For the second consecutive year and for the fifth time since 2004, two Maryland players were selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, but forwards Patrick Mullins and Schillo Tshuma went later than anticipated Thursday.
Mullins — a back-to-back winner of the Hermann Trophy, which is awarded to college soccer's top player — was expected to be selected among the first five picks, but he was chosen at No. 11 by the New England Revolution.
Tshuma, who was projected to go somewhere in the top 10, was taken at No. 17 by the Portland Timbers.
Mullins, who capped his collegiate career with 47 goals and 25 assists, said he didn't feel snubbed by the freefall in the draft.
"I think my motivation going into camp is just to be the best player I can for the Revolution," he said after the first two rounds came to a close Thursday afternoon at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. "Crazy things happen on draft day that you can't control what happens. You just want to land in the best fit possible, and I think I really did that by coming to New England. I'm just excited to get to work."
Tshuma, who scored 16 goals and had three assists in two seasons, also said he didn't take offense to other clubs passing on him.
"I think a lot of people thought I was going to go higher than that, but as I was sitting there, all I knew was that it didn't matter what number I went or wherever I go or what team chose me," said Tshuma, who signed a Generation Adidas contract and decided to forego his final two years of college eligibility. "I was ready to go. I felt like whatever team picked me, that's where I was going to go. I guess I was meant to drop like that."
Mullins and Tshuma join previous Terps draft classes of 2004 (Clarence Goodson and Scott Buete), 2007 (Maurice Edu and Chris Seitz), 2009 (Rodney Wallace and Jeremy Hall) and 2013 (John Stertzer and Taylor Kemp) that featured two first-round selections.
"It just shows you how good of a program Maryland soccer is," Tshuma said. "It shows you how hard Sash [head coach Sasho Cirovski] and [assistant coaches] Brian Rowland and Michael Dellorusso work. They keep a very professional environment, and it's no surprise. Every year, Maryland is going to have kids in the SuperDraft just because of the hard work the coaches have put in. Maryland is a great program."
Added Mullins: "It's a great day for Maryland forwards."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun