SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Former Bronco All-American Mehdi Ballouchy is once again calling Santa Clara's Buck Shaw Stadium home. The seven-year MLS veteran was acquired by the San Jose Earthquakes in a deal that sent an international player spot and a 2013 draft pick to the New York Red Bulls.
Ballouchy played significant minutes in his Quakes' debut Tuesday night, nearly setting up a second-half goal during San Jose's 2-2 draw in a friendly on SCU's campus against Swansea City of the English Premier League.
"Obviously the trade happened so fast," said Ballouchy, who was notified of the deal on Monday and played for his new team Tuesday. "But when I found out I was coming to San Jose it immediately became a homecoming for me, connecting with friends, and of course coming back to Santa Clara. Making that transition has been smooth."
Ballouchy was a First Team NCAA All-American while playing at Santa Clara in 2004 and 2005. He helped the Broncos advance into the NCAA tournament in both years, achieving a national ranking as high as No. 4 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
He was named the 2005 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and was taken No. 2 overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake. He became the highest overall pick ever from Santa Clara and the sixth Bronco to be selected in the first round.
"I'm looking forward to it," Ballouchy said about his return to San Jose. "I feel very comfortable here. I actually came back during the offseason and worked out with the (SCU) team. Just being around Leavey, Santa Clara, and the coaches was fun, because I remember I was in their shoes not so long ago."
Ballouchy is a proven professional talent, serving as an attacking midfielder, first for Real Salt Lake (2006-2007), then at Colorado (2007-2010) and New York (2010-2012).
"I've admired his play over the seven years he's been in the league," Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop said in a club statement. "He's steadily improved since joining MLS. Mehdi's a good player, a great addition to our team and we're looking forward to having him here in San Jose."
The next chance to watch Ballouchy and the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium is on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. against the Seattle Sounders. San Jose leads the MLS in goals (45) and with a 13-5-5 record and 44 points, the Earthquakes are currently the league's best team.
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