Whenever someone reaches a high level of success, people from their past can often look at them and say ‘I knew them when’. For Keegan Rosenberry and Josh Yaro, that person is Brian Wiese.
Wiese is currently in his 10th season as the coach of the Georgetown Hoya’s men’s soccer team, and has proudly watched two of his most talented pupils rise to success in MLS this season.
When Yaro and Rosenberry came to Wiese as teenagers, he very quickly acknowledged the raw athleticism both possessed, as well as their willingness to learn and openness to being coached.
“When Josh first got here, he had some ideas of how to play the position. He was doing things just a little off positionally, but he was able to change very quickly and do things right based on what we asked of him.”
Yaro, Wiese recalled, worked on his game religiously at Georgetown – always seeking to develop his skills and not just relying on being a good athlete.
For Rosenberry, Wiese’s approach was different. Before he could start honing in on Rosenberry’s skills, he first had to convince Rosenberry to change positions. Rosenberry had entered Georgetown as a center midfielder, but Wiese began pushing to move the freshman to defense – and things started paying off.
“We loved that he was so technically good. He wasn’t that big and people had questions about his size and if he was quick enough or strong enough, but we fell in love with him because he was so technically gifted and clean.”
And it was Rosenberry’s prior center-mid training that Wiese believes helped him become a great defender.
“His experience playing center-mid helps him create opportunities up the flank. He has all the traits of a good center-mid and now playing as a right back he can get out of tight spots and solve problems. It’s fun to watch him make the passes he’s able to make, he’s fun to watch.”
From day one, Wiese knew that Yaro and Rosenberry could make it as professionals, and it didn’t take long for people outside of the District to take notice. Scouts relentlessly tried to convince Yaro to leave school early and turn pro, even Rosenberry was approached – but both decided to stay at Georgetown not only to develop their game, but also to get their degrees. Sure enough, the investment in their decision paid off as Yaro and Rosenberry were selected second and third overall by Union in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. It was the first time in SuperDraft history that a pair of college teammates were selected by the same team consecutively within the first 10 picks.
Since then, both Yaro and Rosenberry have contributed much to Union’s success this season and have continued to make their former college coach proud. Wiese has used Yaro and Rosenberry as examples of what can be possible with hard work and the right mindset to his current team at Georgetown.
“I just think from all of my experience over 20 years, has there been a better center-back or right-back that I’ve seen or worked with? I don’t think so. Their hard work, good character, and talent is translating to all of the success they’ve had so far and I think both are capable of playing at the international level.”
Wiese still keeps in touch with Yaro and Rosenberry, periodically checking in with them throughout the season. He offered advice and congratulations to Rosenberry after earning an MLS All-Star spot, and condolences to Yaro after the passing of his mother. The Hoyas have been in attendance of several Union games this season and continue to cheer on two of their most successful alumni to date.
Often times, perception of a professional athlete isn’t always reality. Sometimes, the bright lights of fame can alter who a person really is – but in the case of Yaro and Rosenberry, what you see is very much what you get.
“My perception is that people think these are great kids, and they’re right. They are great ambassadors for Georgetown and Union and the community. They are selfless, team-first players who don’t want to let other people down. They both have a wonderful mix of humility and self-confidence that makes special players in the pro ranks.”