KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the first pick in the 2012 SuperDraft pick, the Montreal Impact snatched up arguably the best forward and defender in college soccer.
Though Darren Mattocks was rumored to be in the running for the top spot, Montreal went for what many called the most-polished prospect in the draft pool, drafting MAC Hermann Trophy winner and Generation adidas signing Andrew Wenger with the first overall pick.
“I’ve heard the buzzword is ‘versatility,’ so I’ll repeat that,” Wenger said. “So wherever (head coach Jesse Marsch) wants me to go. MLS is a lot quicker and a different game than college but we’ll see where I fit in.”
Wenger, 21, was named both national player of the year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year following a standout junior season at Duke in which he scored 17 goals and contributed eight assists while playing out of position. Projected to play either center back or defensive midfielder in MLS, he was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 before moving up top as a junior.
After anchoring Duke’s defense during his first two years at Duke, necessity forced Wenger to transition to striker last fall, and he proved his versatility by leading the ACC in goals and points (42) and finishing fourth in the nation in points.
“I’m playing center back for the national team right now and I’m trying to get used to playing in the back again after playing forward all year,” he said. “It’s just a little bit of a learning curve at the moment.”
During his three-year college career, Wenger started each of the Blue Devil’s 63 games, scoring 21 goals with 13 assists and played in all but 131 minutes of action. He was also named to the all-ACC first team all three seasons.
He will join a Montreal side that will play their inaugural MLS campaign in 2011. He is expected to play either center back or defensive midfield as a professional.
In addition to taking the first step forward in his professional career, Wenger is also pursuing a spot on the US Olympic team and is currently participating in the latest U-23 national team camp in advance of 2012 Olympic qualifiers to be held in March. He did not take part in the MLS Combine due to that commitment.
“I can’t wait to get going. It’s an honor,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential in Montreal and I’m happy to be a part of it.”