There’s one star on a UCSB men’s soccer jersey, symbolizing the national championship won in 2006.
The Gauchos will have two stars on the pitch in Philadelphia next Wednesday (July 25) for Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game.
Attacking midfielder Chris Pontius of DC United and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy of Chivas USA were selected by MLS All-Star coach Ben Olsen to the 18-player team that will play UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea FC of England at PPL Park. (ESPN, 5:30 p.m.)
They are the first Gaucho players to be named MLS All Stars. And they are both deserving of the honor.
Kennedy is among the league leaders in saves (58), shutouts (5) and goals against (18 in 17 games).[VIEW VIDEO]
Pontius is arguably the leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. After suffering a broken leg near the end of last season, he’s come back to lead DC United with nine goals (including 5 game winners) in just under 1,000 minutes of action. [VIEW VIDEO]
Kennedy, too, has worked himself into top form after suffering several injuries in his career. He played in 32 matches during the 2011 season and was named Chivas’ MVP. He has now established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the league.
“I try to do everything within my control to be ready for that time to succeed, and preparation has just become more important and more a part of my everyday life,” Kennedy, 29, told MLS.com. “It’s much more of a full-time job than it’s ever been.”
On playing in the All-Star Game, “Hopefully it’s something that I gain experience on and it will just help me,” he said. “It’s more of the honor of being there than anything else, being recognized by the league is just a very nice pat on the back.”
Kennedy will back up First XI fan selection Jimmy Nielsen of Sporting Kansas City.