It might not seem like a big deal to most people, but getting to participate in team warm-ups is a big step for FC Dallas rookie Walker Zimmerman. The young centerback was drafted in the first round (seventh overall) by Dallas in last January's MLS SuperDraft, but due to a prior groin injury has yet to practice with the squad.
Zimmerman was considered by many to be a risky pick by FCD because his injury prohibited him from participating in the Combine leading up to the SuperDraft. Head coach Schellas Hyndman said his staff scouted the defender during his college career at Furman well enough to know that he was worth the risk.
"We’d seen him play in college and we knew he was with the Under-20 National Team, so we got a lot of reports on him," Hyndman told FCDallas.com after training Wednesday. "The things we really liked about him were his athleticism, his courage and his character. He’s a lot like George [John] and Matt [Hedges], a similar type of player."
Ever since FC Dallas picked him in the first round, Zimmerman has been working tirelessly to return to the field and show the club that it's faith was not misplaced.
"We know it’s frustrating for him and he wants to be able to help the team," said Hyndman. "He works awfully hard and follows his recovery plan religiously and now we’re starting to see a little life in his legs because he’s really excited to join us in training."
Now that he's started participating in warm-ups, Zimmerman's next milestone will be to take part in a full training session. The recovery process may sound tedious, but Hyndman said it's the best way for players to avoid a more severe injury in the long run.
"Sometimes you’re so anxious to get players back onto the field that you can push them too quick," said the gaffer. "Then when they’re in a game situation, their adrenaline’s going high and they want to help the team, but if something goes wrong then they’re set further back again with another injury.
"We want to make sure he’s capable of the demands of the training session, which will then verify to us that he’s capable of the demands of the game."
MLSSoccer.com's Inside the SuperDraft video series continues with Episode 5 featuring draft day in Indianapolis. FC Dallas pick Walker Zimmerman is featured and his part begins at the 2:20 mark. The video includes Zimmerman meeting club officials after he is selected.
The third installment of MLSSoccer.com's Inside the SuperDraft video series is out and features FC Dallas pick Walker Zimmerman. His part begins around the 4:00 mark of the video and includes an interview he did with another MLS club at the draft site in Indianapolis.
Now that SuperDraft has concluded, it's time for those post-SuperDraft evaluations. None was kinder to FC Dallas and No. 7 pick Walker Zimmerman than a post from Pro Soccer Talk's Noah Davis.
Click to read the entire post, but here's a snippet:
Zimmerman will have to fight for time — he might not find it right away — but he’ll have a chance. And he’ll have some solid people to learn from ahead of him. In a couple years, we’ll look back and see that Zimmerman was the steal of the 2013 SuperDraft.
A final note: The other Furman players to go in the Top 10? Two, a guy named Clint Dempsey and another named Ricardo Clark. If Zimmerman can have close to the type of career those two men did, he’ll make this post sound extremely smart.
NEW YORK – The 2013 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, will be broadcast to a global audience through an innovative distribution approach featuring ESPN SportsCenter and a number of online streaming partners including ESPN3, ESPNFC, MLSsoccer.com, YouTube and FCDallas.com.
The SuperDraft will take place on Thursday, January 17 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind., in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention. Starting at 11 a.m. CT, the first overall selection will be broadcast live on ESPN SportsCenter.
FC Dallas fans will be able to watch the official live-stream of the draft on FCDallas.com. Fans will also be able to follow along and particiapate in a live chat hosted by FCDallas.com's Mark Norris and Scott Brown, who will provide behind-the-scenes photos and updates from the draft site in Indianapolis along with all the details on FC Dallas' selections.
“We are taking a more progressive and fan-centric approach to how we’re distributing and producing the 2013 MLS SuperDraft,” said MLS Chief Marketing Officer Howard Handler. “We have a young, diverse, digitally active fan base who will watch from home, from the office, from coffee shops, or just about anywhere. Soccer is a worldwide sport and this new initiative also allows us to continue catering to MLS fans across the globe.”
“We looked at the numbers from last year and draft day is the busiest day of the year for MLSsoccer.com. We thought this would be the right opportunity to step out, innovate, and do something more forward-looking.”
Fans of MLS will also be able to watch the entire draft live on ESPN3, ESPNFC, MLSsoccer.com and YouTube. Additional online media outlets may be added to the list of broadcast partners in the coming days.
The HD broadcast will feature ESPN soccer commentators Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman, who will provide the thorough analysis that MLS fans have come to expect. They will be joined by members of the MLSsoccer.com editorial team and other guests.
The 2013 MLS SuperDraft will include two rounds and 38 overall selections. The first nine selections are currently held by clubs that did not qualify for the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs, in reverse order of regular season finish. The remaining 10 positions currently belong to clubs that were eliminated in the same round of the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs, in reverse order of regular season finish. FC Dallas has the No. 7 and No. 20 overall picks in this year's draft.
NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer today announced that Eriq Zavaleta, a member or the 2012 NCAA Division I College Cup winning Indiana University team has, signed a Generation adidas contract. Additionally, MLS has signed five college seniors in advance of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas: Carlos Alvarez (University of Connecticut), Ryan Finley (University of Notre Dame), Dillon Powers (University of Notre Dame), John Stertzer (University of Maryland) and Kyle Bekker (Boston College).
Since stepping on campus at Indiana University, Zavaleta, son of former El Salvadoran national team player Carlos Zavaleta, has been one of the best college players in the country. The Westfield, Ind., native capped off his sophomore season by assisting on the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Georgetown to win the national championship. Nephew of former MLS and U.S. National Team defender Greg Vanney, he was named to the College Cup All-Tournament team as well as a College Soccer News First-Team All American thanks in part to his 18 goals on the season.
Alvarez, a Los, Angeles, Calif. native, capped off his impressive four-year career with the University of Connecticut by leading his team to the 2012 Big East Regular Season Championship. Alvarez, whose father played professionally in Mexico with Chivas Guadalajara, has worked tirelessly to make himself one of the top players in this years’ draft. The 2009 Big East Freshman of the Year and 2012 Midfielder of the Year finished his collegiate career as third all-time at Connecticut with 42 assists.
Finley, a finalist for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy, was named the 2012 Big East Offensive Player of the Year for his contributions to Notre Dame’s season. Finley transferred from Duke University after being named the 2010 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and finished his last two seasons in South Bend. The NSCAA First Team All-American ranked second nationally in goals (21) and points (46) during his senior year with the Fighting Irish.
Powers has been a mainstay in Notre Dame’s lineup since his freshman year. A native of Plano, Texas, Powers was a two-time team captain for the Fighting Irish who is just as involved off the field as he is on it. An active participant in the Take Ten program – which aims to teach kids to practice non-violence – as well as the Salvation Army, Powers is a Finalist for the 2012 Senior Class Award. The U.S. Youth International started 64 of his 78 career games in South Bend.
After a breakout junior campaign, Stertzer returned to the University of Maryland for his senior season and was named a NSCAA All-American as well as First Team All-ACC. The Oakton, Va., native finished the season with seven goals and seven assists while starting 21 of 23 games for the Terrapins while leading his squad to the College Cup semifinals.
Bekker, an Oakville, Ontario native, has been a mainstay in Boston Colleges’ lineup since he started all 23 games his freshman season. The creative midfielder finished his college career ranking second all-time in assists (22) in Golden Eagles history. He led Canada to the semifinal of the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament last March in his second stint with the U23 Canadian National Team and is a two-time All-ACC First Team member.
The 2013 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas will take place at the Indiana Convention Center on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 12 p.m. ET.