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UCLA Soccer Standouts Rimando, Bocanegra Sign with MLS
By: UCLA Athletics

Feb. 1, 2000

UCLA juniors Nick Rimando and Carlos Bocanegra have given up their final year of eligibility to sign professional contracts with Major League Soccer's Project-40.

Rimando, a member of the U.S. U-20 National Team during the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championships, earned first-team All-MPSF Pacific Division honors last season while leading the Bruins to the national semfinals. The 1998 second-team All-American goalkeeper set a school record with 19 single-season victories in 1999 and ended his career ranked No. 2 on UCLA's all-time career goals against average list (0.67). He held a goals against average of 0.78 in 1999, tops in the MPSF.

Bocanegra, a bronze medalist at the 1999 Pan American Games and a teammate of Rimando at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championships, earned second-team NSCAA All-America honors in 1999 and was a first-team all-conference selection three times. As a freshman, he led UCLA to the 1997 NCAA Championship and was selected to the Final Four All-Tournament Team. The defender ended his Bruin career with nine goals and 10 assists.

"While we will definitely miss both Carlos and Nick next year, we are pleased that they will get the opportunity to play at the next level, and we certainly wish them the best of luck," said UCLA head coach Todd Salda?a. "They have served and represented UCLA Soccer very well. They will always be remembered for helping win a national championship in 1997."

As Project-40 signees, Rimando and Bocanegra will earn the minimum MLS salary and are awarded a five-year academic package covering tuition by the United States Soccer Federation. Project-40's goal is to provide each player with the opportunity to participate in 40-60 quality contests each year, on various professional levels, enabling the player to develop at a faster pace than ever before, during the extremely important years when he is 18 to 22 years of age. MLS has created a traveling Project-40 squad that will compete in the USL's Division II A-League during the summer of 2000. In addition to each player's MLS schedule, this ensures that each Project-40 player would play an unprecedented amount of games at the two highest professional levels available in the United States.

The two Bruins will be eligible for the 2000 MLS SuperDraft, which will be held Sunday, Feb. 6 at 10 am ET in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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