Men’s Soccer: Joe Franco becomes lone Matador drafted this season

Mens Soccer: Joe Franco becomes lone Matador drafted this season

Casey Delich

Senior defender Joe Franco goes for the ball against visiting Army. Franco was selected by Chivas USA in the MLS Supplemental Draft. File Photo / Daily Sundial

Men’s soccer senior defender Joe Franco, an All-Big West First Team selection in 2012, was selected by Chivas USA in the Major League Soccer supplemental draft Tuesday.

Franco becomes the 10th Matador to be drafted by an MLS franchise, the first to Chivas USA. Taken in the second round of the supplemental draft, Franco was the 21st player selected.

“It’s an amazing surreal feeling,” Franco said about being drafted. “It is still barely sinking in that I’m a professional soccer player because its always just been a dream. Now it has become a reality. It is just the beginning though, because I have a lot to prove on the field.”

A staple of CSUN’s top ranked defense for the past four years, Franco helped lead the Matadors to their first Big West Championship and their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005.

Playing nearly every minute of the Matadors games, Franco was a defensive presence roaming the back field.

Franco suffered a season ending knee injury in the Big West Championship game against UC Davis, and was unable to participate in the NCAA Tournament.

The same injury that prevented him from leading his Matadors in the tournament, may have dropped his stock in the draft. Originally projected as a late first round draft pick, Franco was invited to participate in the MLS Combine, but declined to continue his rehab.

“I don’t know what goes through the coaches minds so I don’t know, but I am sure that it definitely played a factor,” Franco said about the draft and his knee. “Which is also motivation for me to prove those coaches wrong that passed me up, and show Chivas that they made a great decision in taking a chance with me.”

Named the BIg West Conference Defender of the Year in 2012, Franco anchored the Big West’s highest ranked defense. Allowing .89 goals per game average, the Matadors edged out perennial contenders UCSB and UC Davis for the BIg West lead.

Franco ended his CSUN career with six assists and three goals. During his final season, he was awarded NSCAA All-Far West Region Second Team and Scholar All-America honors.

The MLS held their Superdraft on January 17, which involved the first 38 picks of the draft spread over two rounds. The supplemental rounds involved four rounds and included all 19 teams in the league.