Maryland junior forward Gordon Wild, a prolific scorer in his first two seasons of college soccer before struggling this fall, will forego his final year of eligibility to pursue a pro career, sources told the Insider on Tuesday.
Wild, 22, has weighed opportunities back home in Germany in the second division but is likely to sign with MLS this week and enter the Jan. 19 draft in Philadelphia, one source said. He is working with sports marketing firm Octagon, which lists former U.S. star Eddie Pope among its North American soccer executives.
Neither Wild nor Maryland Coach Sasho Cirovski replied to requests for comment.
Wild is the second prominent Terrapin to leave a year early: Eryk Williamson, a U.S. under-20 national team midfielder from Alexandria, is deciding whether to sign with a club in Scandinavia or accept D.C. United’s homegrown contract offer. He has no plans to return to College Park. As a D.C. academy player, Williamson is not eligible for the MLS draft.
It is unclear how highly MLS clubs rate Wild after he scored just five goals in 2017 and went scoreless the last two months. As a freshman, he led the nation in scoring with 16 goals at South Carolina Upstate, a small Division I program. He then transferred to Maryland and recorded 17 goals in earning Big Ten offensive player of the year honors and being named one of three finalists for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s equivalent to football’s Heisman.
Wild turned down an MLS offer last winter. This past season, Wild posted five goals in the first six matches but slumped badly as the Terrapins fizzled with a 0-5-1 skid after a 10-0-3 start and were ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Albany on penalty kicks.
Wild has a fascinating backstory: He comes from a family of acrobats.
Williamson, 20, led the Terrapins in scoring this past season with six goals (three vs. Wisconsin) and was second on the team in assists with five. He was named a third-team all-American. For the U.S. under-20s, Williamson was among three players to appear in all 12 matches in 2017, starting 10 times and scoring once — a spectacular goal against El Salvador.