Toronto FC selected former Northern Kentucky University soccer standout Steven Beattie with the 13th pick in the Major League Soccer supplemental draft on Tuesday.
Beattie, a former striker and midfielder for the Norse men’s soccer team, watched last Thursday as 54 names where called at the Major League SuperDraft — his name was not one of them. Going into Tuesday’s supplemental draft, Beattie was ranked among the top prospects still available to be drafted, according to Darrell Lovell of houston11soccer.com. He did not have to wait long to learn which club he will be joining, as his name was called out in the middle of the first round.
‘“I’m in total shock,” Beattie said. “As a kid I always dreamed about being a professional soccer player. Now I get to represent NKU at the highest level. Toronto has a brand new coach, and (the team is) trying to rebuild. I want to make an impact right away.”
Beattie was a late invite to the MLS combine, where potential draft picks traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and played three games in front of MLS scouts from Jan. 7-11. The Columbus Crew, the New England Rapids, Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids heavily scouted Beattie.
Beattie was not able to perform at the combine as well as he would have liked, however, only netting one assist in three games. Also contributing to Beattie going undrafted in the SuperDraft were MLS rules.
Each MLS team is allowed only eight international players, except for Toronto FC, which can have 13. Five of these players must be from the United States. This rule causes teams to choose international players sparingly. The only international players chosen in the SuperDraft were John Rooney (England), Victor Estupinan (Ecuador), Paolo Cardozo (Argentina) and Joao Plata (Ecuador).
“It was a bit disappointing,” Beattie said. “No international guys were selected except for the guys who where flown in. No international players were chosen who played college soccer in the (United) States, so I knew my chances were slim.”
While Beattie was not selected during the SuperDraft, Beattie got his second chance in Tuesday’s supplemental draft. This is a secondary draft in which teams that failed to qualify for last season’s MLS playoffs got a chance to draft three players. The players selected will be able to compete for the MLS team that selected them, or in the MLS Reserve Division, which is comparable to minor league sports. The league originally disbanded in 2008, but will return for the 2011 season.
“Getting paid to do what you love is amazing,” Beattie said. “I’m going to learn what it’s like to be pushed every day by professionals.”
Beattie played for four years at NKU, becoming NKU’s all -time leading scorer with 77 goals, and ranks second all-time in NKU history with 30 assists. In his senior season, the same season he led the Norse to their first ever NCAA Division II Championship, Beattie set several single-season records. He scored 26 goals and dished out 16 assists, which led to a record of 42 points. He took a record 143 shots as well.
Beattie also played for the Cincinnati Kings in the Premier Development League in summer of 2010, which hosts the top amateur soccer players in the country. Beattie impressed in this league, scoring seven goals in only 14 games, leading the team in goals.
Story by Nick Jones