Men's soccer: UConn seniors looks for success in MLS
After a heartbreaking loss to Creighton in last year's NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, head coach Ray Reid and the rest of the UConn soccer team hoped to avenge their loss to the Blue Jays with another deep tournament run, resting largely on the backs of Mamadou Diouf, George Fochive and Andre Blake. Although the Huskies were once again eliminated in the quarterfinals with a 2-1 loss to Virginia, these three players will take the next step in their careers as they head to the MLS.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake built off of his phenomenal freshman and sophomore year campaigns with another stellar season. Blake won the American Athletic Conference's inaugural Goalkeeper of the Year award with a 0.75 goals against average along with 10 shutouts and 10 wins. Blake also earned National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) First Team All-America Honors and was named to the NSCAA All-Northeast First Team.
Blake decided to forgo his senior season at UConn, and instead signed a Generation Adidas contract with the MLS. The decision paid off, as the Philadelphia Union traded up for the first overall pick and made Blake the first goalkeeper taken first overall in MLS history.
Blake's former teammate Mamadou Diouf was the second Husky drafted, taken 30th overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps. The senior forward from Dakar, Senegal played through a lingering hamstring injury to provide much needed offense in the NCAA tournament, scoring his only two goals of the season in the first round against Quinnipiac and in the second round against UMBC.
Diouf is currently on a season-long loan to the Charleston Battery of the USL PRO. The Battery are an affiliate of the Whitecaps, and Diouf has been loaned there to garner experience on the pitch and with the professional lifestyle.
The third and final UConn player taken in the Superdraft was midfielder George Fochive, who was selected by the Portland Timbers with the 39th overall pick. After playing two years at Hawaii Pacific University, Fochive transferred to UConn for his final two years of eligibility, and this season he was named second team all AAC and to the NSCAA All-Northeast first team along with Blake. Fochive will give the Timbers more depth in the midfield for last year's regular season Western Conference champions.
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