The 2012 BIG EAST men’s soccer season was a record-breaking one, and the success continues even months after the play on the field concluded. Including the top two picks in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, there were five BIG EAST players in the first 15 selections. In the second round, four former BIG EAST student-athletes were chosen for a total of nine.
The NCAA announced the 48-team NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship field on Nov. 12, which included a record eight teams from the BIG EAST: Notre Dame, Georgetown, Connecticut, Marquette, Louisville, St. John’s, USF and Syracuse. The eight teams were the most ever for the BIG EAST, with the previous high of seven occurring five times (2011, 2010, 2007, 2006, 2005).
The BIG EAST had three of the top four seeds (No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 3 Georgetown, No. 4 Connecticut), as well as five of the top 10 seeds (No. 7 Marquette, No. 10 Louisville). The BIG EAST had the most teams of any league, with the next highest conference being the ACC at five schools.
Georgetown, for the first time in program history, made the trip to the NCAA College Cup. The Hoyas advanced on penalty kicks after tying 4-4 with No. 2 seed Maryland on Friday, Dec. 7 in the first semifinal. In the second semifinal Indiana defeated Creighton. The Hoosiers posted a 1-0 victory against the Hoyas to earn the College Cup title.
The season ended with six BIG EAST teams ranked in the NSCAA national rankings, along with two schools which received votes. In the Soccer America national polls, there were six BIG EAST teams in the final rankings.
In the MLS SuperDraft, held on Jan. 17 in Indianapolis, Ind., defender Andrew Farrell was chosen first overall by the New England Revolution. Farrell was the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year this year. “I’m very excited,” said Farrell. “I’m just thankful to get the opportunity to show what I can do at a great organization.”
Taken second overall by Chivas USA was BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year Carlos Alvarez from Connecticut. “I’m just so happy right now, I don’t even have words to describe how happy I am,” said Alvarez. “Going back home, being next to my family, playing for this organization is just unbelievable. I wanted to represent these colors and I got my dream come true.”
Teammates from Notre Dame were taken ninth and 11th overall. Notre Dame’s Ryan Finley, a forward, was selected by Columbus Crew and followed closely by midfielder Dillon Powers, who was selected two picks later by the Colorado Rapids. Finley and Powers were both All-BIG EAST First Team selections, with Finley voted unanimously by the league’s head coaches.
Georgetown defender Tommy Muller, a 2012 All-BIG EAST Third Team selection, was taken 15th overall by the San Jose Earthquakes.
In the second round, the 2010 BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year, Ian Christianson from Georgetown was taken by the New York Red Bulls (22nd overall). Christianson was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team this season, joined by Louisville midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo, who was taken 27th in a pick by the Montreal Impact. The Houston Dynamo picked Georgetown midfielder Jimmy Nealis was taken 37th and the LA Galaxy chose defender Greg Cochrane, from Louisville, with the 38th overall pick.
It is fitting that the most successful season in recent league history yields the athletes that will now become the stars of Major League Soccer. After bringing the BIG EAST to new heights, they can continue on their careers and help each of the clubs they have signed with, as BIG EAST fans root them on.