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Former Lion Rafael Baca Debuts With San Jose Earthquakes

July 12, 2011

SAN JOSE, Calif.--- In a whirlwind 48 hours, LMU's Rafael Baca officially signed a professional contract with the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer on Friday, then made his professional debut Saturday night in the team's 0-0 draw with the Philadelphia Union. Baca became the 10th player in LMU history to sign with an MLS team and joins Bobby Burling to give the Earthquakes two former Lions on their roster.

Baca (Lawndale, Calif.) had been training with the Earthquakes since mid-February and accompanied the team on its winter preseason tour of England. Upon returning stateside, the midfielder appeared in three games for the San Jose Reserves, getting the start in two of them.

After inking his contract on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed per league and team policy, Baca was in uniform with the first team as a substitute for Saturday's regular season match against Philadelphia. Wearing jersey number 30, Baca entered the match in the 80th minute in place of Simon Dawkins.

Baca is the latest in a line of players connecting LMU and San Jose. With the Earthquakes, Baca will be joining former Lion Bobby Burling `06, who is San Jose's starting central defender. Burling has started eight games and logged 720 minutes for the Earthquakes this season.

In his four-year Lion career, Baca was one of the most decorated players in program history. In 2010, he was just the fourth player to be named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America team, earning a place on the Third Team, and he was the first player in school history to be considered for the Hermann Award for national player of the year.

Baca was just the second LMU player ever to earn three consecutive All-West Coast Conference First Team honors and the league with eight assists in 2010, tied for second-most in a single season in LMU history. He led LMU to its first-ever WCC title in 2010 and to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, its first postseason appearance in five years. Baca leaves LMU as number two in career games played (79), shots (213), and assists (19), third with 57 points, and fourth with 19 goals.

-Courtesy of LMU Athletics