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Wenger rewarded for versatility with No. 1 pick
by Mike Woitalla, January 12th, 2012 6:01PM

TAGS:  mls, montreal impact


[MLS SUPERDRAFT] Andrew Wenger's parents remember his first goal well, back when he was 5 years old. "He scored at the wrong end," said his mother, Kathy Jo. "But at least he scored," joked his father, Jim, shortly after the Montreal Impact made Wenger the No. 1 pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.

After that inauspicious debut, pretty much all as gone well for Wenger all over the soccer field. The 2011 MAC Hermann Trophy started all 63 games during his three-year career at Duke, scoring 21 goals and 13 assists while playing in the back and up front.

He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year last season when he finished sixth in the nation among Division I scorers with 17 goals and eight assists.

That Andrew attended his mother’s alma mater, Duke, came about because Coach John Kerr noticed the Pennsylvanian in 2007 playing at the Disney's Soccer Showcase.

"I knew after 5 minutes I wanted to coach him,” said Kerr. “Here was an all-around soccer player who could read the game, had excellent tactical sense, a great athlete, and great technical ability.”

Wenger sharpened his individual skills by playing endless soccer in the backyard -- and in his room.

“He was always in the backyard,” said Kathy Jo. “He was very driven.  We had a rebound net. He spent a lot of time our there. ...

“His bedroom was above the dining room. So when the china and crystal started rattling, we knew he was up there juggling.”

Wenger’s parents say Andrew joined a soccer team at 5 because that’s what all the kids were doing. But as he got older, he became increasingly passionate about soccer.

“He tried all the sports -- baseball, T-ball, basketball -- but there was something special about soccer," said Kathy Jo. “He always kept pushing himself. ...

"When he joined a travel team, he’d tell us where to drive him. All we had to do was get him there.”

Wenger, who turned 21 last Christmas day, opted to skip his final year of college eligibility to sign with MLS as a Generation adidas player. By taking summer courses, he completed his junior year in December. He’ll continue at Duke in the spring semester and then will be just four classes short of a degree.

Kerr says MLS newcomer Montreal made a wise choice, because it can use Wenger up front, in the midfield or on the backline.

Asked where he prefers to play, Wenger smiled and said, “I like to be around the ball.”

  1. David Huff
    commented on: January 13, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.
    Talk about a curve ball, I thought of the Arsenal manager first and that something good had happened for the Gunners team and then had to come back down to earth.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: January 13, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.
    Wengner's pedigree reminds me of a NJ player on a travel team who was used as a forward by one coach (3 goals in 10 games); the following year switched to a libero by another coach and blossomed with 9 goals in 11 games from the back. Let's hope the Montreal coaching staff keeps Wenger in a happy mood.

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