A conversation with my boss a few days ago further confirmed our country's current view on soccer: you either love it or hate it. It's that simple. I've yet to find a person who, when asked if they like soccer, simply shrugs and says, 'Meh, if I'm in the right mood' or 'I root for this team but I don't watch too much of it.'
When it comes to soccer, people's feet are planted firmly in one camp or the either. To my boss, soccer just isn't his bag. Myself, on the other hand, I love the sport. I played it for the better part of a decade and understand it's way more than just 11 guys running around for 90-plus minutes hoping for the rarity of a shot that actually goes into the net.
So, in honor of a sport that has created hostile debates and, in the case of soccer haters, a dismissal of some of the world's greatest athletes, let's take a look at D.C. United's first-round pick, Perry Kitchen. (Side note, how many of you knew the MLS Draft was happening today? How many of you knew there actually was an MLS Draft?)
Coming out of high school, Kitchen was ranked as the No. 2 recruit in the nation, having served as the captain for the U-17 U.S. National Team in 2009. Naturally, Kitchen was named a Parade All-American and took his talents to the University of Akron.
As a freshman this past season, Kitchen was named to Soccer America's Freshman First Team, appearing in all 25 games as the Zips' starting defensive midfielder. He had six goals in those games, including one in the NCAA semifinal against Michigan on Dec. 10. Akron went on to win the school's first-ever national championship.
His addition to D.C. United should bolster a team whose season has been forgettable at best. The team currently sits in last place in the Eastern Conference with a league-worst 6-20 record. In those 26 games they've scored only 21 goals, and given up 47.
Here's the list of D.C. United's picks for the 2011 MLS Draft. And to my boss who had to edit this before it went online, you may unclench now. You were a good sport.
1st round/3rd overall -- Perry Kitchen, defender, University of Akron
2nd round/31st overall -- Chris Korb, defender, University of Akron
3rd round/50th overall -- Joe Willis, goalkeeper, University of Denver