matt jeffrey

Matt Jeffery Selected by the Colorado Rapids

matt jeffreyDreams were made two weeks ago as 84 student-athletes were chosen in the 19th Annual Major League Soccer Superdraft. 

The fourth round of the draft kicked off on Tuesday, Jan. 20 and Monmouth University senior, Matt Jeffery, was selected by the Colorado Rapids. Jeffery was taken 16th in the round and 78th overall. The decorated MU central defender has been a main stay for the Hawks over the past four years. He becomes the seventh Hawk taken in the draft over the history of the program. After Jeffery landed in Colorado Wednesday, Jan. 21, the now ex-Hawk defender discussed how he was dealing with the transition from the college game into the professional ranks. 

“My first reaction when I saw my name come across the draft board was pure excitement,” said Jeffery, a 21-year-old Freehold native. “It’s an unbelievable feeling when you find out a team has drafted you and given you the opportunity to take your game to the professional level. It took a couple hours for everything to really sink in but once it all did, I couldn’t have been more thankful to be in this position. It was a dream come true type moment for me and certainly a moment I will never forget.”

Contrary to common belief, being drafted by an MLS team does not guarantee they will offer a contract. Although a handful of players who sign with the league before the draft do in fact secure professional contracts, the vast majority will have to prove their worth in preseason. This makes the next few weeks for these aspiring young professionals the most significant of their careers. Jeffery, a two-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Year selection, is a part of that vast majority. 

With Jeffery at the helm the Hawks defense finished first in the nation for both goals against average (0.48) and save percentage (0.883). Working with Associate Head Coach and former New York Redbull’s defender, Hugh MacDonald, over the past four years has helped to prepare him for this grueling task ahead. 

“Matt’s one of the rare kids that had the ability to step right in and have an immediate impact,” said MacDonald. “He settled into a starting job and scored a goal at UConn in the second round of the NCAA tournament all as a freshman. From that point on I think he gained the confidence to realize he could be something special for the program and he was. Over the course of Matt’s four years he not only had an impact on our program through his play, but eventually through his leadership, and that’s something that’s hard to replace.”

Colorado currently has nine defenders on roster making a contract seem that much more elusive for this young central defender from New Jersey. But Jeffery’s daunting stature at 6’4” 200 lbs combined with his quality on the ball should sway Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni into a tough decision. 

“My main goal entering preseason is to work as hard as I possibly can,” said Jeffery. “Having the proper mentality on a daily basis and conducting myself as a professional are two other main aspects that I will look to carry into my first preseason. The overall goal entering preseason will be to sign a contract and become an official member of the club.”

The Colorado Rapids will start preseason in Las Vegas with a friendly against their Western Conference rival San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, Feb. 15. This game has some added implications for Monmouth Soccer fans as former All-Region MU goalkeeper, Bryan Meredith is currently second choice for the Earthquakes. The match is sure to heat up for Hawks fans as Jeffery and Meredith will more than likely square off on multiple set pieces. 

PHOTO COURTESY of Taylor Jackson