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USF's Rob Valentino Selected in First Round of 2008 MLS Draft

Jan. 18, 2008

(New York) - USF men's soccer standout Rob Valentino enters the next phase of his playing career with a new team. Friday the New England Revolution selected the Dons All-American and 2007 Hermann Trophy Watch List member with the 13th pick in the first round of thee 2008 Major League Soccer Draft. Valentino is the first USF inaugural round MLS draft pick and becomes the fifth West Coast Conference player chosen in the top-15 selections in the last five years.

"We are very excited for Rob," USF head coach Erik Visser said. "He is joining an outstanding franchise and will develop and compete for a strong coaching staff. We are proud our coaching staff has had the privilege to develop a first round selection. Rob has worked extremely hard for this and we are thrilled he has the opportunity to pursue a career in the MLS."

Valentino becomes the second player with WCC ties selected in the opening round by New England in the last two years. Santa Clara's Amaechi Igwe - whose father Tony played on three USF NCAA Championship teams in the 1970's - was chosen by the Revolution with the 12th pick last season.

Valentino, the 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year was named to the Hermann Trophy Award Watch list entering the 2007 campaign, before suffering a season-ending injury. Valentino spearheaded the Dons run to back-to-back WCC Championships (2004-05) and catapulted USF Soccer to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths.

A three-time All-WCC First Team selection and an Honorable Mention All-American, Valentino competed on the U-23 USA National Team in its 2007 trip to Japan and was the only collegiate player to start.

Valentino is the second USF student-athlete selected in the first round this season, joining former Diamond Don standout left-hander Aaron Poreday, who was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 2007 Major League Amateur Draft.