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Terps Goalie Seitz to Turn Pro Early

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Maryland men's soccer team lost another star player yesterday when goalkeeper Chris Seitz announced he was leaving school two years early to pursue a pro career.

Meantime, Virginia freshman defender Bakary Soumare, who helped the Cavaliers reach the national semifinals, said in an e-mail last night that he has signed with an agent. Junior midfielder Nico Colaluca is also expected to leave Virginia. Both are likely to join MLS.

Seitz's revelation came one day after junior midfielder Maurice Edu said he was leaving College Park to turn pro. Edu is expected to sign with MLS, but Seitz could end up in Europe after attracting interest overseas last summer while playing for the U.S. under-20 national team.

Seitz, with 10 shutouts and a 0.66 goals against average this season, was named ACC defensive player of the year and third-team all-American. His two-year record was 28-5-3 and he helped the Terps win the 2005 NCAA title, but what most impressed pro scouts were his size (6 feet 4, 210 pounds), instincts and reflexes.

"After 3 1/2 weeks of agonizing over my choices, I've decided that it was time to focus solely on soccer," Seitz said in a statement.

Coach Sasho Cirovski said Seitz is an "enormous talent. . . . I am excited to follow and watch his career blossom."

Colaluca, a wing who was named second-team all-American, led the Cavaliers in assists (10) and was third in goals (seven).

After sitting out the 2005 season with a foot injury, the 6-4 Soumare emerged as one of the nation's most promising central defenders. He is a native of Mali who lived in France before moving to New York as a teenager.

MLS plans to announce several college signings over the next week. The draft is Jan. 12 in Indianapolis.

-- Steven Goff

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