The long history of MAC Hermann Trophy winners joining MLS continued on Friday, when striker Jon Bakero was awarded the honor just several hours after the announcement that the Wake Forest senior had signed an MLS contract.
Given to the top player in college soccer, MAC Hermann Trophy winners have made a huge impact on the US Soccer scene, with several – Claudio Reyna, Brad Freidel, Tony Meola and Alexi Lalas, to name a few – going on to huge careers in MLS, with the US national team and in Europe.
How have MAC Hermann Trophy winners fared since MLS kicked off in 1996? Here’s a full rundown:
2016 – Ian Harkes, Wake Forest
The son of former US national team great John Harkes, Ian Harkes signed a Homegrown Player contract with D.C. United. While the Black-and-Red struggled in 2017, Harkes got the opportunity to play regular first-team football in his rookie season, making 22 starts and 25 appearances while scoring twice.
2015 – Jordan Morris, Stanford
One of the most hyped Homegrown signings in MLS history, Jordan Morris lived up to expectations with Seattle in his rookie 2016 campaign, scoring 12 league goals to win MLS Rookie of the Year, then another two during a postseason run that culminated in the Sounders' first MLS Cup. He failed to regain that form in his second MLS season, though he did score the US' matchwinner in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final.
2014 – Leo Stolz, UCLA
Widely regarded as the top player in college soccer in 2014, Leo Stolz fell all the way to the New York Red Bulls with the No. 18 pick in the 2015 SuperDraft after making some noise about signing with a club in his native Germany. Things didn’t work out for the midfielder in New York, as he didn’t make an appearance with the Red Bulls in his lone season with the club.
2013, 2012 – Patrick Mullins, Maryland
After playing irregularly in stints with the New England Revolution and New York City FC, Patrick Mullins made a smashing first impression with D.C. United, scoring eight goals in 14 league games after arriving midway through the 2016 season. But with only five goals during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign and United perhaps ready to spend more with their move to Audi Field, he may face stiffer competition to get on the field in 2018.
2011 – Andrew Wenger, Duke
Taken by Montreal with the first overall pick in the 2012 SuperDraft, Andrew Wenger has bounced around in his five years in MLS. He spent two-plus seasons with the Impact before being traded to Philadelphia early in 2014, then was sent by the Union to Houston after the 2015 season. After scoring six times for the Dynamo in 2016, an influx of foreign talent reduced his role in the 2017 season.
2010 – Darlington Nagbe, Akron
The No. 2 selection in the 2011 SuperDraft, Darlington Nagbe has turned into an MLS star and US national team regular. After regular starter from his rookie season on, Nagbe after scoring 27 goals and posting 30 assists in seven seasons with the Portland Timbers, Nagbe proved worthy of a big money move for Atlanta United earlier this offseason.
2009 – Teal Bunbury, Akron
Selected by Kansas City with the fourth pick in the 2010 draft, Teal Bunbury spent four years with SKC before moving to New England ahead of the 2014 campaign. The Revs regular hit 200 career MLS appearances in 2017 and is returning to Foxborough for the 2018 campaign.
2008 – Marcus Tracy, Wake Forest
A star at Wake Forest, Marcus Tracy headed to Europe after his college career, signing with Danish club Aalborg in January 2009. His career got off to a promising start, but was unfortunately derailed by knee injuries, keeping him out of professional soccer since a brief stint with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2012 and 2013.
2007 – O’Brian White, UConn
Similar to Tracy, O’Brian White’s promising career was cut short due to injury. The UConn product was selected with the fourth overall pick by Toronto in 2009, spending two years with the Reds before being sent to Seattle ahead of the 2011 season. He started his Sounders career brightly, recording two goals and two assists in seven games before blood clot surgery in April 2011 effectively ended his career.
2006 – Joseph Lapira, Notre Dame
The former Notre Dame star never played in MLS, bouncing between the Norwegian and Irish second divisions for a few years – and picking up an Ireland cap – after leaving South Bend. He last played in 2011.
2005 – Jason Garey, Maryland
One of several Terps to win the Hermann Trophy, Jason Garey played six years in MLS, recording 15 goals and six assists in 93 career games with the Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo before signing with NASL club Carolina RailHawks in 2012, his last season as a pro.
2004 – Danny O’Rourke, Indiana
Taken by San Jose with the fourth pick in the 2005 draft, Danny O’Rourke spent 10 seasons in MLS – seven of them with Columbus – recording 200 regular-season appearances and winning one MLS Cup title.
2003 – Chris Wingert, St. John’s
One of the few defenders on this list, Chris Wingert has spent 15 seasons in MLS, posting 339 league appearances and winning an MLS Cup with Real Salt Lake in 2009. But he is out of contract after 23 league appearances for RSL in 2017.
2002 – Alecko Eskandarian, Virginia
The first overall pick in the 2003 draft, Alecko Eskandarian had a relatively successful MLS career, scoring 30 goals and notching 12 assists in 125 regular-season matches. He also won an MLS Cup MVP in 2004 before concussions ended his career prematurely in 2009. He’s now on staff in the player department at MLS.
2001 – Luchi Gonzalez, SMU
Drafted sixth overall by San Jose in 2002, Luchi Gonzalez failed to make much of a mark in MLS, tallying just two goals and two assists in 30 regular season appearances in three years in the league. He retired from pro soccer in 2009 but is molding future generations of MLS talent as the head of FC Dallas' productive academy.
2000 – Chris Gbandi, UConn
The No. 1 pick of the 2001 SuperDraft, Chris Gbandi spent the first five years of his career with Dallas, tallying 111 regular-season appearances with the club. He moved to Norwegian club Haugesund in 2008, spending two years with the team before returning to the US to play in NASL for one season before retiring in 2010. He’s now the head coach at Northeastern University.
1999 – Ali Curtis, Duke
A star at Duke, Ali Curtis didn’t make a huge mark as an MLS player, but he’s gone on to shape the league as an executive. After three years in MLS, he retired as a player in 2004, then returned to the league to work in the player department in 2007. He was New York Red Bulls sporting director since for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
1998 – Wojtek Krakowiak, Clemson
A native of Poland, Wojtek Krakowiak began his pro career in Europe before signing with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2000. He spent just two years in MLS, recording five goals in 29 appearances in stints with San Jose and Tampa Bay.
1997 – Johnny Torres, Creighton
The fifth pick in the 1998 SuperDraft, Johnny Torres played 88 games in four seasons with the New England Revolution before being traded to Miami late in the 2001 season. The Creighton product last played in the league in 2002 and is now an assistant coach at his alma mater.
1996, 1995 – Mike Fisher, Virginia
Despite being taken second overall in the 1997 draft by Tampa Bay, Fisher never signed a professional soccer contract, foregoing a deal with the Mutiny to instead attend medical school at UVa.