Supplemental draft pick Eric Schoenle hungry for his chance to start pro career in Philadelphia
You could make a strong case that West Virginia central defender Eric Schoenle was a SuperDraft snub.
MLSsoccer.com ranked the six-foot-two Bucks County native as the fourth best CB prospect in the entire draft. Editors projected him as a late first-rounder or early secound-rounder.
That was also the case in mock drafts on popular MLS blogs. Ives Galarcep of "Soccer by Ives" saw Schoenle as FC Dallas' first pick in the second round. WVHooligan.com projected Schoenle to San Jose with the 15th overall pick. Topdrawersoccer.com also had Schoenle going in the first round.
None of those scenarios panned out.
Schoenle was not selected in Indianapolis, and instead watched as four other center half prospects were drafted ahead of him.
"I was obviously disappointed that I didn't get picked during the superdraft," Schoenle told philadelphiaunion.com following Monday's training session at the NovaCare Complex. "But I think it gives me a little bit of a chip on my shoulder now. I was regarded as one of the best center backs in the country by some people, and not being picked was really disappointing. But, now that I'm here, it's no different. I still have to come in here and work hard. I know that I'm a rookie. I just have to prove myself."
Schoenle had to wait four days after he was passed up in the SuperDraft. He was finally selected with the 12th pick of the Supplemental Draft.
But everything seemed to work out in the end. Schoenle grew up in Yardley and saw the hometown Union as a club he wanted to play for.
"It's kind of surreal actually," said Schoenle of his selection by Philadelphia. "I think this is the main team that I was hoping to get plucked by. Being able to stay close to home, I know my parents are happy. They have season tickets, they're excited. Just to be in this environment, training with professionals is really surreal. I've been waiting for this my whole life, and now I'm here."
A four year starter, Schoenle played in 75 games for the Mountaineers. Of his 14 goals, seven were game-winners. While on the backline, opponents were held to an average of just 3.9 shots on goal per game.
Schoenle also spent time with Union PDL affiliate Reading United, which put him on the radar of John Hackworth and the technical staff.
"I played for Reading for (Union assistant coach) Brendan Burke after my first year of college," Schoenle said. "So I knew him for awhile. I actually came to (Chester) in the Summer for a day. They invited me down and had a training session. So I was pretty familiar with the staff. I've been to a couple games, so I'm familiar with the park, the area, being from here. I was really excited. It's a dream come true."
Schoenle also knows Union fullback Ray Gaddis from his time at West Virginia. The pair played together under head coach Marlon LeBlanc.
"I played with him for three years," Schoenle said of Gaddis. "It's nice. I really enjoyed our time, our three years we were pretty good. He's one of the fastest, if not the fastest person I've ever seen run. So it's exciting to have him possibly, potentially next to me again, if we get the opportunity to do that again. Coming in here, he's someone I'm familiar with, someone I can go to if I ever need anything."
Like Gaddis, Schoenle said he was in touch with LeBlanc throughout the draft process.
"He was actually really helpful," explained Schoenle. "I was there in Indianapolis and I didn't get selected. He found out some information from some teams about who was interested, but things just didn't work out. Tuesday came and I got picked, and he congratulated me and just told me I had to come in here and start working hard."
Up until 2010, local soccer products didn't have a hometown team to play for at the professional level. Guys like Ben Olsen went to D.C. United. Jeff Parke went to New York before finding his way back to Philadelphia. But Schoenle joins a new crop of local guys who can aspire to play at PPL Park.
"I think it's great," Schoenle said. "(Programs like) Union Juniors started, and I think if it was around when I played I probably would have played for them. I think it's great that we have a team around here now that kids can look up to. I'm sure all of these players are their role models. I think it's one of the (newer) teams in the league, so it's still fresh, it's still really exciting."
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at email@example.com