(And thanks to Reader Dan for the e-mail.)
So in the third round of today's MLS SuperDraft, D.C. United selected Ricky Schramm, forward, Georgetown.
Ricky Schramm, forward, Georgetown, didn't even apply to Georgetown until a week before the deadline, when the coaching staff invited him to come visit the campus and told him to apply just in case. Interest had been fairly modest. No schools were offering him money for soccer. He paid his own way at Georgetown for the first three years before getting some athletic scholarship money as a senior.
The 5-foot-11 Schramm led Georgetown in scoring his final three years, finished tied for third all-time at the school with 39 goals (in 77 games) and was the Big East Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, but he didn't get invited to the MLS pre-draft combine. He didn't see himself showing up in the mock MLS drafts online. His pre-draft hype was supplied by his friends, who, on their own, decided to register for BigSoccer and to talk Ricky up (seriously, follow the links). And without a spot at the combine, on his coach's recommendation, he cut his own highlight DVD and mailed it off to every MLS coach, finding their addresses on team Web sites.
"My mom has always instilled in me the strongest work ethic you can imagine, being in people's ears, being annoying if that's what it takes," Schramm just told me. "This process has been about me being a twit in the ear of the coaches and of the guys making this happen."
So DCU invited him to their own combine, which takes place after the SuperDraft but before the supplemental draft. Schramm said absolutely he'd attend, but he also said that he'd love to work out for the club even sooner if possible. So last week he met up with some of the DCU guys--Ben Olsen, Clyde Simms, Jamil Walker, both Carroll brothers (!), Justin Moose, etc. They played small-side, on a 20-yard field, with garbage cans as targets. Schramm's game is about speed and open spaces, but still, he thought he showed well. When he left, D.C. officials said they'd see him at their pre-supplemental draft workout.
He said he had no reason to think he would be picked today, but still, for whatever reason, he decided to get together with some friends for the draft. Wound up being about 20 people. They showed the draft at an off-campus house, using a projector. Everyone was laughing, eating chips and dip, having a nice time. Then Schramm got selected by the league's most successful franchise, located in his adopted city, in the third round.
"The room fell silent, and then just erupted," Schramm said. "Everyone was freaking out. I still have to wait until tomorrow to watch the archived draft. I didn't hear what they said, didn't see any of it. I'm pretty sure [the broadcast] didn't have much information on me, which was typical. I could have given them that stuff in a heartbeat, but they didn't reach out at all."
Anyhow, this turns out to be the best possible situation for Schramm. He only needs eight more credits to graduate, so staying local should facilitate that. He'll have an English major and a Spanish minor (lit favorites including 19th Century British [especially Keats] and Faulkner). His friends are already asking for invites to D.C. United parties; he's trying to tell them that he hasn't even been to preseason camp yet.
Schramm's followed the MLS "religiously" over the past few years, and he knows about all the supplemental draft picks and anonymous college players who have turned into MLS starters. He said he's never been the most technically skilled player, but that he's used speed and vision and hard work to make up for that, putting himself in the right spots to succeed. He said he knows he'll be considered a longshot to catch on with MLS, but that being an unknown has served him well his whole career.
"Just like my process for college, my whole venture was just to get picked up by anyone," he said. "D.C. United is probably taking a chance on me. The draft is all about taking chances. But I don't care about that because I know what I can do. That's the only way you can really get by. You can't have guys hyping you up the whole time. You just have to know it."