While his soccer future was being decided in Baltimore, former Michigan men’s soccer forward Knox Cameron was in Ann Arbor hovering over his computer watching a live Internet feed of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Friday.
“My dad and I were watching the computer, and I was getting really nervous,” Cameron said. “I was just trying to avoid phone calls from friends and family.”
In the fourth round of the draft, Cameron was selected by the Columbus Crew. Since the draft wasn’t televised, Cameron had to watch it via the Internet and rely on phone calls from Michigan coach Steve Burns. Burns was at the draft and got to hear his player’s name called first hand.
“I was really happy when they called his name,” Burns said. “You always want to see your players go on and do well for themselves. I think Knox had sort of thought that he would have gone in an earlier round, so I think he was feeling a little bit of anxiety as the draft continued. I just told him that it’s not where you enter, but where you finish.”
But in the fourth round with the 44th pick, Cameron’s name was finally called.
“It was such a relief when I got picked,” Cameron said. “Afterwards, I got close to 20 phone calls from people congratulating me. It was such an exciting moment for me. It has always been my dream to play professional soccer.”
Burns believes that Columbus will be a great team for Cameron to play with because of its location and its impressive ability to develop young players.
“In a way, he was hoping to play in New York near his family,” Burns said. “Now he gets to play near us, his adopted family.
Cameron was predicted to be one of the nation’s most exciting players to watch when he entered his final season with the Wolverines this fall. He was named 2003 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, was second in Michigan history in points scored (72 points on 28 goals and 16 assists) and was nominated for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, given to the nation’s top college soccer player. But everything changed early last summer when he tore the meniscus in his knee during an exhibition game with his summer league team and had to undergo surgery. His doctors didn’t promise his return for his senior campaign.
But later in November, Cameron rejoined his team on the field and helped them secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament with three points over the final six games of the season. Even with the return of one of their best players, the Wolverines ended up losing 1-0 to Indiana in the second round. The Hoosiers went on to the NCAA Championship and, ultimately, won the tournament title.
Cameron will join up with the Crew late next month for preseason training where he will be examined by the coaches. His first game is scheduled for April 2 in Columbus against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Cameron is the second Wolverine to be drafted into the MLS. In 2004, Kevin Taylor (2000-03) was selected with the 25th overall pick by the Colorado Rapids. There are four more rounds left in the draft this week, and Burns is hopeful that graduating senior forward Mychal Turpin will also be drafted.
In 2004, Turpin earned second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors while leading the Wolverines with 17 points on six goals and five assists. Turpin ended his career at Michigan having missed only one game as the all-time leading scorer for the Wolverines. In his career, Turpin compiled 85 career points on 33 goals and 19 assists. His 33 career goals are also a record at Michigan, and his 19 assists place him second all-time.