Zavaleta, Soffner Selected in Major League Soccer Draft
Jan. 17, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana University sophomore forward Eriq Zavaleta was the 10th overall pick by the Seattle Sounders, and the New England Revolution in today's Major League Soccer SuperDraft took senior goalkeeper Luis Soffner 36th overall at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
Zavaleta and Soffner become the 40th and 41st Indiana players selected in the MLS Draft since the league's inception in 1996. The Hoosiers' last draft selections came in 2012 when Tommy Meyer was the 19th overall selection by Los Angeles Galaxy and Chris Estridge was the 21st overall selection by the Vancouver Whitecaps.
All-American Nick Garcia remains the highest-ever IU player selected as the second overall pick in 2000.
Zavaleta was a member of the 2013 Generation adidas class. He 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).
"It's a tough thing watching a bunch of guys go in front of you," Zavaleta said. "I never knew exactly where I was going to go, but to have a team trade up for you is exciting and it says they really want me. This has been a dream of mine for such a long time to hear my name called was a great feeling."
"We are excited for Eriq to be going to Seattle, which is a great club," said IU head coach Todd Yeagley. "They have an excellent tradition and some of the best fans to play in front of. It is a great city and a great staff. They have some positional needs and Eriq's chance to play will come sooner rather than later. Seattle is near the top of the heap when it comes to MLS franchises."
"This is an absolute dream come true," Soffner said. "I'm so excited and honored to have been selected by the New England Revolution. It's tough for goalkeepers to get picked in the SuperDraft and I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity. I can't wait to meet my teammates and begin training."
"New England has been monitoring him all year and we knew they really liked him," Yeagley said. "They see a really good future in him and his upside, as we all know, is tremendous. It is a team that has made some changes in the last year or so and it is a great city to be in. Luis is very motivated and excited for this opportunity. I know he'll do very well with them.
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).
Zavaleta had a Big Ten-best seven game-winning goals, including winners against Cincinnati, Clemson, Wisconsin, Butler, and 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.
Soffner was a four-year starter for Indiana, starting 83 of 84 career matches. He owns a career record of 47-26-11 with 32 shutouts and a 0.93 goals-against average.
His best year came in his final season in the Cream and Crimson as Soffner started all 24 matches in the Hoosiers' NCAA Championship season. He finished the year with a career-best 12 shutouts, including three-straight clean sheets against North Carolina, Creighton and Georgetown en route to the College Cup title.
With a 16-5-3 record in 2012, Soffner was named the defensive MVP of the 2012 College Cup and to the College Cup all-tournament team. He was a three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in 2012 and served as team captain alongside Caleb Konstanski.
Zavaleta is the 13th first-round pick in school history. He joins Meyer (Los Angeles, 2012), Bruin (Houston, 2011), Balchan (Columbus, 2011), Kevin Alston (New England, 2009), John Michael Hayden (Houston, 2007), Danny O'Rourke (Houston, 2005), Drew Moor (FC Dallas, 2005), Pat Noonan (New England, 2003), Garcia (Kansas City, 2000), Aleksy Korol (FC Dallas, 2000), Lazo Alavanja (FC Dallas, 1999), and Chris Klein (Kansas City, 1998) as first-round selections.
Indiana ranks second among college programs with 41 MLS draft picks since 1996. Since 2008 the Hoosiers have had 13 players drafted, with 11 of those coming in the SuperDraft.
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