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Ready for Mehdi

January 20, 2006 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Real Salt Lake News Release

SALT LAKE CITY (Friday, January 20, 2006) - Real Salt Lake today selected 22-year old playmaker Mehdi Ballouchy (buh - LOO - chee) with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Philadelphia, Penn. Ballouchy, a 5-foot-11, 165-lb. attacking midfielder from Santa Clara University, will provide RSL Head Coach John Ellinger with additional talent in the midfield.

"We are excited to add a player of Mehdi's caliber to our rapidly improving young squad," said Ellinger during today's draft. "Throughout our scouting efforts of college games during the last two NCAA seasons, and during last week's MLS Combine, the RSL coaching staff felt that Mehdi stood heads-and-shoulders above his competition. He is a difference-maker, and we expect him to quickly adjust to the MLS level and contribute to our 2006 campaign."

Ballouchy, a native of Casablanca, Morocco and the son of a former French second division player Driss Ballouchy, earned numerous honors and awards following his junior campaign with the Broncos. In 2005, the First-Team NSCAA/adidas Men's Division I All-America standout was also named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, a consensus first-team All-America by such distinguished publications as Soccer America, Soccer Times and College Soccer News. Ballouchy was also a semifinalist for the 2005 MAC Hermann Trophy.

Prior to declaring as an underclassman for the MLS draft, Ballouchy played two seasons (2004-2005) where he played in 42 games with 41 starts for the Broncos, notching four goals and adding 16 assists. He transferred to the Bay Area soccer power after spending one season (2002) with Creighton University, where he was a main fixture in the midfield starting 20 of 24 games, tallying five goals and adding four assists.

Ballouchy is a 2002 graduate of Henry Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif. He spent his junior season at South High School in Denver, Colo., where he earned all-league honors. In addition, he played at Yassine High School in Casablanca, Morocco during his first two prep seasons. Ballouchy was a member of the Morocco U-17 and U-16 National Teams and played in youth program of the local professional team, Raja Casablanca.

"Ballouchy's exquisite passing skills and obvious technical expertise bode well for his professional career," said RSL General Manager Steve Pastorino. "We are excited to invite him into an environment where he can learn from such established veterans as Jason Kreis, Andy Williams, Carey Talley, Douglas Sequeira and Jeff Cunningham, and help propel us towards our goal of winning MLS Cup 2006."

Please log on to www.MLSnet.com or www.RealSaltLake.com for complete results of today's MLS SuperDraft. Media outlets can log on to www.WireImage.com for photos of today's event, including those of Ballouchy, Ellinger and Pastorino.


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