After three years and 44 starts between the posts for the Michigan men’s soccer team, junior goalkeeper Evan Louro has signed a contract with the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer.
The South River, N.J., native has forgone his fourth year of eligibility with the Wolverines and passed up opportunities to play for European clubs to return home and play for the Red Bulls. Prior to coming to Michigan, Louro spent time in the Red Bulls’ youth academy. That experience allowed New York to offer him a deal — on a Homegrown Player contract — without going through the MLS SuperDraft.
“When I initially came to Michigan, I knew that this was what I wanted to do,” Louro said. “And that whenever we both decided the time was right for me to go, (the coaching staff) would support me in that decision.”
But that same coaching staff will undoubtedly miss his presence in goals.
In his 46 appearances with the Wolverines, Louro sports the second-best goals-allowed-per-game average of any goalkeeper in program history (1.16). This season he set a career-high in saves, with 68, including a career-high 11 saves against then-No.1 Maryland.
“I wanted to win a trophy and all that good stuff,” Louro said. “But honestly I just want to be the guy who made the program better and put the program on that next step.”
The departure leaves Michigan with an experience gap at keeper next season, as the roster is now devoid of a goalkeeper who has started a collegiate match. Andrew Verdi, who redshirted this year, will likely enter the season as the presumptive starter. Verdi, though untested, arrived in Ann Arbor during the last offseason as a highly coveted recruit, having spent time with the U-18 US Men’s National Team and the Philadelphia Union youth academy for five seasons.
The coaching staff and Louro came to a decision that he was ready to sign professionally around mid-October. Louro and senior defender Lars Eckenrode — who was selected in the fourth round of the SuperDraft by Toronto FC — will likely become the third and fourth active Wolverines in MLS.
As for the most lasting memories he’s made with the program, Louro glowingly recalls a 3-2 victory over Notre Dame his freshman year — “The fans stormed the field,” he says — and a win over Michigan State last season.
But he says what will be most difficult to leave behind about Michigan has nothing to do with soccer, nor what happened on the field at U-M Soccer Stadium.
“I made some of my best friends (at Michigan) that will be my best friends for the rest of my life,” Louro said. “Really that’s what I’ll miss the most.”