August 9, 2005

Bronco Men's Soccer Prepared For Success

Aug. 9, 2005

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A deep and talented team will greet head coach Cameron Rast and his staff next week when the Santa Clara University men's soccer team arrives on campus for fall practice.

Season and single game tickets, group packages and family plans to watch the Broncos at home in Buck Shaw Stadium this season are available by calling 408/554-4660 or by clicking here. For those who are unable to attend the games, Bronco Athletics will provide a live GameTracker feed via the Internet as well as a live audio broadcast of every home games and selected away contests.

Rast, in his fourth season as SCU's head coach with a 41-16-5 record that includes an appearance in the 2003 College Cup, will lead his team to 21 total practice sessions beginning Wednesday, August 17. The team opens a grueling early season schedule against UCLA in a tournament at Cal State Fullerton on Friday, Sept. 2.

"Our goal during the preseason will be to become well-prepared for a good start to a challenging season," said Rast. "We open the season with two teams who are perennially in the national top 10 and two others who are regularly very successful and will provide good tests for our team."

The Broncos welcome back 19 letterwinners and eight starters from its team that finished last season with a 15-6-0 record and the program's 14th NCAA Tournament appearance.





"We have four freshmen and a transfer who I expect can make an immediate impact, either in playing time or in a starting role, on our team this season. I'm excited that we have such a strong group to come in and challenge for positions."
Cameron Rast on his class of newcomers in 2005.


Among the deep group of returning players who make up the core of SCU's squad is Mehdi Ballouchy, easily considered one of the nation's most creative and talented college players. A junior from Casablanca, Morrocco, Ballouchy was a first-team all-West Coast Conference selection last season and looks to repeat as the team's leading scorer and playmaker.

"Mehdi is really one of the special players in the college game this year," said Rast. "Tactically and technically, he is ahead of all the best in college soccer at this point. I think has the ability to impact a game like few players in college can."

Fortunately for Rast, he has a number of outstanding players that provide for strong team chemistry. Senior forward Kelechi Igwe will use his speed and experience to keep opposing defenses on the heels. He hopes to cap his successful career at SCU as potentially the team's top goal scorer.

Sophomores Peter Lowry and Jamil Roberts will look to register breakout seasons after excellent freshman campaigns a year ago. Lowry, a midfielder from Fair Oaks, Calif. scored four goals last season and emerged during the early part of the season as an offensive threat for the Broncos. Roberts, a defender from Fremont, Calif. and the brother of Los Angeles Galaxy defender Troy Roberts, should anchor an experienced defensive unit that led the WCC in fewest goals allowed last season.

In addition, players who will be counted upon to make significant impact this season as seniors include forward Ryan Wolfe, midfielders Hector Guzman, Jeff Scott and Cardiff Schmitz and defenders Eric Irvine, Ryan Purtell and Alex Tablin-Wolf.

"The guys have worked hard during the summer and I think they are more prepared coming into the preseason than they have been in quite some time. I really like the dedication of this group, particularly the upperclassmen."

Following season-opening matches against UCLA and Fullerton, Santa Clara travels to College Park, Md. to face the third-ranked Maryland Terrapins and Georgetown before returning to Buck Shaw Stadium to play Stanford in the home opener on Sept. 16. Other non-league games include Cal, Florida International and San Jose State.

"We'll need to get settled in right away since we play such a tough early season," said Rast. "Our players will need to learn a lot early, regardless of whether or not we get favorable results. We are most concerned with making progress, improving and becoming better at the end of the season when it counts the most."