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Soccer players called up

A freshman player being drafted in the Major League Soccer Superdraft is unusual, but Anthony Wallace is no ordinary player. Wallace was drafted by FC Dallas as the ninth pick overall in the first round last week.

Senior Hunter West joined Wallace, as Toronto FC selected West in the third round of the supplemental draft on Thursday. West, who led USF in scoring in his first three seasons, scored four goals in his senior season.

Wallace was the second-highest selection in USF history, tying with Jeff Cunningham, who was selected ninth by Columbus in 1998. Mark Chung was selected sixth overall in 1996 by Columbus.

“Both guys on and off the field have good character and will make good pros,” coach George Kiefer said. “Hunter was a three-year captain and Anthony was a freshman that showed up every day.”

FC Dallas coach Steven Morrow spotted Wallace while scouting the U.S. National Under-20 team and kept an eye on him this season. Wallace started at defender for USF, but because of injuries, switched between three other positions.

Wallace’s all-around skills – including speed and ball-handling skills – left an impression on Morrow.

“I was impressed with him as a player and the qualities that he has,” Morrow said. “His athletic ability and passing – he has a good all-around game for our team.”

Morrow believes that Wallace has the opportunity to come in and battle for a starting position. In the MLS, it is unprecedented for a freshman out of college to have a shot at playing time, but Wallace’s U-20 experience gives him credibility.

“It’s not too normal for a player to come right in and play, but I think he’s an exceptional player and (an) exceptional talent,” Morrow said. “And the qualities he has enable him to come in and make a contribution in this league, along with his experience on the U-20 team.”

West took a different path into the MLS, but his success on the field speaks for itself. West burst onto the scene during his freshman season, leading the Bulls with 14 goals and 31 points. He also was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team and won Freshman of the Year honors.

West scored seven goals in the next two seasons before having to sit out the entire 2005 season. After receiving a medical redshirt, West played in 11 of 19 games this season, recording four goals.

“Just the fact that Hunter got drafted is exactly what he needed,” Kiefer said. “I think given the proper amount of time with a pro team in the MLS, he will prove that he can play and can score goals at that level.”