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Pro Bears: Former Cal soccer stars take part in MLS Is Back Tournament

Seven different Cal alum will take part in the opening tournament of the 2020 MLS season

MLS: 2020 MLS Portraits USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Soccer is back — literally. I mean, their tournament is named after that sentence.

The MLS Is Back Tournament is a round-robin event with 25 of 26 teams taking part in the tournament before their eventual season schedule is worked out later this fall. Taking part in and around the greater Orlando area, the MLS Is Back Tournament is set to host seven different former California Golden Bears soccer stars including Drake Callender, the former Cal goaltender, who now plays for Inter Miami CF — a first-year club owned by David Beckham.

Callender didn’t see action in Miami’s 2-1 loss to Orlando City in the tournament opener nor against Philadelphia but is likely to see some in their remaining games. They play next on Monday, July 20 at 9:00 AM ET against New York City FC.

Fellow former Cal goaltender Stefan Frei has also seen action for the Seattle Sounders — and he kicked off his tournament in terrific form with a shutout draw against the San Jose Earthquakes back on the 10th.

However, on Tuesday, July 14, in an early-morning matchup against the Chicago Fire, Frei allowed two goals in a 2-1 loss. They play next on Sunday, July 19 at 7:30 PM ET against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

In the aforementioned San Jose vs Seattle game, Cal fans were treated to a Bear on Bear matchup when Nick Lima fielded a shot and two fouls for San Jose, despite the draw. Lima and the Quakes are in action today, July 15 at 6:00 PM ET against the Whitecaps.

Former Cal players Hector Jiménez (Columbus Crew), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Sam Junqua (Houston Dynamo) and David Bingham (Los Angeles Galaxy) are also scheduled to take action.

Jiménez was part of the Crew’s 4-0 shutout victory over FC Cincinnati on July 11 while Birnbaum and United finished a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on July 13. Junqua didn’t see action in Houston’s first game, a 3-3 draw versus LAFC while Bingham allowed two goals in a loss to the Portland Timbers.

They’re in action in the following games next:

Jiménez and Columbus take on the New York Red Bulls on Thursday, July 16 at 10:30 PM ET.
Birnbaum and D.C. United play the New England Revolution on Friday, July 17 at 8:00 PM ET.
Junqua and the Dynamo take on the TImbers on Saturday, July 18 at 8:00 PM ET.
Bingham looks to rebound against LAFC on Saturday, July 18 at 10:30 PM ET.

Follow along with the MLS Is Back Tournament online at