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MLS SuperDraft: Zimmerman surprised to land with FCD

INDIANAPOLIS – Every year, one player has to take a tumble in the MLS SuperDraft, but FC Dallas appear just fine with the fact that Walker Zimmerman landed in their lap.

The Furman center back and Generation adidas signee was expected to go as high as No. 1 in the draft on Thursday, but after Louisville’s Andrew Farrell was taken first overall by the New England Revolution, Zimmerman immediately fell into limbo that lasted longer than anyone expected.

In the end, Zimmerman fell to No. 7, where Dallas lay in wait ready to snap up their second center back in as many drafts after grabbing Matt Hedges in 2012.

“I met with Toronto, New England and Colorado,” said Zimmerman, who signed the MLS contract after only his sophomore year. “And so I was thinking maybe one of those teams. I didn’t hear much from FC Dallas, so I was definitely surprised with the pick and today they talked to them afterwards and said they were trying to move up for me the whole time. It's nice to know I'm part of a team that really wants me.”

At 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, Zimmerman is widely regarded as an MLS-ready defender in 2013. He was named to the All SoCon team both years at Furman, and was the conference’s Freshman of the Year in 2011.

FC Dallas leaned heavily on the rookie Hedges last year and will likely do so again in 2013. League veteran Ugo Ihemelu was limited to just 10 appearances last year while dealing with concussion troubles, while George John struggled to match the form he showed in 2011 that drew interest from West Ham United.

“It's something where I'm not going to just go in there and just lay over my side and not compete for a starting spot,” Zimmerman said. “I'm definitely looking forward to compete for that position and if not, it'll be great. I'll learn from the veterans and learn how the league works, how the system works and look forward to developing as a player.”

Zimmerman missed the Combine last week in South Florida with what doctors originally diagnosed as a groin strain at the tail end of the college season last fall, and he admitted Thursday that he could miss the first few weeks of FC Dallas preseason training with inflammation of the pubic bone and pelvis.

FC Dallas training opens this week.

“It's an indefinite timetable,” he said. “Four to six weeks is kind of a timetable. It's a matter of getting the inflammation out and fixing the muscular imbalances that may have caused it in the first place, and then we're good to go.

“I think it's going to be a matter of how I get through the next few weeks,” he added. “It's going to be critical in terms of the rehab and the pain level. … I'd like to get back on the field as soon as possible.”