The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Walsh joins Crew in MLS draft

 Walsh joins Crew in MLS draft
Walsh joins Crew in MLS draft

Walsh joins Crew in MLS draft

SMU all-everything midfielder Diego Walsh was selected seventh by the Columbus Crew in Saturday’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Walsh, a native of Miami, will join the Crew for their 2003 season.

Walsh was pleasantly surprised when the Crew made him their first pick.

“There was a lot of speculation beforehand. I was talking to my agent, and he said that the Crew was interested,” Walsh said, “as well as the MetroStars and Chicago Fire . . . maybe even Dallas. There was some speculation about me going to Columbus for sure,” he said.

“I really wasn’t sure where I stood, where I would be picked today,” Walsh said. “To be picked this high is a great honor, and I’m very happy about it.”

Walsh admits to not knowing a lot about his new team, but looks forward to the familiar face that is already there.

“I haven’t met any of the players, but I do know one or two of them,” Walsh said. “My best friend, Luchi Gonzalez, plays there now.”

Gonzalez was Walsh’s teammate here at SMU. The two led the Mustangs to a Final Four appearance in the 2001 NCAA Men’s College Cup.

Crew head coach Greg Andrulis looks forward to what Walsh can bring to his club, which went 11-12-5 in the MLS last season, but won the U.S. Open Cup Championship.

“We are very happy with how the draft went today. Diego is a fabulous player and was the best player available when we picked at seven,” Andrulis said. “He is very talented and excels with the ball at his feet. We were very happy he was there when we picked.”

The Crew’s philosophy was to take the best player available. They already have Kyle Martino, an attacking midfielder from Virginia whom they selected eighth overall last year.

Despite the competition that could come for the position, Walsh thinks that he can make an impact on the Crew.

“They have great players and it’s probably going to be a pretty tough environment,” Walsh said. “But I feel like I’m on that same level and I want to come in and make an impact. This couldn’t be a better fit for me.”

The MLS will present a new challenge for Walsh, who was born and raised in Brazil and grew up playing soccer. He leaves SMU as one of the most decorated athletes to come out of the university. He knows that the professional level is more challenging, but it is not completely new to him.

“I’ve played with a lot of professional players before,” Walsh said. “I’m sure that the speed will pick up a bit, but at the same time I feel that I could come in and make a definite impact. I’m just looking forward to it.”

Much of the team reported to Columbus Tuesday for preseason training camp. The team will then take a trip to Portugal where they will continue to train and play from Feb. 14 – 27. Following that will be a trip to Florida from March 3 -13.

The team will return to Columbus for good on March 14. Walsh is set to join the team in about two weeks.

He is eager to go to Columbus and begin his professional career.

“I’ve played there before, and it’s just great. A great stadium, a great field, and a great environment,” Walsh said. “It really couldn’t have been better. I mean, my best friend plays there. They’re a great team with a great staff and a great facility. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. I am very, very happy.”

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