Even with field time eliminated at this point thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ballistic United Soccer Club has continued to take steps forward to continue to build the prominence of the 50-plus year-old youth soccer club.
Within the last month it was the announcement of BUSC being selected to join the MLS Elite Player Development Platform. That was followed this week by the hiring of former MLS player and Northern California resident Eric Denton as a coach.
“I am extremely grateful to BUSC’s Kevin Crow and Jerry Losson for this unique opportunity in leading the newly formed Ballistic U-16 MLS Elite DA,” said Denton. “When I was approached about the role it was something that immediately had me excited about the possibilities and the challenge.”
Denton joins BUSC by coming over from the Tri-Valley Soccer Club. Initially, Denton will be coaching a U-19 Comp team, as he is bringing his entire team from TV United as they play out their final youth season together.
Denton will also be heading up the U-16 Developmental Academy team, and it is a coup for BUSC to land Denton.
Born in Virginia, Denton came west at the age of two when his family moved to Manteca. He spent his youth years playing for Stockton Cougars, and was selected for the ODP teams (prep-PDP programs), as well State and Regional teams. Denton was also selected to be part of the U.S. Youth National Team pool.
After graduating from East Union High in Manteca, Denton went on to play four years for Santa Clara University. Denton was a two-time All American for the Broncos, playing in the NCAA Tournament all four years.
As a junior Denton was part of a Santa Clara team that lost in the semifinals of the tournament, before coming back in his senior year to lead the team to the National Championship game before falling.
He was drafted by D.C. United in the 2000 MLS draft and played 10 years in the league playing for D.C., the Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids, and the San Jose Earthquakes.
In 2003 he was named the Crew Defender of the Year, and in 2005 he won the Rapids Black and Blue Award, voted by the fans and the team for the player most representing the attitude, competitive spirit, and club embodiment on the field.
Being an alum of MLS gives Denton a unique perspective of what the league will bring to the elite youth soccer programs.
“This new platform entered into and being led by MLS for their own Academy teams and the Elite Clubs – like BUSC – is a pure pathway for challenging the elite players in the U.S. in their individual and collective development,” said Denton. “Fully aligned with MLS and creating synchronicity with the highest level of professional play in our country for our Academy players, whose aspirations are to one day be professional players themselves. BUSC is a widely known club with a tremendously positive and respected reputation. A destination club – a destination Academy for those players willing to challenge themselves at the highest level of play.”
Denton was also a member of the U-23 U.S. National Olympic Qualifying team for the 2000 Olympics.
Once done playing, Denton has coached youth soccer for the Mill Valley Soccer Club (3.5 years), followed for five years with the Tri-Valley Soccer Club. He moved to Pleasanton with his wife and two young children a year ago.
By Dennis Miller