May 23, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - Former Santa Clara All-American Mehdi Ballouchy continues to make an impact in his first professional season in Major League Soccer. The Real Salt Lake midfielder scored his first professional goal last weekend against the Kansas City Wizards to help lead his team to its second consecutive victory.
Ballouchy picked up a pass from teammate Chris Klein, before striking a shot from the edge of the penalty box past Wizards goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi to tie the game in the 78th minute. The number two overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, Ballouchy has appeared in all eight matches so far for RSL, starting seven. He picked up his first assist of the season on April 29 against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
After a slow start to the season, Real Salt Lake has won two straight games to pull into fourth place in the Western Conference. Ballouchy and Real Salt Lake host the Colorado Rapids in their next game this Saturday, May 27 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will be broadcast nationally on television on ESPN2 at 1:00 p.m. PT.
Ballouchy, a native of Casablanca, Morocco, was a two-time All-America and was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2005. He was also 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 2005 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.