Oct. 18, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - Major League Soccer announced the finalists for its season awards on Wednesday and two former Santa Clara University standouts, Mehdi Ballouchy and Joe Cannon, were among the finalists. Ballouchy is one of three finalists for the league's Rookie of the Year award, while Cannon is one of three competing for Goalkeeper of the Year honors.
Ballouchy, who was the 2005 West Coast Conference Player of the Year, was drafted second overall by Real Salt Lake in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft and had a sterling first season with the club. He appeared in all 32 games for RSL and started 26, while scoring two goals and dishing out two assists. In his first season, Ballouchy helped Real Salt Lake double its win total from the previous season and post 39 points, 19 more than 2005. At SCU, the former Gunn High School (Palo Alto) star appeared in 42 games over two seasons and scored four goals while handing out 16 assists. He earned All-American honors in both 2004 and 2005. The Rookie of the Year award will be announced on Oct. 31.
Cannon is seeking to win his third Goalkeeper of the Year award after taking home the honor in both 2002 and 2004. Cannon started 28 games in goal for the Colorado Rapids this season, helping the team qualify for the playoffs by posting seven shutouts and a 1.55 goals against average. Cannon was also selected to the MLS All-Star Game and helped the MLS All-Stars defeat Chelsea FC in the midsummer classic.
He played three seasons at Santa Clara and finished his career with a 0.94 goals against average and 15 shutouts, while helping the Broncos to three NCAA Tournament appearances. His 518-minute shutout streak in 1995, when he earned All-American honors, ranks second all-time in school history. He was also named WCC All-Academic on two occasions (1996, 1997). The Goalkeeper of the Year award will be announced on Oct. 19.