Do you know the way to San Jose? Andrew Hoxie does: Get chosen by the soccer team that plays there.
Hoxie, a former Denbigh Baptist and William and Mary standout forward, was picked in the third round of last week's Major League Soccer SuperDraft by the San Jose Earthquakes. He was the 37th player selected.
But Hoxie doesn't know too much about his new employers yet.
"I know they need more attacking players," Hoxie said. "They're going to need more offense. We have some good defenders — Ike Opera (an All-American defender from Wake Forest picked third) is really good, and we have a couple of midfielders from Notre Dame (Michael Thomas and Justin Morrow, both taken in the second round) who are solid.
"I haven't talked to the coaches, but I've done a little research. I'm not sure what formation they play, but I'll find out in two or three weeks."
The Earthquakes came into the draft needing a lot of help. They finished last in the Western Conference with a record of 7-14-9 for 30 points, 10 points shy of the playoffs. Their 50 goals allowed were an MLS worst, which was why they went with Opera in the first round.
Their offense was less poor (36 goals), but forward Ryan Johnson was the only player to score more than five goals, netting 11.
That's where Hoxie hopes to step in. He recorded 35 goals and 21 assists for William and Mary and led the Colonial Athletic Association in goals (10) and assists (12) his senior season, winning the conference's Player of the Year award. He was third in the nation in assists per game and 11th in points per game in securing a spot on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's All-American third team.
"It was pretty much a toss-up" about where he'd be drafted, Hoxie said. "I could have gone in the first round, I could have gone in the fourth. It depended on which coaches wanted me or needed a holding forward."
A holding forward is one who usually plays with his back to the goal, keeping the ball to pass to other attackers — somewhat akin to a point guard in basketball, at least on the offensive end of the field.
"It gives you a bigger target for the midfielder and defenders," Hoxie said. "A holding forward makes things happen, if I do my job — hold the ball and distribute."
Professional soccer was Hoxie's goal as soon as he signed to play at William and Mary, but it wasn't until December's MLS draft combine that he firmed up his name as a possible pick. Hoxie scored two goals and added an assist in three games at the Florida event.
"I was never 100-percent sure that I was going to get drafted, but I helped myself doing well in the combine," Hoxie said. "I got my name out there, and I got drafted."
And now it's on to San Jose, Calif., a city about which he knows as little as the team it houses.
"I heard it's very nice," Hoxie said. "That's about all I know."
He'll learn more soon enough.
The Earthquakes open the season March 27 at home against defending MLS champion Real Salt Lake.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun