Former IU midfielders A.J. Corrado and Nikita Kotlov were selected in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft and will join their respective clubs for the upcoming 2014 season.
Corrado was chosen No. 47 overall by the San Jose Earthquakes, and Kotlov had his name called by the Portland Timbers with the No. 73 pick in the SuperDraft.
The two Indiana natives started a combined 114 games in Cream and Crimson and were key contributors in the Hoosier midfield over the past few seasons. They combined to score 32 goals and assist on 47 more during their time at IU and were starters on the 2012 NCAA College Cup-winning squad.
Corrado said before the draft that joining the professional ranks would realize a dream for him.
“It’s something you always dream about doing and really want to do,” he said. It is surreal when you actually get the opportunity to do it. It’s pretty cool.”
Both players will join Hoosier alumni at their new clubs.
Portland Coach Caleb Porter played at IU from 1994-97 and worked on former Coach Jerry Yeagley’s coaching staff from 2000-2005 before embarking on his head coaching career.
Corrado will join former IU forward Tommy Thompson as an Earthquakes newcomer. Thompson signed a Homegrown contract with the club last week after one season at IU.
This year’s SuperDraft marked the second in a row in which multiple Hoosiers had their names called.
Forward Eriq Zavaleta was selected in the first round (No. 10 overall) by Seattle Sounders FC and goalkeeper Luis Soffner was taken by the New England Revolution in the second round (No. 36 overall) in 2013.
Kotlov will square off against former teammate Zavaleta in what has been called the country's best soccer rivalry, a series of clashes between Pacific Northwest powers Portland and Seattle.
IU Coach Todd Yeagley, who played with MLS’ Columbus Crew from 1996-2002, said he will pass on what he learned from his experience – however outdated – to IU’s newest professional alumni.
“The league is a heck of a lot better than it was when I was playing, and the opportunities are harder to break into,” he said. “They have to be patient. They have to be hungry. They have to be extremely patient and coachable. Maybe it’s a new role to their team that they’re going to be pulled into and not worry about what decisions are being made.”
Yeagley said his staff has made every effort to mimic a professional environment in order to make players’ transitions more straightforward.
“They’re going to have to do everything in their power to prepare themselves on and off the field. That’s why we say we train as professionals now, so there’s not a shock to the system of what’s expected,” he said. “It’s a feather in the cap of the program.”
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