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Wake and Maryland top the charts
by Ridge Mahoney, January 15th, 2009 8:15PM

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The trend in MLS is clear: teams are much more aggressive and confident in drafting players from the top college programs.

Three players from Division I champion Maryland were taken in the first round and ACC rival Wake Forest landed two selections. In all, six Demon Deacons and five Terps were selected amongst the 60 players drafted by the 15 MLS teams.

"Anyone who landed a kid out of Wake Forest or Maryland has to be pretty happy," said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who used his first two selections (No. 3 and No. 19 overall)  on  Terrapins Omar Gonzalez and A.J. Delagarza coached by Sasho Cirovski. "Jay [Vidovic] does a fabulous job with that program and Sasho does at Maryland.

"Those are the kind of kids who've had the right kind of training to take on this kind of challenge because every year to see some college kids who are not prepared to take on the challenges of professional soccer. If you get them out of the right programs, they're going to be a step ahead of everybody, and that's what you get with the kids from Wake and Maryland. Not to say that they're aren't other programs who do that as well."

As for prepping for the pros at Maryland, Gonzalez said, "The coaches at Maryland did a very good job of teaching me the game, and what was necessary for me to get to this level."

Wake Forest midfielder Sam Cronin went to Toronto with the second pick and says of Vidovic, "He's the best coach in the country in my opinion and he does a great job of developing players every year. That's why we have five guys here ready to get drafted."

That number rose to six when Jamie Franks and Marcus Tracy, who signed with Danish club Aalborg yet was drafted anyway, were chosen in the fourth round.

"I just know that [the Sounders have] some good players. I looked over the roster obviously. The main name I saw was Freddie Ljungberg, who played at Arsenal. I grew up watching him play and I'm excited about him. I don't know yet [how I'll fit in]. I'm just going to go over there and play. I'm confident in my abilities and what I can do. Obviously, coach [Sigi Schmid] has seen some stuff in me that he likes, and he's got ideas and we'll see how it works out."

-- Akron's Steve Zakuani, a former member of English club Arsenal's youth program, was taken with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.



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