FOXBORO - Having scored 41 goals during his collegiate career at Georgetown University, Steve Neumann believes that he can be a contributing member to the attack for the New England Revolution.
New England's first selection in the MLS Draft Thursday, the fourth player chosen overall, "I'm most confident as the second striker, tucked behind the frontrunner," said Neumann. "I grew up as a play-making midfielder, I have that skill set - but I can play anywhere."
The Revolution selected three players in the MLS SuperDraft, two among the first dozen. In addition to Neumann, the Revolution tabbed with the 11th overall selection Patrick Mullins, a forward from Maryland and in the second round, midfielder Alec Sundly out of the University of California, the 31st player taken overall. Both of New England's first-round picks were acquired following trades.
Neumann and Mullins signed contracts with the league prior to draft and have been automatically added to New England's roster.
"Coming into this draft, we were looking to strengthen a couple areas, with the attacking third being our primary focus," said New England GM Mike Burns. "We feel pretty good about coming out with both Steve (Neumann) and Patrick (Mullins). We're looking forward to getting them both in to camp next week (opening Jan. 25 in Foxboro), and then seeing how they adjust to MLS and our group."
New England acquired the fourth overall pick and allocation money from the Columbus Crew in exchange for the rights to defender Michael Parkhurst. The Revolution acquired the 11th overall pick from Colorado, sending the Rapids its 12th and 19th picks in return.
"We were aggressive," said New England coach Jay Heaps of the selections. "We made picks that will help our overall group. You've got to see opportunities and we took those."
The 22-year old Neumann, a native of the Philadelphia area, was named the Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year during the fall season. Neumann was a four-time All Big East selection and a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association All America member, being a 2012 Hermann Trophy finalist nod.
"You play it over in your head a few times leading up to draft day," said Neumann of where he might land. "In college, I developed this consistency with my goal-scoring." In addition to leading the Hoyas, he also was credited with 34 assists in 86 appearances, 67 of them starting assignments over four seasons. He scored at least 10 goals in each of his four years at Georgetown.
"There's a lot of young talent (in New England) with buys like (Diego) Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe," added Neumann. "It's the right fit for me. It's unique from from the college game where you are the big man on campus to being a rookie. I think that I can help out with the attack, with my work rate."
The 21-year old Mullins is the two-time defending Hermann Trophy winner, the Heismann Trophy for collegiate soccer players. Mullins was named the NCAA Division I National Player of the Year in both 2012 and 2013. In 92 career matches at Maryland, he scored 47 goals and added 35 assists, leading the Terrapins to the NCAA College Cup in both 2012 and 2013, finishing as semifinalist in 2012 and the runner-up in 2013.
Mullins was a two-time first-team All-ACC performer and a two-time All-ACC Championship Tournament Most Valuable Player.
"He can play a lot of different positions and we can use him in different areas," said Heaps of Neumann. "He has some of the intangibles. And Mullins, we think he's as versatile as well."
The 21-year old Sundly started 20 of California's 21 games in 2013 as a defensive midfielder, and finished the season ranked second on the Bears with 20 points (nine goals, two assists). In his career, the Bears' captain appeared in 73 games, 55 of them starts. Sundly scored 13 goals and added three assists over his career.
The Revolution will open its 2014 training camp on Jan. 25, at Gillette Stadium. New England's six-week camp will include extended trips to Florida and Arizona. The Revolution will play several matches in Bradenton, Florida, before competing in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. with the MLS season opener in March.
"In second round with Alec (Sundly), we feel like we had a little bit of a steal there," said Burns. "He wasn't at the MLS Combine, which probably hurt him a little bit. We've seen him play and heard a lot of good things about him, so we're looking forward to getting him into camp, too.
"Every team prepares their draft boards and when we looked at ours, I don't think we envisioned both Steve and Patrick being available to us when we just held the number 12 pick. But when they ended up being available, we thought it was too good of an opportunity to pass up and drafted them."