GA striker Hoffman "too good to pass up" for Union
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second straight year, it would appear the Union have landed a steal in the MLS SuperDraft.
After Michael Farfan fell to Philadelphia at No. 23 overall in 2011, the Union selected Generation adidas forward Chandler Hoffman 13th overall in 2012. Hoffman was widely projected to go in the top 10, even as high as first overall by MLSsoccer.com's Simon Borg.
"We're surprised he was still available," coach John Hackworth told philadelphiaunion.com. "A player of his quality, especially with him being a Generation adidas player, he was too good to pass up. We watched him, scouted him, have known him for quite some time. He's a great person as well and willing to work really hard."
Hoffman, a left-footed forward, finished his junior year tied for fourth nationally in both goals (18) and points scored (42). He finished his UCLA career with 29 goals, nine assists and 67 points in 54 games played.
"I think he obviously was pretty underrated because he's consistently put the ball in the back of the net [in college], but he's versatile too," said Hackworth. "We feel he's going to be a great attacking addition to our team."
For a team that already boasts the likes of Sebastien Le Toux, new acquisition Josue Martinez, Danny Mwanga, Jack McInerney and Veljko Paunovic, Hoffman has his work cut out to earn playing time as a rookie.
Working in his favor, Hoffman knows exactly why he was drafted: to score goals.
"I'm definitely a goal scorer," said the 21-year-old M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalist. "I create opportunities in and around the 18 and I finish those opportunities when I get them."
Hoffman will have the benefit of seeing some familiar faces when he arrives for preseason on January 25. Hoffman played with both Amobi Okugo and Kyle Nakazawa at UCLA.
"I can't wait – both of them I played with my freshman year," Hoffman said. "I'm very excited to get into preseason. Knowing them gives me a certain comfort level that I'm very excited about."
While Hoffman admitted he expected to be selected in the top 10, he knew of Philadelphia's interest prior to draft day.
"I had known [assistant coach] Rob [Vartughian] through the recruiting process," Hoffman said. "Last night down in the [hotel] lobby he said, 'I don't think you'll slip to us but we definitely have interest in you.' So that's when I knew that if I fell to them they'd definitely be interested."
Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Hoffman can be excused for knowing little about Philadelphia as a city. He has, however, been following the club's progress through two seasons in MLS.
"They've done a great job with the whole organization, coming in as an expansion team and doing incredibly well in their second season," Hoffman said. "Hopefully this year we can just do that much more."
WATCH: Hoffman reacts to selection