Axel Sjoberg drafted 14th overall by Colorado

Photo+by+Maggie+Bean+%28Marquette+Images%29

Photo by Maggie Bean (Marquette Images)

Many experts projected Axel Sjoberg to go 14th overall in the Major League Soccer draft, but didn’t expect the trade that would send the Swedish defender west. The Colorado Rapids traded their pick in next year’s draft to Columbus Crew SC in order to move up and select Sjoberg at today’s MLS SuperDraft.

With the selection, Sjoberg becomes the highest MLS draft pick in program history. According to American Soccer Now Sjoberg will also become the tallest player in MLS history if he opts to play in the United States.

“This is a dream come true,” Sjoberg said in his speech following the selection. “I’m going onto the next chapter of my career, and I hope to make an impact in the MLS.”

The 6-foot-7 inch defender played three seasons with the Golden Eagles, scoring 11 goals in 63 games. He played every minute of the 2014 season and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the second season in a row. He was named the Big East Defender of the Week on three occasions this season. A redshirt junior, Sjoberg opted to leave the program a year early in order to pursue professional opportunities.

Sjoberg has previously mentioned his interest in looking over his options when it comes to professional soccer. Although he was taken in today’s draft, he may still decide to play closer to home in Europe.

During his speech, Sjoberg thanked his coaches, who were in attendance at the draft, as well as his friends in both Milwaukee and Sweden. The rest of the men’s soccer team was gathered in the team’s locker room to watch the event on TV.

Sjoberg was one of three players drafted from the Big East conference in the first round. He was preceded by Butler Midfielder Zach Steinberger and St. John’s defender Tim Parker, who were taken eighth and thirteenth respectively. In addition to the two in-conference foes, two other players who faced Marquette this season were selected before Sjoberg. Oregon State’s Khiry Shelton was taken second overall by New York City FC, while Notre Dame’s Nick Besler was taken fifth by the Portland Timbers.

Sjoberg is the third Marquette player taken in the MLS draft in the last four years. Calum Mallace was taken in the second-round by the Montreal Impact in 2012, and Bryan Ciesuilka was taken in the fourth-round of last year’s draft by the Chicago Fire.

 

Print story by Jack Goods, Video story by Michael Beiermeister