January 13, 2007 Toronto FC picks Edu No. 1 (from Toronto Star)

Toronto FC picks Edu No. 1

`It's a dream come true, I'm excited,' says 20-year-old university student

January 13, 2007
Cathal Kelly
SPORTS REPORTER

When midfielder Maurice Edu first heard Toronto FC might draft him, he didn't need to look far for encouragement.

His college roommate, goalkeeper Aaron Chinn, is from the city. His coach at the University of Maryland, Sasho Cirovski, lived in Toronto when he was involved in the Canadian Soccer League.

"I heard that from a playing standpoint, a coaching standpoint and a living standpoint, (Toronto) would be an ideal situation for me," an excited Edu said yesterday from Indianapolis, where he was the first selection overall in the Major League Soccer Superdraft.

"It's a dream come true," said Edu, "I'm very excited to be starting with a new team in Toronto."

The 20-year-old first-team All-American is considered the premier defensive midfielder in the NCAA. Edu, 6-foot, 170 pounds, helped guide Maryland to a national championship in 2005.

"He's a very, very good young player," FC coach Maurice (Mo) Johnston said. "It's a great day for our team, and we're looking forward to seeing him in training camp."

The first problem Edu must negotiate will be a question of nicknames friends call him Mo, just like another Maurice on the team.

"He's the coach, so if he decides to pick a new nickname for me, then that's what's going to happen," Edu laughed.

"That's why I took him," Johnston joked later. "Good first name."

After trading up for the 10th overall pick, Toronto also selected defender Andrew Boyens, 23, from the University of New Mexico. The 6-foot-4 rearguard is a native of New Zealand.

The only two Canadians chosen in the draft were both scooped by Toronto.

Rich Asante of North York was the first pick of the third round. The 22-year-old Syracuse University midfielder was a member of the Canadian under-20 team that advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.

"A real quality player," Johnston said of Asante.

Jeff Gonsalves, a Markham native who played his college ball at the University of Rhode Island, was the first to go in the fourth and final round.

The highly regarded forward was originally projected as a top-10 choice, but may have fallen somewhat after illness prevented him from attending the league's showcase combines in Florida last week.

"He fell off the radar a little," Johnston said. "That worked out very nicely for us."

Now Johnston renews his search for some international talent, looking to add to his team's firepower.

"I'm looking at signing two internationals, maybe next week," he said.

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