Pro soccer dreams not dead yet
Penn’s Gorskie and Tasigianis fall out of MLS SuperDraft but keep hope alive
January 19, 2011, 3:14 am · Updated January 19, 2010, 12:00 am·
Even though several recent Penn opponents had their numbers called during the Major League Soccer draft this past Thursday, none were representatives of the Red and Blue.
According to men’s soccer coach Rudy Fuller, however, a couple of his seniors have not given up on their dreams of playing professional soccer.
For Penn senior midfielders Jason Gorskie and Loukas Tasigianis, the decision to play professional soccer does not come with much security. Both have been in talks with MLS teams to play next season, but neither has officially signed.
Tasigianis was offered a chance to play for the Chicago Fire this preseason, which begins in February, but turned down the opportunity to stay in school and graduate. Tasigianis has not yet made a decision about his plans after graduation.
“My whole life I’ve played soccer, but I have kept in my mind the idea that there is a real world and as much as it’s [been] my dream, I’ve always kept my options open, and I will in the summer as well,” Tasigianis explained.
Gorskie, who tried out for a few MLS teams but did not receive an offer for preseason yet, has not decided whether he would leave school if he received an offer.
“I’m kind of on the fence between the MLS and not playing soccer,” the Marlboro, N.J., native explained. “If I had the chance, I’d like to pursue it.”
Gorskie expects to hear from any interested MLS teams within the next week and would talk the decision over with his family, coaches and some other advisers.
Gorskie and Tasigianis would not be the first Penn soccer players to play in the MLS. Recent Red and Blue, goalkeeper Danny Cepero and midfielder Alex Grendi, were drafted by MLS teams in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Both played briefly — Cepero will even go down in the record books as the first MLS goalkeeper to score a goal — but both are no longer in the league.
“When I first arrived at Penn back in 1998, I am not sure we had anybody that was looking to play after school, and I think that’s changed,” Fuller said.
“The beauty of it is that they have a really difficult choice. Many of them have a great job waiting for them in the real world but also the opportunity to play if they choose to pursue that,” he added.
Two of Penn’s opponents this season received that rare opportunity. Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath and Penn State forward Corey Hertzog were taken in the first round of Thursday’s 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
MacMath will be playing for the Philadelphia Union, while Hertzog will play alongside Thierry Henry for the New York Red Bulls.
Both collegians decided to leave school in the middle of their junior years to enter the draft under the Generation Adidas program. This selective program chooses about 10 underclassmen each year and offers them the chance to enter the draft early and receive guaranteed contracts and scholarship money if they choose to finish school.
For the two 2011 first-rounders and players like Cepero and Grendi, Fuller doubts that they’ll have any regrets.
“It’s once in a lifetime,” he explained. “You got to take the opportunity now if its something you want to do because the opportunity is fleeting.”