By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Despite being predicted by many experts to be selected in the first round of last week’s MLS SuperDraft, former West Virginia Mountaineer defender Eric Schoelnle had to wait almost a week to finally hear his name called.
Schoenle was chosen by the Philadelphia Union with the 12th pick of Tuesday’s MLS Supplemental Draft. The 6-foot-2 centerback is originally from nearby Yardley, Pa.
“I’m so excited to be selected by the Philadelphia Union,” Schoenle said. “I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity to play professionally. I’d like to thank the coaches at WVU for helping me get to where I am today; without them I wouldn’t be here. I’m looking forward to getting into camp and getting to work with the Union.”
“We are obviously thrilled for Eric and even happier that his hometown team has selected him,” Mountaineer coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “Philadelphia is an excellent organization, and John Hackworth and his staff have proven that they are the best at developing young talent.”
Schoenle’s wire thin frame — he’s only 147 pounds — was viewed as a deterent for many MLS clubs looking to bolster their squads for the physically demanding season. Schoenle will be reunited with former teammate at WVU, Raymon Gaddis, who was selected by the Union in the second round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.
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Also selected in the draft was Marshall University goalkeeper Daniel Withrow. Considered by many to be the top goalkeeping prospect in a weak draft for the position, Withrow was selected with the 28th pick of Tuesday’s draft by the 2008 MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew. He was named the Conference USA Player of the Year in soccer and also holds the record for most career shutouts for the Thundering Herd with 21.
Withrow will have to fight for a position for Columbus as there are already two impressive keepers on the Crew’s roster, Andy Gruenebaum and former standout from Ohio State, Matt Lampson.
“We’re excited to get Daniel into preseason camp,” said Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss. “He had a strong college career, and we look forward to having him compete to make our roster.”
Both players are expected to join their new teams at training camp this week.
Major League Soccer will start the 2013 season on March 2. The Crew will travel to Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA while the Philadelphia Union will welcome Sporting Kansas City to PPL Park on March 4.
— E-mail: jrollins@
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