And he’s on to the pros! As many anticipated, after winning the 2012 NCAA College Cup Eriq Zavaleta left his beloved Hoosiers to enter the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. The draft took place on January 17, 2013 in Indianapolis. With all of the hype and talk, going into the draft Eriq was predicted to be a top 5 pick in the draft, going 4th to the New England Revolution. The weekend before the SuperDraft, there were 2 games to be played with all of the prospects. Eriq played the role of striker in the first game, which is where he played for the Hoosiers and also for our Westfield high school team that I was lucky enough to be a part of, with a soon to be MLS superstar! For the second and final game, Eriq moved down to center back (defense), which is where he played for the United States U-20 National as well as Bradenton Academy in Florida where he spent his sophomore and junior high school years.
After the two weekend games, Eriq was almost a sure fire top 5 pick until the Revolution made a deal on Wednesday with Toronto FC, who had the top pick in the draft. After Zavaleta was passed on as the first pick, it looked like he might have to wait a while before he heard his named called. Fortunately for him, the Seattle Sounders saw the talent and promise he possessed, and took Zavaleta with the 10thpick in the SuperDraft. Eriq then returned to Westfield for a couple days before heading to Seattle to begin his, hopefully, long and prosperous career in the MLS. Leaving Indiana he led the Big Ten in scoring on his way to being named the Big Ten offensive player of the year, the Big Ten All-Conference First team, and the Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Zavaleta has made a legacy for himself wherever he has played, starting at Westfield High School, and now going all the way to the MLS. Along with being a great player, Eriq is an outstanding individual. I had the pleasure of being a friend of Zavaleta’s through high school, soccer, work, and until now, Indiana University. Eriq will be missed here on campus as a superstar Hoosier, but we all wish him the best of luck and an amazing future in the world’s most beautiful game. Go get ’em ‘Riq!!
- Jordan Miller