At first glance, it might seem strange that a professional soccer team used its first-round pick on a Division III player, but anyone who has had the privilege of seeing alumnus Nate Micklos play here over the past four years knows that it wasn’t a mistake.

Micklos was drafted by the Virginia Beach Mariners as the third overall pick in the 2006 United Soccer League First Division draft just two weeks ago. He is one of only two Division III players taken in this year’s draft. The Virginia Beach team reports that Micklos has signed with the team and will be ready to go when training camp starts on March 1.

Micklos is a native of Palatine, Ill. and is an alumnus of William Fremd High School.

He graduated in December from UR as a member of the Golden Key International Honor Societywith a dual degree in Political Science and History and a minor in philosophy.

Looking at what Micklos has accomplished during his time with the Yellowjackets makes it easy to see why he was a hot commodity on draft day.

His career statistics include 57 goals and 26 assists for 140 points. He racked up 15 goals and ten assists as a senior this past fall, leading the Yellowjackets to a team record 16 wins. He was an All-American selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was also a two-time University Athletic Association Player of the Year, winning the award in both his junior and senior seasons.

On top of those statistics, Micklos broke numerous school records with his uncanny scoring ability. In his junior season, Micklos set school records for goals in a season and points in a season. He holds the career marks for points and goals as well. It’s not the records, however, that made Micklos a special player in the eyes of his coach, Chris Apple.

“Nate sets a good example for everyone around him,” Apple said. “He’s been a captain for two years, and I’ve never heard him give a ‘rah-rah’ speech. Instead, he leads by example.”

“When we run drills in practice, Nate’s always running his tail off. He knows he’s going to start for us the next day, so the motivation is all from within, and that’s a big reason why he’s earned the awards,” Apple said.

Micklos garnered numerous awards for his skills in the classroom as well. He was named to the Academic All-American Second Team as a junior and to the First Team as a senior.

He was also a First Team Scholar All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. On top of those accolades, he was chosen as ESPN The Magazine’s College Division Academic All-American of the Year this season.

“He’s so humble about the awards, the accolades and the buzz,” Apple said. “He wants it to be about the team, not about him.”

UR students won’t have to wait long to see their superstar in action again, as the Mariners will play the Rochester Rhinos on June 3 at the newly built Paetec Park in downtown Rochester. They will also meet on Sept. 1 in the same venue.

Moeller can be reached at amoeller@campustimes.org.



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