PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 21, 2014) – Senior forward Kene Eze (Sayreville, N.J.) became the first Rutgers student-athlete of the Dan Donigan era to be drafted in the MLS SuperDraft after being selected by Toronto FC with the third pick of the fourth round.
"I am very proud of Kene as he has come a long way since we first watched him play and followed his progress thru his club team and William Paterson University before bringing him to Rutgers,” said Rutgers head coach Dan Donigan. “Like most players getting drafted, he now must make the most of this chance. Kene had a significant impact in the college game, but the MLS is a tremendous league with great talent and our staff knows he is up to the challenge. Kene has earned this opportunity, and he realizes it is only an opportunity, so he will go to go to Toronto and prove his value to Ryan Nelsen and his staff.”
“We wish Kene the very best and we are proud to say that Kene is the first player that we brought to Rutgers that has been selected in The MLS Super Draft,” added Donigan. “We look forward to having more to add to the legacy of Rutgers players in MLS.”
Eze, who was selected 60th overall in the draft, ended his career “On The Banks” with 22 goals, eight assists and 52 points after transferring to Rutgers in making the rare transition from Division III to Division I, having played as a freshman at William Patterson.
Prior to the collegiate level, Eze was a finalist for New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year and scored 106 career goals as Sayreville War Memorial’s all-time leading scorer. As a freshman, he saw action in 20 games, earning seven starts with seven goals, at William Patterson before transferring to the state university of New Jersey.
Eze made an immediate impact with the Scarlet Knights in his first season, as he led the team in fall of 2011 with six goals and three assists for 15 points in helping RU return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years. The Scarlet Knights upset fourth-seeded Boston College in second round action and reached the third round of the tournament for the first time since 2001.
As a junior in 2012, Eze led the team in scoring with eight goals, including four game-winners, and 17 points en-route to earning Second Team All-BIG EAST honors. His four game-winners tied for seventh all-time in the Rutgers record books, which included a golden goal against Villanova and one against Louisville, giving the Scarlet Knights its first win over the Cardinals since 2008.
His senior season saw Eze miss six games due to injury, but he stormed back to the field to end the year with a nod to the Third Team NSCAA/Continental Tire Division I Men’s Soccer All-Northeast Region squad and help his Scarlet Knights to the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
During his senior campaign, Eze tied as the Scarlet Knights’ leader in points (20) and finished the season with a team-leading eight goals along with four assists. He exploded for four goals in the AAC play-in game victory over Cincinnati, marking the most goals by a player in the American in 2013. It was also a new career high for the senior Scarlet Knight having previously registered six points stemming from a trio of goals against Adelphi during his sophomore season.
He played a vital role as eighth-seeded Rutgers reached the conference semifinals, which included an upset victory over seventh ranked and regular season champion Louisville in the quarterfinals.
Eze will join former Rutgers standouts Dilly Duka (Chicago Fire) and Nick LaBrocca (Colorado Rapids) in the MLS along with Sporting KC Technical Director and Manager Peter Vermes, who guided his club to the 2013 MLS Cup.
RUTGERS IN THE MLS DRAFT
Kene Eze - Toronto FC - 2014 SuperDraft - Fourth Round - 60th overall
Yannick Salmon – Chicago Fire – 2011 Supplemental Draft – Second Round - 27th overall
Dilly Duka – Columbus Crew – 2010 SuperDraft - First Round - 8th overall
Nick LaBrocca – Colorado Rapides – 2007 SuperDraft – Third Round – 35th overall
Chris Karcz – Chicago Fire – 2004 Supplemental Draft – Third Round – 27th overall
Josh Gros – DC United – 2004 SuperDraft - Third Round - 34th overall
Guy Abrahamson – Columbus Crew – 2003 SuperDraft - Fifth Round – 47th overall
Dennis Ludwig – DC United – 2002 SuperDraft - Fourth Round – 40th overall
Brian Piesner – Dallas Burn – 2000 SuperDraft – Fourth Round – 46th overall
Jon Conway – San Jose Earthquakes – 2000 SuperDraft- Third Round – 28th overall
Billy Walsh – NY/NJ MetroStars – 1998 College Draft – Second Round – 16th overall
Alan Branigan – Dallas Burn – 1997 College Draft – Second Round – 16th overall
Hamisi Amani-Dove – NY/NJ MetroStars – 1996 College Draft – Third Round – 22nd overall
Jeff Zaun – NY/NJ MetroStars – 1996 Inaugural Draft – Fourth Round – 39th overall
Peter Vermes – NY/NJ MetroStars – 1996 Inaugural Draft - Third Round - 29th overall
Alexi Lalas – New England Revolution – 1996 MLS Inaugural Allocation
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