1996 Clash | Where Are They Now: Midfielders

M Ben Iroha Clash Midfielder 1996-1997

Clash Career: Iroha was allocated to the San Jose Clash for the 1996 season. He recorded two goals and eight assists in their inaugural campaign, before being traded to the DC United four-games into the 1997 season where he won the league title.

Memories: “The first game we won against D.C. United and my assist to Eric Wynalda were very memorable.”

Since Then: After a short stint with Spanish side Elche CF in 1997, Iroha moved to Watford in December 1998 and featured in 10 games. After his retirement he returned to the United States to coach in the youth department of FC Dallas. In 2007, he helped lead the Nigerian U-17 team to a World Cup championship as an assistant coach before becoming the head coach of Nigeria's Dolphins FC. He currently has a soccer academy in Abuja, Nigeria.

M Missael Espinoza Clash Midfielder 1996

Clash Career: Espinoza signed with the Clash in 1996, scoring 10 goals in his only season with the team and earning honors as the club’s Most Valuable Player.

Since Then: After playing in MLS, Espinoza returned to Mexico, playing with Chivas when the club won the Verano 1997 title. He moved to León, where we would appear in 107 matches and score 19 goals over six seasons. In 1998, he joined Necaxa on loan, making 23 appearances in the club’s Invierno-winning season. He transferred to Querétaro upon the 2002 relegation of León and closed his playing career with his original club Monterrey in 2005. He currently lives in Monterrey, Mexico and coordinates matches and events for former Mexican National Team members.

M Paul Holocher Clash Midfielder 1996

Clash Career: The Clash selected Holocher in the fifth round of the MLS Inaugural Player Draft. Holocher was only able to play in four games during San Jose’s inaugural season due to a knee injury, scoring one goal. 

Since Then: After leaving San Jose, Holocher rejoined the California Jaguars for a season. The Chicago Fire then picked him in the second round of the 1998 Supplemental Draft. After hanging up his cleats, he pursued a collegiate coaching career, joining UC Santa Cruz from 1999-2006 and then Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from 2006-2013. Last year, the Earthquakes hired Holocher as the manager of their U18 and U16 Academy squads.

M Eddie Lewis Clash Midfielder 1996-1999

Clash Career: Lewis was drafted by the Clash in the third round of the 1996 MLS College Draft. He spent four seasons in San Jose, scoring nine goals and tallying 35 assists over 115 appearances. Lewis was named to the MLS Best XI in 1999.

Since Then: After his stint with the Clash, Lewis pursued a professional career in England, playing for several teams including Fulham, Leeds United and Derby County in addition to playing in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup for the United States National Team. He returned to MLS with the Galaxy in 2008, where he played two and half seasons before retiring from playing in 2010.

M Ramiro Corrales Clash Midfielder 1996-1997; Earthquakes 2001-2004, 2008-2013

Clash Career: Corrales was drafted 81st overall by the Columbus Crew in the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft and was immediately traded to the Clash. He made 25 appearances for San Jose over two seasons, while scoring one goal. 

Since Then: After spending three seasons with the Miami Fusion and MetroStars, he was traded back to the Earthquakes in 2001 and was an integral part of the 2001 and 2003 MLS Cup Champion teams. He played internationally in Norway from 2005-2007 before re-signing with the Quakes in 2008. Corrales captained the Earthquakes in 2012, helping lead the club to their first Supporters’ Shield. He was selected by MLS Commissioner Don Garber to participate in his first ever All-Star game. Corrales was the last remaining active MLS player from its inaugural season in 1996 upon his retirement in 2013. He passed his captain’s armband to Chris Wondolowski after playing his last game at Buck Shaw Stadium. Corrales is still the Quakes all-time leader in games played, minutes played and games started. Corrales was elected to the Earthquakes Hall of Fame in 2015.

M Jorge Rodas Clash Midfielder 1996

Clash Career: In 1996, Rodas became the first Guatemalan to play professionally in the United States when he was signed by the Clash. He played one season with the club, scoring one goal in 29 appearances.

Since Then: After the inaugural MLS season, Rodas was transferred back to Communicaciones, where he would stay until 2002. He went on to play until he was 35 for several clubs including Xelajú MC, Deportivo Jalapa and Aurora. He lives in his native Guatemala, overseeing a youth program while running his own sports marketing business.

M Henry Gutierrez Clash Midfielder 1996

Clash Career: The Clash selected Gutierrez in the 10th round of the Inaugural MLS Draft. He played in seven games for the club during the 1996 season, scoring one goal.

Since Then: After his stint in San Jose, Gutierrez went on to play for Rochester Raging Rhinos of the A-League. In late 1997, he was traded to the Seattle Sounders where he made 4 appearances. He rejoined MLS with the Miami Fusion a year later, scoring 14 goals and adding 25 assists over three seasons with the club. He completed his playing career with stints with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL Second Division and the Baltimore Blast. Since then, Gutierrez has pursued a coaching career. In 2008, he was hired as the assistant coach with the Cary RailHawks U23s and most recently he has severed as a coach for the TFCA Academy.

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