Nearing the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, the Games are underway with the start of men’s and women’s soccer round-robin competition.
Thirty-six years ago, forwards Mani Hernandez and Jim Zylker of San Jose State made their way on the pitch for Team USA in Munich. That year, the United States played with West Germany, Morocco and Malaysia in Group A. The United States finished with one draw and two losses.
Hernandez and Zylker were teammates in 1971 and two of the Spartan greats who played for the Julie Menendez-led San Jose State powerhouse men’s soccer teams of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Menendez was the USA assistant coach for the 1972 Munich Games and the head coach for the 1976 team.
Zylker, a 1972 All-American, scored 47 goals and added 27 assists during his three seasons with the Spartans.
Hernandez was the 1968 Hermann Award winner as the nation’s top college soccer player and a two-time All-American. He was one of the most prolific scorers in San Jose State history with 68 goals and 29 assists. Like Zylker. He went on to play professionally in the North American Soccer League with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Current San Jose State men’s soccer head coach Gary St. Clair was a goalkeeper on the 1976 USA team led by Menendez. St. Clair was credited with 18 shutouts during his four seasons as the Spartans’ netminder.