For all the talent on display at the MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale this weekend, the best player in the collegiate ranks will be nowhere near South Florida.
That’s because Patrick Mullins, the University of Maryland forward and Louisiana native who won the Hermann Trophy on Friday night as the best men’s player in the NCAAs last year, is headed back to school. Mullins, who as a junior scored 17 goals and added 10 assists en route to winning the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, declined to leave campus early and will return for the Terrapins next season.
Maryland reached the NCAA College Cup last fall but were eliminated by Georgetown in the national semfinals.
Mullins joins former Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo forward Jason Garey (2005) as the only Maryland players to win the award, and he’s also in rare company when it comes to his career decision. He’s the first player to win the Hermann and return to college since Connecticut’s O’Brian White won in 2007 and then finished out his Huskies career the next season.
Mullins beat Notre Dame’s Ryan Finley and Creighton’s Jose Gomez to win the award. Both Finley and Gomez are in action at the Combine this weekend and both are expected to be taken during the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 17 in Indianapolis.
Crystal Dunn, a junior forward from North Carolina, won the women’s Hermann Trophy.