[FEATURE] Alejandro Bedoya's college journey began when he left his home in Weston, Fla., and enrolled at Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey.
It would be considered an unusual move for a Floridian to show up at FDU -- a big commuter school -- but Bedoya was following in the footsteps of his father, Adriano Bedoya, who starred in soccer at FDU and was later inducted in its Athletics Hall of Fame.
But after two stellar seasons, Alejandro Bedoya left FDU for Boston College, an ACC power in search of a replacement for Charlie Davies, who left with one year remaining to sign with Swedish club Hammarby. Once again, there was a family connection to Bedoya's transfer. His father had played for BC coach Ed Kelly when Kelly was the head coach at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Kelly knew all about the younger Bedoya. Alejandro scored two goals for FDU in his college debut -- against BC -- and he has not disappointed since joining the Eagles. Bedoya, this week's Soccer America Men's Player of the Week, is one of the big reasons Boston College ranks sixth in the country. He leads the Eagles with seven goals and seven assists in 14 games.
Bedoya is also part of a growing trend of transfers playing a huge role in men's college soccer.
As more players leave early for the pros -- MLS or Europe -- top college programs must scramble to find replacements.
Five other teams in this week's Top 10 to have gotten major contributions from transfers.
SMU.The Mustangs played four transfers in Saturday's 1-0 win over Memphis, the Mustangs' seventh straight win. Former U-17 Adrian Chevannes came to SMU in 2004 after one season at Clemson, sat out the 2005 season but has emerged as a big force the last two seasons. Scott Geppert and Ben Shuleva arrived from Brown and St. John's, respectively, last season, though Geppert's campaign was cut short because of a season-ending knee injury in early October. He has returned to score four goals this fall. Gabriel Arredondo is in his first season with the Mustangs after starring at Texas JC power Tyler Junior College.
CONNECTICUT.Jamaica international Akeem Priestley's arrival last year from Jacksonville followed the move of other Jamaican transfers to Storrs, most notably Damani Ralph, whom was discovered playing at Meridian Community College in Mississippi. Priestley (three goals and eight assists) is part of one of college soccer's most feared attacks. On defense, Oscar Castillo, a first-year transfer from California JC Mt. San Antonio College, has been invaluable as a fill-in after veteran Karl Schilling was injured.
SANTA CLARA.Former transfers Matt Marquess(2004 NCAA Division III runner-up UC Santa Cruz) andBrian Martin (leading scorer for Furman as a freshman in 2005) have fit in nicely with the Broncos. Marquess started 45 straight games in his first two seasons at SCU and Martin started all 23 games last season up front, and they are both regulars in 2007.
CREIGHTON. Andrei Gotsmanov, whose father Sergei Gotsmanov played for the Soviet Union in the 1998 European Championship final against the Netherlands and later immigrated to Minnesota, sat out two years after beginning his college career at St. John's, but he has been an important contributor at Creighton with four goals and four assists. Tim Walters' father of the same name was a college star of note at Indiana in the 1970s, and the biggest goal young Tim has scored since arriving from Kentucky in 2006 came earlier this season when he scored the winning goal against -- you guessed it -- Indiana. Chris Schuler was selected to Soccer America's All-Freshman second team last year after red-shirting at Indiana in 2005.
VIRGINIA TECH.Most teams look at other college programs for transfers. Virginia Tech, whose unbeaten streak reached 14 games on Tuesday night, looked to Europe for college transfers, four of whom have been starting this fall. The best known of the first-year players is 6-foot-6 forward Robert Edmans from Loughborough University. Hokie coach Oliver Weiss, who was born in German and came to the United States as a high school exchange student, brought in three first-year Germans as underclassmen this fall. Georg Zehender, 25, played at the University of Karlsruhe, while Stefan Hock, 23, played for the University of Munich. Goalie Markus Aigner, also 23, had playing experience in the Bavarian Oberliga (German fourth division).