monday May 15 Golf TournamentCinnabar Hills GC 12 Noon
Friday May 19 StanfordStanford, Calif. tba
Saturday June 5 Intra-squad ScrimmageBuck Shaw Stadium tba