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Rising Star Profile: Maurice Edu
by Bryan Alvarez, July 9th, 2008 7AM

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[MLS] Maurice Edu won the 2007 MLS Rookie of the Year award after scoring four goals in 25 starts with Toronto FC. The first-year performance earned him U.S. national team duty. The Californian, who has 11 starts in 2008 and leads Toronto FC in assists with three, is aiming for a spot on the U.S. U-23 squad in next month's Olympic Games. Get to know Edu in this profile by Soccer America's Bryan Alvarez that covers on- and off-field experiences ...

MAURICE EDU
(Toronto FC)

POSITION: Midfield

AGE: 22

HOMETOWN: Fontana, Calif.

YOUTH CLUB: Pateadores

COLLEGE: Maryland

INTERNATIONAL: U.S. men's national team (7 caps; debuted against Switzerland on October 17, 2007); U-23 men's national team.

STARTING OUT: Everyone in my family played. I started playing at a young age. I fell in love with it.

EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: Growing up, there was a park by my house. We'd all go to the park and train as a family. We had a lot of fun playing and learning.

FIRST CLEATS: Mitres. I didn't know any better. I just wanted to play. They were probably an old pair from my dad.

CURRENT CLEATS: Adidas AdiPURES.

OTHER SPORTS: I played football and basketball with friends. Soccer was the only organized sport I played.

FAVORITE TEAMS: Manchester United, Barcelona, AC Milan. From non-soccer teams, the Chicago Bulls.

FAVORITE PLAYER: Michael Jordan. It's the way that he carries himself on and off the court. He's a role model.

FAVORITE MOVIES: "Superbad," "City of God," "American Gangster."

FAVORITE ACTOR: Denzel Washington.

FAVORITE ACTRESS: Jessica Alba.

FAVORITE TV SHOW: "Entourage," "Nip/Tuck." I get caught up in reality shows, too.

LIVING SITUATION: I have my own place in downtown Toronto. It's a fun city.

2008 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES: A lot of guys are doing well. New England has a few guys. For us, Jarrod Smith and Julius James are doing well. Sean Franklin's doing well in L.A., too. If I had to pick a top three I'd say Franklin (L.A.), Smith (Toronto FC), and Brandon MacDonald (L.A.).

MLS EXPERIENCE: So far, it's been unreal. Fortunately, things have gone well. Now I want to build on that. It's all a part of a learning process. Now I want to elevate my game. The team is doing better this year so that's good. I want to help us make the playoffs and make the most of my opportunities.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE: It was good. It really prepared me for MLS. It was a professional environment. The coaching, the facilities, the school itself ... it all helped me get here. My time at Maryland helped me mature my game and mature as a person.

MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): I was raised not to take things for granted. You have to take advantage of your opportunities because it could all be gone tomorrow. I try to prove myself every day.

HOBBIES: I go to the movies and play a lot of video games, especially FIFA. There's a lot to do here. I go to fairs and festivals.

MEETING FANS AROUND TORONTO: The fans have really taken to the team. I get recognized sometimes but it's not overwhelming. It's a good balance. I'm still able to do my day-to-day stuff. It's fun chatting it up with the fans.

MUSIC: Hip Hop and R&B. I like Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West.

READING: I'm reading one of Michael Jordan's books, "Driven from Within."

VACATION: I haven't been on vacation in awhile. I want to go to Europe: Italy, Portugal, the Bahamas and Jamaica. I want to go everywhere.

FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and Pele.



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