Zavaleta goes pro, Bruin called up

1 comment by   |   Monday, January 7, 2013 - 1:55 am EDT

Like many other Indiana University students, Eriq Zavaleta returned to Bloomington this week. Only he isn’t staying.

The standout sophomore forward leaves Thursday for the Major League Soccer (MLS) Combine, which begins Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as a result of signing a Generation Adidas contract this weekend to enter the MLS Draft and forgo his final two years of college eligibility.

“Ever since I can remember, all I wanted to do is play soccer for a living,” Zavaleta said Sunday afternoon.

Part of that is the result of having a father and an uncle who did likewise. Carlos Zavaleta, a native of El Salvador, played collegiately at UCLA, then enjoyed a professional career on the West Coast, while uncle Greg Vanney was also a UCLA standout before going on to play for the United States national team and the MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy.

“It’s been a dream of mine since my dad played professionally and my uncle played professionally,” the Westfield native said. “It was something expected of me and something I wanted to do.”

Now he has the chance to see that dream come true in his backyard, with the MLS Draft set to take place on Jan. 17 in Indianapolis. It will be the capper on a whirlwind six weeks for Zavaleta, who is just a month removed from helping Indiana win the national title.

“This last month has been an absolute dream to me, almost every dream I’ve ever wanted in the soccer world has been reached,” Zavaleta said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and it’s such a grateful feeling to know what you can accomplish. I’ve accomplished a lot in the past month, and there is so much more to be accomplished.”

Zavaleta was named a third team All-American and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year en route to posting 18 goals and four assists in his second and final season with the Hoosiers. But he said he didn’t really think much about his future until the season was over.

“Rumors were thrown around throughout the season, but it was something I tried to push aside and stay focused,” Zavaleta said. “Ultimately, winning a national championship was a goal that I had. I came to indiana initially to win a national championship, and once that was in sight, it’s all I could focus on. The fact we were able to accomplish that goal really made this decision to leave school a little easier.”

Even if it meant walking away from more individual honors next season.

“Ultimately, are there individual accolades i would’ve liked to win? Yes, but I came not to win accolades but to win a national championship,” he said.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered. Not just where Zavaleta will wind up, but what position he will play once there. Long projected to be a defender at the professional level, Zavaleta’s offensive success at IU could result in a team giving him a look up top. But he’s ready for any challenge.

“I’m ready to go to the combine and show I can play both positions,” Zavaleta said. “Some teams want me as a defender, some might want me as a forward, and some just want to bring me in to camp and see what I can do. It’s a good problem to have. A lot of teams need both positions. I’m just excited to go somewhere.”

Just not back to school.

Bruin called up
One former Hoosier who walked in Zavaleta’s shoes just two years ago, took another step forward on Sunday. Will Bruin was one of 25 players called into January camp by U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

The team will train together in Carson, Calif., until Jan. 27 before departing for Houston, where Bruin plays for the MLS’ Dynamo, to prepare for a Jan. 29 match against Canada.

“We are very proud and excited for Will,” Indiana coach Todd Yeagley said in a release. “He continues to demonstrate through his play in Major League Soccer that he is one of our premier young players in the U.S. It’s a wonderful honor for Will.”

Share the Scoop!

Related content: Read more in Men's Soccer
 
IU soccer vs. Georgetown
IU soccer not looking at Hoyas as a rematch
IU men's soccer picked 5th by Big Ten coaches
IU soccer adds another Akron transfer
IU soccer announces 2014 schedule
One comment:
#1 Monday, January 7, 2013 - 12:36 PM EDT

Congratulations to Eriq. He fulfilled anything we fans could’ve asked of him here at Indiana. Whatever team drafts him is getting an athlete and a winner.

And that’s fantastic for Will Bruin. It’s been great to see Bruin succeed in the MLS after torching the collegiate ranks, and it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the international level.

 


RSS feed

Comments

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Today @ HoosiersHQ.com

Recent comments on The Scoop



  • M. Soccer. Hoosiers, No. 9 Hoyas Play to 1-1 Tie - The Indiana University men's soccer team opened its 2014 campaign with a 1-1 tie against the No. 9 Georgetown Hoyas Friday night on Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium
  • Field Hockey. Indiana Field Hockey Wins Season Opener, 3-2 - The Indiana field hockey team captured its first win of the season against New Hampshire, 3-2. The Hoosiers (1-0) were led by senior Audra Heilman who recorded a hat-trick with
  • Oladipo declares for the NBA - Indiana junior Victor Oladipo this afternoon announced he will be going to the NBA. IU coach Tom Crean
  • Video: Victor Oladipo headed to NBA - Earlier this afternoon Indiana junior Victor Oladipo joined head coach Tom Crean at Assembly Hall to
  • Indiana announces 2014-2015 basketball schedule -

    Indiana on Friday evening released its non-conference schedule for this upcoming season, completing the Hoosiers’ 2014-2015 slate. The 13-game lineup includes the likes

  • An early look at the 2014-2015 backcourt -

    We took an early look at the 2014-2015 frontcourt on Thursday and today, the focus shifts to the backcourt, which is expected to be a major strength for Indiana. We’ll have

  • Indiana releases non-conference schedule - Indiana released its full non-conference basketball schedule on Friday. See the details
  • REMINDER: Live Chat Friday at Noon - We will host our first live chat of the year at noon Friday on the FREE Message Board. Anyone can join. Hope to see you
  • Hoosiers vs. Indiana State: Gameday Thread
  • Quest for Nine: The Indiana Men's Soccer 2014 Season Preview