UCLA's presence in Major League Soccer is somewhat staggering. There are 20 Bruins on opening-day rosters, at least one for 11 different clubs. Several others were in camps during preseason and could crop up again.
Westwood has long produced top players -- at least three in every U.S. World Cup team back to 1990, usually in important roles; on the last seven men's Olympic rosters; and 61 Bruins have played in MLS since the league's 1996 debut.
The 20 this year includes Galaxy forward Chad Barrett, midfielders Kyle Nakazawa and Michael Stephens, and goalkeeper Brian Perk, and Chivas USA midfielder Peter Vagenas.
The others, by club:
Colorado Rapids: Defender Marvell Wynne.
FC Dallas: Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
New England Revolution: Midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Kelyn Rowe, and goalkeeper Matt Reis.
Philadelphia Union: Forward Chandler Hoffman and midfielder Amobi Okugo.
Portland Timbers: Midfielder Sal Zizzo.
Real Salt Lake: Defender Tony Beltran and goalkeeper Matt Reis.
Seattle Sounders: Forward David Estrada, midfielder Andy Rose and defender Patrick Ianni.
Sporting Kansas City: Defender Chance Myers.
Vancouver Whitecaps: Defender Jordan Harvey.
That's not all. Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid played at UCLA, then guided the Bruins to three NCAA titles before winning MLS Cup titles with the Galaxy and Columbus Crew. Chivas USA assistant coach Greg Vanney played at Westwood. Sounders technical director Chris Henderson, part of the 1990 World Cup side, is a member of the fraternity.
Former Chivas USA captain Jonathan Bornstein, now in Mexico, is a Bruin. So are Jimmy Conrad, who moved into Chivas USA technical department after retiring last year; Frankie Hejduk and Sean Alvarado, who were with the Galaxy last year, and Maxwell Griffin, a second-division forward who spent time last season with San Jose.
UCLA's former MLS standouts also include National Soccer Hall of Famers Cobi Jones and Paul Caligiuri, slam-dunk future inductee Brad Friedel (with Tottenham in England) and U.S. national team captain Carlos Bocanegra, a two-time MLS Defender of the Year toiling for Rangers FC in Scotland.
Here's this week's power rankings:
1. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (0-0-0, 0 points), Last Week: 2
Last week: Idle after David Estrada and Brad Evans fueled 2-1 win over Santos Laguna in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
We say: UC Irvine-produced national-team pool midfielder Brad Evans says Santos is “the best team we're going to face all year.” He's probably right.
So Cal hero: Lots to choose from. We're rooting for Riverside's Sammy Ochoa, who landed in Seattle after playing in Mexico.
Next: Wednesday in a Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Santos Laguna (Mexico), 5 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura); Saturday vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
2. REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 3
Last week: Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola add to an own goal as RSL scores three in the last 18 minutes to beat the Galaxy, 3-1.
We say: Kyle Beckerman huffs after beating Galaxy: “When have they been the better team? … They never possess the ball. They sit in. It's a matter of if we score or not. We're always going to have the possession.”
So Cal hero: Montclair's Nick Rimando might be MLS's best netminder.
Next: Saturday vs. New York, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
3. GALAXY (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 1
Last week: The Galaxy rally for a 2-2 Champions League draw at Toronto FC, then concede a late lead in a 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, ending a 25-game HDC unbeaten streak.
We say: Goals-against average after two games: 2.5. In preseason: 1.89. Last year: 0.79.
So Cal hero: Bell Gardens' Hector Jimenez is a winger ready to contribute.
Next: Wednesday in a Champions League quarterfinal second leg vs. Toronto FC at Home Depot Center, 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura); Sunday vs. D.C. United at Home Depot Center, 4 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and Galavision).
4. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 4
Last week: C.J. Sapong's header deep into stoppage topples D.C. United in Washington.
We say: Eastern favorites opening-day aims -- set-piece goal, victory -- are met.
So Cal hero: Thousand Oaks' Chance Myers has evolved into one of MLS's rising stars.
Next: Saturday vs. New England, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
5. FC DALLAS (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 5
Last week: Blas Perez sets up Zach Loyd, Ricardo Villar in 2-1 win over visiting New York.
We say: David Ferreira's return could come this weekend. If he's healthy and in form, Hoops contend for everything.
So Cal hero: Palos Verdes' Kevin Hartman has been a first-rate MLS goalkeeper since 1997.
Next: Saturday vs. Portland, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
6. HOUSTON DYNAMO (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 7
Last week: Andre Hainault in right place (in front of goal) at the right time (92nd minute) to beat Chivas USA, 1-0.
We say: Solid lineup one of MLS's best, but more flair needed in attack.
So Cal hero: Goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley was a Galaxy coach during Frank Yallop's all-too-brief regime.
