John Kerr Jr., a senior at Falls Church High School, was selected yesterday by the New York Cosmos in the first round of the North American Soccer League college draft.
Kerr, one of three high school players chosen in the first round, was the 11th selection overall and the third first-round pick of the league champion Cosmos. He was the only metropolitan-area player taken in the first four rounds.
Gregg Thompson, a fullback from NCAA champion Indiana University, was picked by Tampa Bay as the No. 1 overall choice.
Second to pick was toronto, which took Cosimo Commissio, a midfielder from Assumption High School in Canada, followed by Chicago, which picked Duke defender Joe Ulrich.
"I'm going to have to hit myself in the head to make sure it's real," said Kerr, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound forward who scored 25 goals in his first two years at Falls Church. "I had no idea I'd get drafted. I thought I'd be too young to get drafted by the pros."
Kerr, a Canadian, is a member of the Montgomery United club and the Virginia state team. He has had tryouts with the Canadian Junior National team and Eastern Regional squad.
Kerr was able to impress the Cosmos with his ability.
"We were impressed with John's attitude and his technical skills, and he passes the ball well," said Thomas Werblin, Cosmos general manager. "Players we draft as high school athletes are generally of outstanding quality. John would be a sure contender for a spot on our team."
The Cosmos, who have two high school draftees in their starting lineup, scouted Kerr when he was playing in the national under-16 tournament in San Jose, Calif., last year. Cosmos Coach Julio Mazzei also reviewed videotapes of Kerr before selecting him.
However, Kerr is not sure he wants to turn pro. "It would take a four-year guarantee and a guarantee for my education. But I always assumed I'd go to school."
If Kerr opts for college, he would be eligible for the reentry draft upon graduation. He is also interested in the Team America proposal under consideration by the NASL, which would put a team of U.S. players in Washington or St. Louis.
"It's very intriguing," Kerr said. "They're going to have to get Americans into the game if it is going to survive in this country."
Kerr's father, John, spent seven years as a midfielder in the NASL with the Detroit Cougars, the Cosmos, and the Washington Diplomats. He is currently the executive director of the NASL Players Association.