Jan. 7, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana University sophomore forward Eriq Zavaleta announced today that he will forgo his final two seasons of eligibility to enter the 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
Zavaleta has signed a Generation adidas contract and will participate in the 2013 adidas MLS Player Combine and enter the professional ranks through the 2013 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas. The draft will take place January 17 at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention in Indianapolis.
The Combine runs Jan. 11-15 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
"I am honored to have been a part of this program at Indiana," Zavaleta said. "To leave this school as a National Champion is an amazing way to end my career here. I am very excited for my future, as I have dreamed about this since I was a little kid. Thank you Hoosier Nation for your amazing support."
In 2012 Zavaleta led the Big Ten and was tied for third in NCAA Division I with 18 goals scored. He was sixth in the nation in total points (40-18g, 4a) and seventh in goals per game (0.75).
"We are really excited for Eriq," said head coach Todd Yeagley. "It is a great opportunity for him. He has done a fantastic job for us here at Indiana and this is a unique opportunity to join the Generation adidas program. We know he'll do very well at this next step along his journey. We wish him well and thank him for his contributions at IU."
Zavaleta had a Big Ten-best seven game-winning goals, including winners against Cincinnati, Clemson, Wisconsin, Butler, Evansville. Perhaps the two biggest game-winning goals of his career came in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, with a goal in the 102nd minute to lead IU to a 2-1 win at No. 1 seed Notre Dame, and a goal in the 60th minute in the Hoosiers' 1-0 win at UNC to earn a spot in the College Cup.
Zavaleta also picked up one of his four assists this season on the game-winning goal in the Hoosiers' 1-0 triumph over Georgetown in the NCAA College Cup final.
For his efforts Zavaleta was a unanimous pick as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference selection. He was named an NSCAA third-team All-American, NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region team, College Soccer News All-American, College Cup All-Tournament team, Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Season, and was a three-time Big Ten Player of the Week.
Other national honors during the 2012 season included NSCAA National Player of the Week, Soccer America Team of the Week (twice), College Soccer News National Player of the Week, College Soccer News National Team of the Week (three times), Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week (twice) and Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week (three times).
The Westfield, Ind. native started all 46 matches he played in at IU, tallying 28 goals and nine assists (65 points). His 18 goals in 2012 ranks tied for 14th on the IU all-time single-season list, while his 95 shots ranks tied for seventh. Zavaleta finished his career with 10 game-winning goals and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the penalty spot.
As a freshman in 2011, Zavaleta was a unanimous pick as Big Ten Freshman of the Year and All-Big Ten first team.
Zavaleta is the third Hoosier in the last five years to sign a Generation adidas contract, joining Kevin Alston (2008-New England Revolution) and Will Bruin (2010-Houston Dynamo).
Players who join MLS as part of the Generation adidas program receive the opportunity to develop their game and hone their skills at the professional level. In addition to training and playing with one of Major League Soccer's 19 professional clubs, Generation adidas players receive educational grants to further their college education. Generation adidas players do not count against an MLS team's salary budget.