Billikens in the Pros

Courtesy: Saint Louis Athletics
          Release: 08/22/2011
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ACTIVE PLAYERS IN MLS (as of 2013 season)

Brandon Barklage (NY Red Bulls) | Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) | Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers) 

ACTIVE PLAYERS PLAYING OVERSEAS (as of 2013 season)

Vedad Ibisevic (Official Website) | Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers) | Dipsy Selolwane (University of Pretoria)

Saint Louis University soccer is rich in tradition. It makes sense that Billiken soccer plays a big part in this country’s professional outdoor soccer league, Major League Soccer. In addition, former Billikens have played on soccer's greatest stages – the World Cup, the Olympics, the Premier League, the German Bundesliga, among others. 

Brandon Barklage – A two-time All-Conference selection at SLU, Barklage was taken by D.C. United in the third round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He made the team and appeared in four matches before suffering a season-ending knee injury in U.S. Open Cup play.  He  was waived by D.C. and was then brought in by the New York Red Bulls for a preseason trial. Not only would Barklage make the team, he would become a key cog on the Red Bulls’ back line. He scored his first MLS goals against his old team, D.C. United, June 24, 2012.

Shane Battelle – A 1993 first-team All-American, Battelle was drafted by Columbus in the 1996 MLS Draft. He was a capable performer for the Crew before injuries ended his career. 

Jason Cole – The 2002 Conference USA Player of the Year, Cole was a third-round choice in the MLS SuperDraft by Colorado. Cole didn’t make the Rapids’ roster but later played with Cincinnati in the A-League and with the Kansas City Attack indoors.

Dan Counce – The 1973 Hermann Award winner as national Player of the Year, Counce was the general manager of the MLS Colorado Rapids from 1997 to 2004.

Brad Davis – After two All-American seasons for the Bills, Davis turned professional in January 2002. He was the first-round draft choice of the  MetroStars.

Davis was a finalist for the 2002 MLS Rookie of the Year award with 11 points (4G, 3A) for the MetroStars. He was traded in 2003 to Dallas and was a starter in the Burn’s midfield. After being traded to San Jose in 2005, Davis was called to the U.S. National Team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament. He netted the winning shootout PK in the title match against Panama. 

Davis moved with the San Jose franchise when it relocated to Houston in 2006. He is among the MLS’ all-time leaders in assists, a five-time MLS All-Star, a four-time Dynamo Team MVP, the 2011 MLS MVP runner-up and the Dynamo's all-time leader in games played, starts and assists.

John DiRaimondo – The two-time Billiken All-American was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft by Colorado. After helping the Rapids to an MLS Reserve division championship in 2006, DiRaimondo became an integral part of the Rapids’ midfield, scoring his first career MLS goal on April 5, 2008. In 2009, DiRaimondo was picked up by D.C. United, where he helped the club to a U.S. Open Cup championship appearance. He retired from MLS to become a senior graduate manager at SLU. He has since earned his MBA and entered the business world in St. Louis.

Brian Grazier – The 2007 Mark Demling Award winner was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in the fourth round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He was a member of the squad with former Billiken teammates John DiRaimondo and Tim Ward. Grazier then became senior graduate manager for SLU men’s soccer. Currently, he is an assistant coach for Dan Donigan at Rutgers.

Dado Hamzagic – Hamzagic was drafted by the New England Revolution in the second round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. After a short stint in New England, Hamzagic opted to return to his native Bosnia and played for FK Sarajevo.  

Martin Hutton – After an injury-plagued senior year, free-agent goalkeeper Martin Hutton signed with Kansas City in 2005 for one of the Wizards’ developmental roster spots. He signed with Houston for the 2006 season. He retired from MLS in 2007 to become the Billikens’ graduate assistant coach. 

Vedad Ibisevic – Ibisevic played for the Billikens in 2003 before opting to turn professional. That year, he tied for fourth nationally in scoring with 40 points (18G, 4A). His first stop on the professional circuit was with Paris St. German in France.

Ibisevic moved to Hoffenheim, where he became the top scorer in the Bundesliga for a portion of the 2008-09 campaign before an injury forced him to miss the rest of the season. Overall, he recorded 48 goals in 123 appearances for Hoffenheim.

Early in 2012, Ibisevic moved from Hoffenhim to VfB Stuttgard in the Bundesliga. According to reports, the transfer was agreed to for a fee of $7.2 million. That is believed to be a record transfer fee for any player who has played U.S. college soccer.

Ibisevic is also active on the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification.

Jack Jewsbury – The Billikens’ 2002 MVP, Jewsbury was a fifth-round choice in the MLS SuperDraft by Kansas City. He worked his way up from the developmental squad to become a mainstay in the Wizards’ lineup.

Jewsbury was traded to the Portland Timbers in 2010, where he was immediately named captain and has become a fan favorite. He was named an MLS All-Star in 2011.

Will John – The Billikens’ 2004 MVP earned first-team All-Conference USA and second-team NSCAA All-Midwest Region honors. He was the 18th player selected overall in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft’s second round by Chicago. He was traded to Kansas City prior to the 2006 season. 

