SMU Men’s Soccer Produces Four MLS Players

January 19, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Erica Penunuri
epenunuri@smu.edu

SMU men’s soccer continues to impress this season with four former players signing with the MLS.  Leone Cruz, Craig Hill and Kekoa Osorio were drafted in the Major League Soccer’s supplemental Draft, while Josue Soto signed a contract soon after.

Kekoa Osario drives the South Carolina offense in a conference game this season. Osorio signed with the MLS team FC Dallas. (PHOTO BY MARISSA BELSKE / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Cruz was third pick in the second round, making him 21 overall by the Seattle Sounders last Thursday. Osorio and Hill were drafted by FC Dallas Tuesday. Osorio was taken as the 35th pick while Hill was 53.

The players say they are eager to advance in their soccer careers, and are thankful for the experiences that have shaped them here at SMU.

“SMU has helped in many different ways,” Cruz said. “Obviously the soccer training and facilities helped in a competitive perspective but it was my maturity through education that really helped.”

Cruz played defense in his 67 games with the Mustangs. For his efforts this season, Cruz was named to the NSCAA Midwest Regional Second Team as well as the Conference USA Second Team.

“This [soccer] is a profession and the players have to conduct themselves in a professional manner. My education at SMU has provided me with confidence during interaction with media and a better understanding of the business transactions within the league,” Cruz said. “I look forward to training hard and and becoming a part of a great organization.”

Hill started as goalie for SMU for three years. He recorded four shutouts and posted 1.06 goals-against average this season. Hill said he will gain, “the opportunity to play at the next level and the chance to show that I can play at that and I’m excited to do so,” at FC Dallas.

His future teammate, Osorio, is also eager to further his soccer career with FC Dallas. The SMU midfielder gave credit to SMU for bettering him on and off the field.

“SMU has not only made me a better player but a better person through the many experiences offered here in Dallas,” Osorio said.

Soto has the chance to return to his home city with the signing of a contract with the Houston Dynamo. Soto played a big factor in the Mustang’s success this season, contributing 7 assists, 7 goals and an overall 21 points.

The SMU men’s soccer program had an impressive record of 16-2-2 in 2010. The Mustangs made it to the Elite Eight where they were eliminated by North Carolina.

Former SMU Men’s Soccer Coach: Where he is Now

September 8, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Kimmy Ryan, Brad Namdar
kryan@smu.edu, bradnamdar@yahoo.com

FC Dallas intern Brad Namdar, an SMU journalism major, sat down with FC Dallas Major League Soccer (MLS) Head Coach Schellas Hyndman to ask him some questions.

Hyndman was the SMU men’s soccer coach from 1984-2008. Over his 24 years at SMU, he had a 368-96-38 record, earning eight League Coach of the Year Honors, five Regional Coach of the Year Honors, and many other awards.

Currently, Hyndman is the head coach of FC Dallas. The team is having a record-breaking season with only two losses thus far. FC Dallas tied the World Champions, Inter Milan, in August (final score 2-2). FC Dallas is currently one of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer, and their leader is one of our own.

Interview:

Namdar: If you weren’t a coach or involved in soccer, what would you do?

Hyndman: I think I would be involved in martial arts, sense that’s where my developments been and it’s something I’m very passionate about..

Namdar: Schellas, you served an Estagio (internship) at Sau Paulo FC in Brazil. Tell us a little about your Estagio, and what advice do you have for young players/coaches that aspire to make it to the professional level?

Hyndman: I think the big thing is to continue to keep the passion. And, stay focused on what you really want in your life. When you’re given an opportunity like this “Estagio,” you have to really be able to embrace it and understand that these opportunities are not for everyone. If you want to coach at whatever level, it is important you go through the coaching education courses so at least you have the foundations and principles about coaching.

Namdar: Where do you see the future of FC Dallas Soccer?

Hyndman: I would hope the future of FC Dallas Soccer is competing for a MLS championship, and to have a stadium packed with loud and passionate fans. Also, to have the community very supportive and energized about their home-town team.

Namdar: Do you ever miss SMU? What are some of your favorite memories?

