CD Chivas USA made history with their first 2005 SuperDraft choice Friday, selecting former University of South Carolina goalkeeper Brad Guzan with the second overall pick. Guzan becomes the highest-drafted goalkeeper in MLS history, reflecting the immense potential that has earned him widespread acclaim as the top 'keeper available this year.
"It's a big honor, and I know a lot of players have come before me and set the bar," said the Home Glen, Ill., native. "I just hope I can follow and have the success that many of them have had."
Guzan confessed his elation to be selected so early in the proceedings.
"I had heard some rumors of this and that, but it was a shock," he said. "Until you hear your name up there, you don't really believe it 100 percent. So it was a little bit of a shock, but I'm very excited."
The former Gamecocks netminder may have to pay his dues this season, with Chivas USA apparently planning to bring in an experienced 'keeper from their home club in Mexico, but he's nonetheless eager to prove himself.
"I know that they have a goalkeeper there right now, so hopefully I can go in and just play how I know how to play and see what happens," Guzan said. "Nothing is going to be given to me, and I understand that. This is a business, and I'm going to have to go in and work for everything that I get, and hopefully it will all work out."
Guzan is braced for the always-challenging transition from the college level into the pros, a process that is typically even more difficult for goalkeepers. There's also the small matter of learning a new language.
"I think just the fact of going into the professional ranks, and adapting to that whole lifestyle, will be difficult, at least for the first year," said Guzan. "Going to a team like Chivas, I speak very, very, very little Spanish, so that's going to be a No. 1 priority.
"As soon as I get back home, I'm going to have to start learning some Spanish. It will be difficult at first, but I think everything will work out just fine."
Guzan is still learning about the revered history and style of CD Chivas, but clearly relishes the prospect.
"(Chivas is) known all around the world, and I think it's going to be good for them coming into the MLS," he said. "The fan base is unbelievable -- they expect a lot, and hopefully I can provide it.
"I think it's a beautiful style of play, knocking the ball around. That's just another thing that I'm going to adapt to. It's going to be interesting."
Charles Boehm is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.