The American university system has not only developed standouts for our US National team, but for other nations as well.
Honduras had Roger Espinoza (Ohio State) and Ramon Nunez (SMU) on the field for them today.
New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen was an All-America at Stanford University before moving on to the professional ranks, and teammate Tony Lochhead (UC Santa Barbara) set up the tying goal for New Zealand yesterday as they claimed a valuable point in group play.
Tony Lochhead was part of history when he played soccer at UCSB in 2004, helping the Gauchos reach their first NCAA College Cup.
On Tuesday in Rustenberg, South Africa, the first Gaucho to play in a World Cup again was a part of a historical soccer moment, this time for his country, New Zealand. He was on the field when teammate Winston Reid scored on a header in the waning seconds of extra time to gain a dramatic 1-1 tie against Slovakia in a Group F match.
The result gave the All Whites their first-ever point at a World Cup. They went 0-3 in their only other tournament appearance in 1982.
Lochhead joined in the post-goal celebration when Reid ripped off his jersey and ran over to the sideline to rejoice in front of the New Zealand fans in the stands. Reid was given a yellow card for his antics.
Lochhead came close to helping New Zealand tie the score in the last two minutes of regulation play. Coming up from his left fullback position, he delivered a beautiful crossing ball to Shane Smeltz in the middle of the penalty area. Smeltz got his head on the ball but shot it wide.
Lochhead played the entire match. He took three shots and was booked with a yellow card.
The draw means all four teams in the group — Italy and Paraguay are the others — are even with one point. New Zealand next plays Italy on June 20.
When he held down the left fullback spot for the UCSB men’s soccer team from 2001 to 2004, Lochhead played like a professional. He was athletic, calm under pressure, tough, technical and possessed tremendous savvy on the pitch.
Lochhead has been playing for New Zealand’s national team, known as the All Whites, since his junior year at UCSB in 2003. He got his first call up that December and made his debut against Iran. He has 23 caps.
“It is a great thrill for us at UCSB to have a player playing and representing his country,” said UCSB men’s soccer head coach Tim Vom Steeg, who recruited Lochhead and Neil Jones after seeing them play in the Under-17 World Championships. “Tony has done a great job at locking down that left back position for the past five or six years now.”