Hyndman: Everyday I think about SMU. I have so many wonderful memories of the Hilltop and will always be a Mustang. There are so many great things that come to mind when I think of SMU.

SMU Alum Posts Solid Rookie Season for FC Dallas

December 2, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

By Estela Nunez
enunez@smu.edu

The trademark blue and red colors of the Mustangs are a thing of the past for SMU alum-gone-pro Bruno Guarda. Red and white were the colors he wore one recent morning as he kicked the ball around on the practice fields at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco during his last training session of the 2008 season.

He played three years for SMU before turning pro in 2008.

As a rookie with FC Dallas, Guarda saw plenty of playing time this past season. He played 822 minutes in 12 games. Although he received a large amount of playing time, the shift from college to pro wasn’t easy.

“I’m used to scoring and assisting more, but that will all come with time and experience. I just have to be patient,” said Guarda of the transition.

During SMU men’s 2008 fall soccer season, Guarda’s familiar face in the Mustangs starting lineup was missed by fans at Westcott Field. Don’t fret though; he didn’t go too far. You can catch him in action at Pizza Hut Park, the home of his new team FC Dallas where he is coached by his former SMU coach Schellas Hyndman.

Marcie Jimenez, who is a longtime fan of Guarda, goes out to Frisco with her family to watch him play as often as possible.

“We are happy for him here with FC Dallas, but we definitely miss seeing him in action at SMU,” said Marcie Jimenez.

When he gets a chance to relax, Guarda enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, who attends SMU, and listening to Pagode music. His favorite soccer player is Kaka, who is from Brazil and plays for A.C. Milan.

The Brazilian midfielder led SMU in goals, assists, shots, and game-winning goals in the 2007 season. He has also been named the two-time Conference USA player of the year.

Guarda signed with Major League Soccer (MLS) on July 20, 2008 with only a year of college remaining. He was majoring in international studies, with a minor in Spanish.

“It was a tough decision, but at the end of the day soccer is and has been my passion for as long as I can remember,” said Guarda.

Guarda, whose biggest influence is his father, also took into consideration the advice of both his parents, Clever and Katia Guarda, and his older brother before making the final decision.

“Ultimately I had to consult with my family before choosing to go pro; they would have supported me equally on whatever decision I made. With my rookie season completed I do feel I made the best decision,” said Guarda.

Guarda was placed in what is called the weighted lottery. This is offered to players that have been previously been asked to join the league and declined.

“The first time around I declined the offer simply because I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared for the big move. Now I’m here and couldn’t be happier,” said Guarda.

Initially Guarda was acquired by the Colorado Rapids, but that was short-lived since he never actually joined the team. Why? Coach Hyndman, who was familiar with Guarda and his style of play knew that he wanted him to be part of the FC Dallas squad. Hyndman sacrificed his second and third round picks of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft as well as an allocation to Colorado in exchange for Guarda.

Hyndman, who was born in Macau, coached at SMU for 24 years. The Eastern Illinois alum, who is also an established Aiki Ju-Justso coach, has earned eight league and five regional Coach of the Year honors with the Mustangs.

The 22-year-old Guarda, who was born in Piracicaba, Brazil, came to Dallas when he was 15 to join a local club soccer team, The Dallas Texans. While there he earned several championships.

SMU senior forward Paulo da Silva, who is also from Brazil had been teammates with Guarda since they mutually joined The Dallas Texans Soccer Club in 2002. They remained teammates at SMU until Guarda joined FC Dallas.

“It would have been nice to complete our last year at SMU together; we have shared so many great memories through soccer here in Dallas from the time we both arrived from Brazil. I’m happy for him though,” da Silva said.

Guarda also got to enjoy the sweet taste of his first career goal as a professional soccer player during this season. He wants this streak to continue next year, so during off-season he will be training hard on his own to better himself.

“I have to keep working during off-season because I want to be prepared for next year, and have a spot on the starting 11,” said Guarda, who will travel to Brazil to be with his family during the off-season.

“It’s crazy how my maturity level has risen during the season. This year my priorities were different from last year. As a professional soccer player I have to really take of myself,” said Guarda.