Though it’s unusual that a member of Chivas USA would cheer for a player on an opposing team, midfielder Michael Lahoud is rooting for New England’s Zack Schilawski.
Yet when you consider that the two played three years of college soccer together at Wake Forest University, it’s easy to understand why Lahoud might be supportive of Schilawski’s exploits in New England. At least until the Revolution play Chivas USA.
“Zack’s a dear friend of mine,” Lahoud said of his former teammate. “He’s an intelligent player and a great guy.”
Lahoud and Schilawski played together from 2006-2008 at Wake Forest, with each serving as a vital part of the squad that won the NCAA National Championship in 2007. Their partnership at the college level ended when Lahoud was taken ninth overall by Chivas USA in the 2009 MLS Super Draft.
A year later, Schilawski was also taken ninth overall, which in the 2010 MLS Super Draft landed him at New England. The young striker quickly announced himself to MLS by scoring three goals in the span of eleven minutes to lead New England to a come-from-behind 4-1 victory over Toronto FC last Saturday.
“I’m proud that he had a hat trick,” Lahoud said. “It’s a testament to all the hard work that he’s done at Wake Forest and all the hard work he’s done in New England. He’s an intelligent player and he displayed that.”
The feat is perhaps even more impressive considering that Schilawski wasn’t even a full-time starter until his senior year at Wake Forest.
“He was in a weird situation because of the depth of strikers that we had in Marcus Tracy and Cody Arnoux,” said Lahoud. “But he always put the team first. Whether he got ten minutes in the game, or started the game, he’d always find a way to make an impact with a goal or an assist.”
Lahoud saw every minute of Schilawski’s hat trick performance, and called his old friend to congratulate him. The support is not uncommon among Wake Forest alumni.
“If somebody scores a goal or picks up an assist, everyone always picks up a phone or sends an email,” Lahoud said. “I remember when Sam [Cronin] made the national team; I called him up, international calling fee and all, to wish him the best of luck. We’re always cheering for each other. We have that bond.”
Lahoud and Schilawski will face each other professionally for the first time next month when Chivas USA travels to New England to battle the Revolution on May 5.
Until then, Lahoud can keep cheering for his old buddy.