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The projected No. 1 draft pick you never heard of
by Paul Kennedy, December 14th, 2012 1:57AM

TAGS:  mls


[THIRTEEN FOR '13] Andrew Farrell proves you don't have to grow up in a soccer hotbed or play in a big-time youth program to make it. Few heard of him coming out of high school in Louisville. The son of Presbyterian missionaries who spent most of his childhood in Peru, Farrell is projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Louisville if he signs a Generation adidas contract.

Soccer has been part of Farrell's life since he moved with his family to Peru at the age of 5. But before his sophomore year in high school, his family moved to Louisville, where his father, Hunter, got a job as director of the Presbyterian World Mission.

The adjustment was tough for Andrew, but he won't trade for a minute the experience. He developed his soccer skills in the streets of Lima, where goals were four rocks. And he learned valuable life skills.

“The best part about being from Peru is that I can relate to lots of different cultures,” Farrell told the “You know, I can speak Spanish. And I know what it’s like to come to the United States from somewhere else.”

The big youth club in Louisville in Farrell's youth days was Javanon, a two-time national finalist in its age group, but he played at United 1996 FC, where the star was Sunny Jane, now at Maryland. It wasn't until he was his senior year at Atherton High School that he got a chance to play on the national stage, being selected to play in the 2009 USYS ODP Interregionals.

After high school, Farrell stayed close to home, enrolling at the University of Louisville, where he immediately stood out. It wasn't hard considering he wore shoulder-length dreadlocks and spoke mostly Spanish on the soccer field.

Louisville was loaded his freshman year, going unbeaten in 23 games before losing to Akron, 1-0, in the 2010 College Cup final. Mononucleosis sidelined early in the season, but it did not get him down, and he was inserted into the starting lineup for the first game of the NCAA Tournament and stayed there.

Halfway through his sophomore season, Farrell moved from midfield to the backline, where he has played ever since. He was named the 2012 Big East Defensive Player of the Year and became only the second Louisville player to earn NSCAA first-team All-American honors.

Toronto FC holds the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in the MLS SuperDraft, though it is believed to be shopping the No. 1 pick around to see what it could get for Farrell, considered by many the top prospect in a SuperDraft group diluted by the growing number of players whose rights are tied up by the MLS clubs for which they played academy ball.

Farrell, one of only a handful of underclassmen MLS has reportedly offered Generation adidas contracts to, follows in the footsteps of 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) and runner-up Nick DeLeon (D.C. United), who both finished up at Louisville in 2011.

2. Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina)
1. Wil Trapp (University of Akron-signed with Columbus Crew)

  1. Derek Mccracken
    commented on: December 14, 2012 at 9:36 a.m.
    Nice article. One point to make about the quote about developing his skills in Lima "where goals were four rocks". It makes it sound as though he grew up in this incredibly poor area, maybe playing with a ball made out of rags? I lived in Lima, Peru until I was in 4th grade (Peruvian mom & American dad) and then moved to the U.S. I googled Andrew Farrell and saw in another article that, his freshman year in Lima, he attended Franklin Delano Roosevelt School in Lima. This is the school I attended and can tell you that it is a very well-to-do, private American school with a pretty steep tution: Let's not always paint kids that grow up in Latin American or African countries as living in poverty. Some of these countries are beautiful and much more modern than many of you think.
  1. Michael Vann
    commented on: December 14, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.
    As a fellow Kentuckian it is nice to see someone from our state making an impact. professionals are few and far between. I may be a few years removed from living in KY but all my coaching friends have been ranting and raving about Andrew. Though be may have gone to a prestigious American school in Peru being that his parents were missionaries I'm sure he spent his share of time in the rough areas and did learn the game on the streets.
  1. Brian Bouhl
    commented on: December 14, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.
    The club he played for was United 1996 FC. Not Union.
  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: December 15, 2012 at 10:55 a.m.
    no youth club in Peru. Like most kids in the rest of the world, he learned by playing pick-up games (withouth adults coaching).
  1. Derek Mccracken
    commented on: December 15, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.
    Agree, Michael. with his parents as missionaries, I'm certain that he did play in some rough areas. However, since he moved to Peru as a toddler, the assumption is that he attended the FDR private American school from kindergarten through his freshman year and learned much of his soccer there. I used to play pick-up soccer at that school every morning before school. Anyway, all I'm suggesting is that writer's not be selective with information in order to paint a picture that they want to portray, even if it's not the truth. All it takes is a little bit more research which writer's are expected to do.

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