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Champions Trivia

With the Champions League completed and AC Milan reigning over European soccer again, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some tournament trivia.

Did you know......(drum roll please) ...... that a former NCAA Division III soccer player was once part of a Champions League winning club?

Argentina's Santiago Solari, now a midfielder for Inter Milan, played for Real Madrid during its 2002 European championship, but in the fall of 1994, he was a member of the Richard Stockton College squad in Pomona, N.J.

How did that happen? Solari's uncle, Jorge, was coaching Saudi Arabia in the '94 World Cup and, as a vaguely recall, his father was part of the delegation. The Saudis trained at Stockton for about a week before moving operations to Georgetown. The Solaris struck up a friendship with then Stockton coach Tim Lenahan and decided to send Santiago to school in the States. (Lenahan now coaches at Northwestern.) He spent just one season here before signing with Newell's Old Boys in Argentina and then moving on to Cesarini, River Plate, Atletico Madrid and then Real.

Now wasn't that more interesting than American Idol?

By Steve Goff  |  May 23, 2007; 8:47 PM ET
Categories:  College Soccer  
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Yes. God yes.

Posted by: T. Henry | May 23, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Solari's uncle, coaching the Saudi national team in '94, brought an Argentine YOUTH team up to Georgetown to train with the Saudis. That tells you something about the quality of the Saudi side. The Argentine side was either a U17 or U19 side with a 6'7" bald striker who was a beast. The Argentine lads were a good bunch of guys. It was funny how dismissive they were of the whole experience, actually.

Yep, the Saudi national team, keying up for Holland, Switzerland, etc., by training against Argentine teenagers...

Posted by: Erick | May 24, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm so pissed that Blake lost!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: lawrenceterp | May 24, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

There are some quality Div III soccer programs that often get overlooked, particularly in NJ.

Posted by: Kim | May 24, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Another missed opportunity for MLS :-)

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | May 24, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

There are some quality Div III programs that get overlooked across the country ... UC Santa Cruz, Williams, Messiah, Trinity, Stockton, etc.

Dan Calichmann, from that 94 U.S. Team, was a DIII player at Williams.

Posted by: G-Unit | May 24, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Khari Stephenson, another Williams grad, is on the Jamaican national team. He played for KC for a while and is currently on Sweden's AIK.

Greg Sutton, TFC 'keeper and member of the Canadian national team, played at St. Lawrence.

Posted by: Funk | May 24, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse


That Saudi side also got out of the first round, beating Belgium (they never played the Swiss) and outplaying Holland for long stretches in a losing effort. They (or Owairan, anyway) also gave RFK the distinction of having hosted the 2nd best World Cup goal ever the winner vs. Belgium). Go look it up.

The point being, don't knock that Saudi team.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | May 24, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Staying off topic:

Actually, since I wanted to watch it again anyway, I looked it up for everyone:

On topic:

Steven, what was that guy from Messiah's name that we drafted a few years back? Almost made the team, was invited to come back again the next season?

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | May 24, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"They (or Owairan, anyway) also gave RFK the distinction of having hosted the 2nd best World Cup goal ever the winner vs. Belgium). Go look it up."

God, I remember that goal. My dad got us tickets somehow or other. I wish I'd been older than 9 so I remembered it clearer.

Posted by: Colm | May 24, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

The Messiah player was Haydon Wentworth, I believe.

Posted by: Goff | May 24, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"I wish I'd been older than 9..."

The first WC goal I remember (on TV) when I was 8. It was from the tournament in Germany - in 1974.

Thanks for your comment. I feel much better now :-(

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | May 24, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

My bad...

Hayden Woodworth was the Messiah player with DCU briefly

Posted by: Goff | May 24, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow! who would have thought? Back in 94, I was a volunteer for the WC and was asked to interpret for the Saudi Team (in Spanish) that they werent allowed to scrimmage with the argentinian/NJ kids team. So I basically had to apologize for kicking the team out of RFK and remember all the young guys being disappointed and staring at the WC pitch.

Posted by: JM Carrillo | May 25, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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