Next: Saturday vs. San Jose at AT&T Park (San Francisco), 2 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
7. NEW YORK RED BULLS (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 6
Last week: Kenny Cooper scores in his debut, in his hometown, but it's not enough in a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas.
We say: So much talent, but prove you can win. Without Luke Rodgers.
So Cal hero: Another reason to hate the Red Bulls: No locals.
Next: Saturday at Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
8. PORTLAND TIMBERS (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 9
Last week: MLS Player of the Week Kalif Alhassan sets up Kris Boyd with a fine cross in a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia.
We say: Video of the week: Timbers Army serenading the nation.
So Cal hero: UCLA alum Sal Zizzo, from San Diego, is the only one.
Next: Saturday at FC Dallas, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
9. COLORADO RAPIDS (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 10
Last week: Kosuke Kimura assists goals at the end of each half in dominant 2-0 triumph over Columbus.
We say: Missing ITC keeps Argentine playmaker Martin Rivero on the sidelines.
So Cal hero: Former UCLA star Marvell Wynne, from Poway near San Diego, is key at the back.
Next: Sunday at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).
10. TORONTO FC (0-0-0, 0 points), LW: 12
Last week: Idle after a 2-2 draw with the Galaxy in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
We say: Torsten Frings could play any of the 10 field positions and be a stud.
So Cal hero: Rookie midfielder Luis Silva played for Pateadores, at Salesian High School and at UC Santa Barbara.
Next: Wednesday in a Champions League quarterfinal second leg vs. the Galaxy at Home Depot Center, 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura); Saturday at Seattle, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
11. CHICAGO FIRE (0-0-0, 0 points), LW: 10
Last week: Idle.
We say: Fire prepare for opener by being NASL's Minnesota Stars.
So Cal hero: Woodland Hills' Orr Barouch, an Israeli national-teamer, is a rising striker.
Next: Saturday at Montreal, 11 a.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
12. D.C. UNITED (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 14
Last week: Capital-ists lose a point when Sporting Kansas City scores in stoppage for a 1-0 decision.
We say: Forward Josh Wolff adds “assistant coach” to his job description.
So Cal hero: Yorba Linda's Chris Pontius combines skill with a blue-collar approach.
Next: Sunday vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center, 4 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and Galavision).
13. PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 11
Last week: First-half lead disappears on Zac MacMath's error, and then Portland rolls to 3-1 victory.
We say: Peter Nowak's youngsters get schooled, but he likes what he sees: “I’m not disappointed with anything.”
So Cal hero: Orange's Danny Califf is a leader on the backline.
Next: Sunday vs. Colorado, 1 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).
14. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 16
Last week: Chris Wondolowski -- who else? -- tallies at the start as Quakes edge New England, 1-0.
We say: Shea Salinas' return to the Quakes pays off quickly.
So Cal hero: So many to choose from. Lawndale's Rafael Baca has grabbed a starting job in midfield in his second season.
Next: Saturday vs. Houston at AT&T Park (San Francisco), 2 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
15. CHIVAS USA (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 15
Last week: Fine effort wasted at the finish in 1-0 loss to visiting Houston.
We say: Unjust result, perhaps, but Chivas needs to learn how to win.
So Cal hero: Yorba Linda's Dan Kennedy was the Goats' MVP last year for good reason.
Next: Saturday vs. Vancouver at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22).
16. COLUMBUS CREW (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 8
Last week: Crew can't keep with playoff nemesis Colorado in a 2-0 loss.
We say: Bye week welcome after anemic display in Denver.
So Cal hero: Riverside's Chad Marshall has long been among MLS's top center backs.
Next: March 24 vs. Montreal, 1 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
17. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-0-0, 3 points), LW: 17
Last week: Canadian derby goes to the 'Caps, with Eric Hassli playing key roles in goals by Sebastien Le Toux and Camilo in a 2-0 win over Montreal.
We say: Le Toux's fourth-minute goal is fastest to start an MLS season. Plenty more to come.
So Cal hero: Palos Verdes' John Thorrington is solid in midfield, when he's healthy.
Next: Saturday vs. Chivas USA at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22).
18. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 18
Last week: Revs can't get enough from their attack in 1-0 loss at San Jose.
We say: Poor passing -- just 68.6 percent completion rate -- won't help turnaround.
So Cal hero: Mission Viejo's Matt Reis is an institution in the nets.
Next: Saturday at Sporting Kansas City, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
19. MONTREAL IMPACT (0-1-0, 0 points), LW: 19
Last week: MLS's 19th team folds in its debut, losing, 2-0, to Vancouver in a match that transfixes our northern neighbors.
We say: Capacity for the home opener at Olympic Stadium is boosted to beat city's 31-year-old soccer attendance record of 58,542.
So Cal hero: Newport Beach's Tyson Wahl is a backline option.
Next: Saturday vs. Chicago, 11 a.m. (MLS Direct Kick).