Amputation scare has Agorsor motivated for Union
You know a knee injury is bad when the knee is
just not there anymore. That’s exactly what the experience was for Philadelphia
Union forward Chris Agorsor, a player the team picked up in a weighted lottery
“When it did happen I tried to get up and I looked at my knee
and it looked deflated because the knee cap wasn’t there,” Agorsor told
MLSsoccer.com before Monday's lottery. “It was very painful and it was tough to look at for a lot of my
teammates. The longer I stayed on the field the more the pain started to set
The incident occurred while Agorsor was playing for the University of Virginia in his freshman season of 2008. Against Central
Connecticut State, two defenders converged on
him from two different directions and whacked his left knee in much the same
fashion: one from behind and the other from the side.
The result was Agorsor’s knee cap doing a complete 180
degrees. Forget the penalty kick and yellow card. His knee cap was now behind
his leg, taking out his ACL and PCL and damaging his MCL in the process.
Doctors were concerned about whether the artery that runs through the leg could remain unscathed.
“I was told I would be lucky that I’d be able to keep the
leg because of complication of the dislocation,” he said. “They talked about
amputation. As you can imagine it’s the worst thing you want to hear as a football
player. … I couldn’t imagine not being able to play again, let alone not having
UVA head coach George Gelnovatch described the incident as a "devastaing injury."
“Freshman year he scored some great goals for us,” Gelnovatch said. “He was on track to score more than 10
goals in his freshman year."
Luckily for Agorsor, doctors successfully reset his knee
parts and the artery was intact. After one month of rehab, and with no
guarantees of coming back to play, he went in for surgery to repair his ligaments.
Two months after that, he was walking without crutches. Although
he missed out on the Under-20 World Cup with the US, his professional dreams
were still alive.
Agorsor recovered in time for the 2009 college season, but then suffered a severe ankle sprain in October 2009 that took him out of commission.
The Cavaliers went on to win the NCAA title without him. Despite having
played only a small part in the run, Agorsor decided he had reached the pinnacle and
it was time for a move from the college game.
His road to the pros started with a month at Manchester
United, followed by two months with CD Nacional in Portugal. His 2010 wrapped
up with a winter break stint in Philadelphia, where he rejoined former ODP coach Rob
Vartughian, an assistant coach for the Union.
Although work permits proved the obstacle in England and
finances were an issue in Portugal, the process was more streamlined in MLS.
“I saw the strides MLS had made and it looked really
enticing, and I’m one of those guys that when you see something good, you act on
it,” Agorsor said. “It’s something I wanted to be a part of and I jumped at the
opportunity and [the contract] happened really quickly.”
So what kind of player can Union fans expect? Gelnovatch, who described Agorsor as arguably the top recruit in the nation in 2008, expects him to be
dynamic, quick, elusive and above all determined and competitive. He says Agorsor's
first steps between five and 10 yards is what separates him from the rest of the field, literally and figuratively.
Although he’s from the south side of Baltimore – from Severn, Md., to be exact – Agorsor says he has never heard from D.C. United throughout the years, nor was he interested
in playing for them. He says the rivalry between his youth soccer club, the
Baltimore Bays, and D.C. United’s academy was a heated one in the youth ranks.
According to Agorsor, Baltimore “is a lot more similar to
Philly than to DC … and Philadelphia was the closest I could be to playing in Baltimore.”
He got his wish on Monday.
He grew up playing with Union draftee Zac MacMath and he
goes way back with Philadelphia right back Sheanon Williams. The youth movement
in Philly was a major attraction for Agorsor. It’s where he was hoping to complete
his comeback before Monday's lottery ever took place.
“Any player who takes their profession seriously knows that
if you’ve done something before, you can do it again,” Agorsor said. “If I get into preseason I know I can gel with
my teammates and I will contribute.”