Following a three-year MLS career, John signed with Randers FC of the Danish Superliga in 2008.

Ty Keough – A two-time first-team All-American for the Bills, Keough has been an MLS analyst for ESPN and ABC-TV soccer telecasts.

Brian McBride – A two-time All-American for the Bills and their all-time leading scorer, McBride is the Columbus Crew’s all-time leader in points (169) and goals (62). He is a seven-time MLS All-Star.

He was the first player selected in the inaugural MLS Draft in 1996. He earned the All-Star Game MVP award in 1998 and is the event’s all-time leading scorer with 17 points (5G, 7A). McBride gave up his MLS career and joined Fulham in the English Premier League in 2004. He scored in his debut game against Westham United. He was Fulham’s MVP in 2005.

In summer 2008, McBride announced his desire to return to the United States and finish his playing career in MLS. He joined the Chicago Fire after competing with the U.S. Olympic squad in Beijing.

Bill McDermott – A midfielder for the Bills’ 1967 and 1969 national champions, McDermott has been an MLS analyst for ESPN and ABC-TV soccer telecasts.

In addition to owning a graphic design firm, McDermott is an analyst for Columbus Crew games and serves as the Billikens’ public address announcer at men’s and women’s soccer matches.

Matt McKeon – The Missouri Athletic Club’s National Player of the Year in 1995, McKeon was called up to the U.S. National Team in the summer of 1999 and played well in the Confederation’s Cup in Mexico. “The Train” established himself as one of the most commanding midfield presences in MLS. He played a major role in the Wizards’ 2000 MLS championship run and played in Kansas City through 2001. 

Kyle Patterson – A former Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, Patterson was acquired by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft in 2009. He picked up an assist on a Landon Donovan goal against D.C. United early in the 2009 season.

Tim Ream – A 2009 All-American and Atlantic 10 Conference Defender of the Year, Ream burst onto the soccer scene in 2010 after being drafted by the New York Red Bulls. Ream was a finalist for Rookie of the Year in 2010, and drew attention from the U.S. National Team, with whom he was earned eight caps.

Ream signed a 3-1/2 year deal with the Bolton Wanderers in January 2012. He played for Bolton in the English Premier League in 2012, becoming the first St. Louis-born player to play in the EPL, and the second Billiken, with Brian McBride being the other.

Mike Roach  – Former Billiken standout Mike Roach was selected by the New England Revolution in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. 

Mark Santel – A three-time Billiken All-American, Santel made numerous appearances on the U.S. National Team roster. He was traded from Dallas to Kansas City prior to the 2001 season and retired at the conclusion of that campaign. He had been a mainstay on the Burn roster from 1996-2000 and played virtually every position except keeper. Santel is currently an assistant coach for SLU men’s soccer. 

Dipsy Selolwane – A 2001 All-American and Hermann Trophy finalist, Selolwane played in Denmark’s first division before signing with Chicago late in the 2002 season. He was traded to Real Salt Lake prior to the 2005 season. He is a standout on Botswana’s National Team. Selolwane signed with Ajax Cape Town in 2008 of the South African Premier Soccer League.

After appearing in 61 matches for Ajax Cape Town, Selolwane moved to league champion Supersport United from 2010-12. As of 2013, he is a member of University of Pretoria Football Club in South Africa.

Mike Sorber – Sorber played a starring role in the United States’ surprise showing in the ’94 World Cup hosted by the United States. Sorber gained extensive professional experience while playing internationally in Mexico. It benefitted him throughout his MLS tenure with Kansas City, the MetroStars and Chicago. 

Sorber retired to become an assistant coach for the Billikens in 2001. Along with former SLU teammates Santel and McKeon, Sorber was on the ballot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame voting in 2006 and again in 2007.

In the summer of 2007, Sorber accepted an assistant coaching position under USMNT head coach Bob Bradley. Sorber was a member of Bradley’s Chicago Fire squad that reached the MLS Cup final in 2000.

Following his stint with the USMNT, Sorber served as an assistant coach for the expansion Montreal Impact of MLS.

Jacob Thomas – After a single season at SLU in 1995, Thomas had a lengthy career in Germany’s second division before playing two seasons with the Columbus Crew.  

Tim Ward – A 2004 C-USA All-Freshman team member and second-team All-Conference selection, Ward also was named NSCAA second-team All-Midwest Region. He went to the MetroStars in the MLS SuperDraft’s first round as the 12th player selected overall. He was traded to Columbus prior to the 2006 season, played two years with the Crew.

In 2007, he was a member of the United States squad in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. Following a stint with the Colorado Rapids, Ward landed with the Chicago Fire, where he played with former Billiken Brian McBride for two seasons. He played for the San Jose Earthquakes from 2010 to 2012.

Danny Wynn – A 2005 first-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection, Wynn was drafted in the first round of the MLS 2006 Supplemental Draft by the New England Revolution as the 11th overall choice.

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