In the 19-year history of Major League Soccer, only five Boston College Eagles have earned the honor of being selected in the draft. Of that group, only one, Paul Keegan in 1996, was taken in the event’s first round.
On Thursday afternoon in Indianapolis, BC seniors Kyle Bekker and Charlie Rugg took one major step forward in their professional careers. Bekker was selected an impressive third overall by his hometown club, Toronto FC, while Rugg landed as the final pick of the first round with the LA Galaxy.
“It’s a nice surprise definitely to hear your name called, but I’ve always been confident in my own abilities,” Bekker said in an interview with Toronto FC’s official website. “For the last few days I think I showed well. Personally I think I belong here and I deserve to be here and I’m just excited to have the opportunity.”
Bekker, hailing from Oakville, Ontario, will be going home to join a team that finished last in 2012 among the 19 teams that comprise the MLS. Ed Kelly’s squad will sorely miss the center midfielder, who leaves the Heights with the second most assists (22) in program history, eighth overall in points (56) and tenth in goals (17).
Bekker was the star of the recently completed MLS Combine, as he was named MVP of the event and saw his draft stock take a boost. The former Eagle is also a part of the Canadian national team and will enter training camp with a great opportunity to see game action right away.
“It’s definitely a little more special for me,” Bekker said of being drafted by his home team. “It’s a chance I can play in front of my friends and family back home and it means a lot. There’s a lot of pride in being Canadian and playing for a Canadian team.”
Rugg, so often the beneficiary of Bekker’s assisting prowess, will join the back-to-back defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy currently feature international stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, and are continually linked with England and Chelsea FC star Frank Lampard to replace the departed David Beckham.
Rugg was a three-time All-ACC selection while playing under Kelly, and the Massachusetts native ranked fifth all-time in goals (28) and points (74) in Eagles history. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena called Rugg, “a good attacking player with good pace and size,” in an interview with soccerwire.com.
Friday morning brought more acclaim to the Eagles soccer program, as seniors Kristie Mewis and Victoria DiMartino were selected by FC Kansas City and the Western New York Flash, respectively. Mewis was also the third overall pick of the draft, while DiMartino came in at number 22 overall in the third round.
The 2013 NWSL College Draft was the first for the nascent league, which is yet to hit the field. The league’s eight teams met in Indianapolis following the completion of the men’s event and each selected four players.
Mewis, a finalist for the Hermann trophy, has long been a member of the United States women’s national team and will leave the Heights as the program’s all-time leader in points (116), goals (39) and second in assists (39).
DiMartino, a Long Island native, leaves BC in third all-time on the career points list (93). DiMartino’s older sister, former Eagle Gina, was selected by the now-defunct WPS’ Boston Breakers.
Mewis and DiMartino are the seventh and eighth players to be selected in the college draft of a women’s professional league in the United States.