Kirk Urso doesn’t flat out say so, but he’s carrying a grudge after not being selected in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft and falling to the 10th overall pick by the Crew in the ensuing Supplemental Draft.
“It’s disappointing when you think you’ve had a good college career and you don’t get picked up earlier,” the midfielder told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday.
Urso helped North Carolina to the 2011 NCAA Championship to complete his time at Chapel Hill, where he started 80 of 91 matches and had 15 goals and 24 assists. He thought it would be enough to get picked up in the 2012 SuperDraft, but every MLS team passed on him. That included the Crew on three occasions.
“There’s a bit of a chip, but I don’t think about it when I’m playing,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier where I landed. I think it’s a great spot for me and I’m looking forward to contributing to this team and improving and learning as I go.”
He may yet get the last laugh. Injuries and the offseason departures of midfielders Robbie Rogers and Emmanuel Ekpo have created an opportunity for Urso and he likely will start the season opener Saturday at Colorado (6 pm ET, MLS Live).
“He’s a good player and he knows that,” Crew manager Robert Warzycha said. “You don’t have to be picked first to be able to perform and be a good player.”
Urso has been playing a little differently than at UNC but he’s not letting that deter him.
“We’re playing kind of a triangle and I’m the holding mid,” he said. “In college we actually played three flat. I’ve never really played the [defensive] midfield spot, but I feel comfortable there.”
Urso credits the centerbacks behind him – Chad Marshall and Danny O’Rourke – and midfielder Milovan Mirosevic in front of him for helping him learn the position.
The next step for Urso is to taste his first competitive MLS action on First Kick weekend at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
“Any rookie starting is a surprise for any team,” Warzycha said. “I watched him play for his college team. Sometimes he didn’t have his best game but he always worked. That’s what people appreciate.”