It's fitting that the Men's College Cup will be played at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Dallas soccer has had a big impact on the college game. All four Men's College Cup teams have key players who hail from the Dallas soccer community. Two played for the Texans -- St. John's Ale Ivo and Maryland'sOmar Gonzalez -- and two played for Solar -- Wake Forest's Corben Bone and North Carolina's Cameron Brown. They'll each square off in Friday's semifinals.
ALE IVO (St. John's). Ale (full name: Alexandre) is part of the pipeline of Brazilians to the Oakridge School in Arlington, Texas.
Most of the Oakridge Brazilians, including FC Dallas rookie Bruno Guarda and Ivo's younger brother, Arthur, have headed to SMU.
Ale chose St. John's, where he started 14 games as a freshman and 16 games as a sophomore. He was involved in the buildup that led to the golden goal, a Nelson Becerra penalty kick, that completed the Red Storm's comeback against Indiana.
"It's an awesome feeling to know I 'm going to my host family and friends," said Ivo, who played club ball for the Dallas Texans.
"They taught me English," he says of his host country."They taught me the culture of the country. They introduced me to soccer here -- how everything works and college soccer. It couldn't be more perfect than that."
OMAR GONZALEZ (Maryland).At 6-foot-5, Gonzalez has the body of a football player. He was a place kicker at Skyline High School in Dallas and his brother, Adrian, played professionally in the Arena Football League.
Omar was discovered late in the cycle of the U.S. U-17 national team that competed in the 2005 Under-17 World Cup in Peru. He had played midfield for the Dallas Texans and up front for the U-17s, through his future is as a center back, the position he plays for Maryland.
Gonzalez, the 2007 ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, could join the list of Terrapins who turn pro early. He'd probably go high in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft if he elects to sign with MLS.
CORBEN BONE (Wake Forest).For weeks, the pressure was building on Bone. Friends and family had been calling about the defending champions returning to the College Cup. First, the Deacons had to get the job done. With a 7-0 win over Dartmouth in the third round and a 5-0 win over South Florida in the quarterfinals, Bone is indeed returning home.
Bone, who played his club ball for Solar and before that Andromeda and attended Plano High School, leads the nation with 17 assists and is third on Wake Forest with 31 points.
In 2007, he earned 2007 Soccer America Freshman of the Year honors despite being sidelined for six games with a hip-flexor injury. He finished with five goals, eight assists and 18 points.
Like his Wake classmate Ike Opara, considered the nation's top young defender, Bone could go high in the MLS SuperDraft if he turns pro.
CAMERON BROWN (North Carolina).After the Tar Heels beat Northwestern on Saturday, Brown took off his shirt and showed of a T-shirt with a hand-written message that said, "I'm Going Home." Garland, Brown's hometown, is about 30 miles from Frisco.
Brown played with Bone for Solar, whose '89 team is one of the best teams to ever come out of Dallas. After several near misses, it won its first national championship in 2008 when it captured the McGuire Cup.
Brown, who attended Garland's Naaman Forest High School, was a part-time starter as a freshman in 2007 but has started 21 or 22 games in midfield in 2008, scoring three goals and five assists.