Tag Archive: Tar Heels

Tar Heels in the MLS

At the beginning of the year, six players from the UNC-Chapel Hill men’s soccer team were awarded the opportunity to play for Major League Soccer, the United States’ professional soccer league.

“It’s a tremendous reward for our players. They deserve it,” assistant coach Carlos Somoano says.

Four players were selected in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore, Md. in January. Senior defender Jalil Anibaba was taken ninth overall by the Chicago Fire. “I was very excited because the draft is a very stressful time,” Anibaba says. “It’s a dream come true, and it’s a moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life.”

Anibaba, who will join a team captained by former Tar Heel Logan Pause, was named MVP of the 2011 pre-draft PlayerCombine. “It was an honor to be seen as the MVP when you’re participating in an event with such great players,” he says. “It’s humbling.”

Eddie Ababio, a senior outside defender, was selected 18th overall by the Colorado Rapids, the defending MLS Cup champions. Anibaba and Ababio are the eighth and ninth Tar Heels ever picked in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft.

Michael Farfan was taken 24th overall, by the Philadelphia Union. The back-to-back All-American midfielder will join former Tar Heel Sheanon Williams with the Union.

Stephen McCarthy, also a midfielder, was selected immediately after Farfan by the New England Revolution. Despite being one of the four Tar Heels selected in the draft, McCarthy did not enjoy the draft experience. “It was terrible,” he says. “For guys that go top 10, it was probably a great experience. For me, it was a pretty nerve-wracking experience.”

However, McCarthy isn’t intimidated by being the first Tar Heel drafted by the Revolution and has not felt any extra pressure. “I just try to do the best I can,” he says.

In order to perform at his best, McCarthy has had to make adjustments to the higher standard of professional play. “It’s been pretty nuts,” McCarthy says. “It’s a whole new level of intensity. After practice, all I want to do is sleep.”

Somano says the Carolina program is known for creating great players. “We have a tradition here of pushing our guys to be great. When you create an environment like (Carolina), players will become great,” Somoano says.

Two other Tar Heels were added to MLS rosters following the SuperDraft. Senior midfielder Dustin McCarthy was selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft, a secondary draft held after the SuperDraft. A day later, Alex Dixon, a junior midfielder, signed a contract with the Houston Dynamo.

Carolina is now tied for the fourth-most players drafted in MLS history, with McCarthy as the 33rd Tar Heel ever selected in the MLS SuperDraft.  “There’s a tradition (at Carolina) consistent in winning and producing professional soccer players,” assistant coach Jeff Negalha says.

So, what’s next for these Tar Heels?

“As a rookie, you have to be open to anything, including playing new positions. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team,” Anibaba says.

Left to right: Jalil Anibaba, Defender; Eddie Ababio, Defender/Forward; Michael Farfan, Midfielder; Stephen McCarthy, Midfielder

-Will Rimer

Photo Source: tarheelblue.com

Dear Carolina Football

Dear all supporters, haters, coaches and players of Carolina football,

I refuse to give up hope.

Contrary to what Caulton Tudor claims, I am fully confident that we are capable of surprising the masses.

Yes, we are young. Yes, we are inexperienced. But we are talented. It’s simply a matter of showcasing that talent in the most optimum way. I know, I know; easier said than done.  We need to channel our talent.  Feel it.  Play like it.

We are better than the University of Virginia.  And better than Georgia Tech, for that matter. Based on the previous two games, we’ve lost the heart and soul of Carolina football.  Where did our underdog mentality go? Forget national and conference rankings. They are meaningless until bowl season. Instead, let’s play with that chip on our shoulder that keeps us humble.  Let’s find that swag again.

We are better than the174 total yards on offense we recorded against UVA.  Heather Dinich, ACC blogger for espn.com, recently posted this about offensive coordinator John Shoop:

North Carolina’s offensive coordinator has been under the microscope, as UNC’s offense has the worst scoring offense in the conference with 18.6 points per game, is No. 11 in total offense, and No. 10 in rushing offense.”

Obviously, we are struggling offensively. So, how relentless are we? Ryan Houston showcased his persistence, rushing 5.2 yards per carry versus Virginia. Our defense proved unyielding as they managed to give up only one touchdown when the Hoos were in scoring position.  Our resilience might be all we have left to combat our offensive woes.

We are better than a 3-2 record.  In a post-game press conference, coach Butch Davis mentioned the unexpected turnarounds the Baltimore Ravens displayed during their Super Bowl-winning season in 2000.  He said this year’s squad may need to resort to unconventional forms of winning.

“I admire that,” Davis said in his post-game media address. “Sometimes you just have to find a way to win ugly. Sometimes the shoe is on the other foot from a team perspective. There were times last year when we’d score 45 and 38 points and it was not enough. It’s a team game.”

Please, prove me right.  I can only fight in the pigskin corner for so long.  I’m sick and tired of die-hard Carolina fans viewing football season as a mere precursor to basketball season.  I hate hearing Tar Heels, young and old, counting down the days until Late Night with Roy Williams so they can get excited about winning again.  Let’s win now.  On the gridiron.

Best wishes,

A believer among non-believers

-Anna Feagan

Blue & White sports editor

Bobby Frasor practiced his video documentary skills when the UNC men’s basketball team visited the White House in May. While his camera skills leave something to be desired, he may have a future as a fashion critic. Watch Frasor give his teammates a hard time for their wardrobe mishaps and see how the national champs cope with the recession.

Check out Lindsay Britt’s column about men in suits on page 10 of the September issue of Blue & White.

-Natasha Duarte