Powers continues Rapids ascension: Dillon selected by Colorado in first round of MLS SuperDraft
Plano Senior alum Dillon Powers has had plenty of big days in his soccer career.
But after capturing state and national titles as well as numerous player of the year honors, Powers reached another career-topping achievement Thursday as he was selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids.
"We heard Dillon could go anywhere from No. 5 to 15, so we knew it was going to happen," said Bob Weir, former Plano boys soccer head coach. "But it's still exciting to see it actually happen. Dillon was able to play soccer in college and now he'll have the opportunity to make a career out of it."
Colorado acquired the pick via trade earlier in the day.
"Going in, I didn't really know what to expect," Powers said. "Prior to the draft I had a good meeting with Colorado and felt like their style fit my style of play, so I was happy to be called to them."
That feeling was mutual.
"We are excited to have a guy like Dillon that has this type of pedigree in the States," said Oscar Pareja, Colorado head coach. "We feel he can come in right away and fight for a spot on the team."
The pedigree Pareja refers to started with Powers' father Mike, who played in the North American Soccer League and with the Dallas Sidekicks while also coaching at the Plano-based Andromeda Soccer Club.
"I got started in the sport at a really young age," Powers said. "And I knew growing up that I just loved playing soccer."
Powers' combination of passion and skill proved a formidable combination. The midfielder strung together three straight championship seasons as Andromeda won the US Youth Soccer National Titles in 2007 and 2008 (the organization's first national championships) and Plano captured the Class 5A State Championship (its sixth) in 2009. Powers registered 16 goals and 24 assists during his senior season with the Wildcats.
"Dillon still comes back and plays with the kids at the indoor center; he was actually here two weeks ago," Weir said. "That just goes to show what type of kid he is."
After his senior season at Plano, Powers was named 2008-09 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Powers continued to up his national presence as he played for the U18 and U20 National Teams. Powers won gold with the U18 squad at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, played at the 2009 FIFA U20 World Cup in Egypt and was named MVP at the 2010 Milk Cup after leading the U.S. to the title.
"Dillon's play at the national level has really been a highlight for me," Pareja said.
Powers piled up more praise at Notre Dame.
After being named to the All-Big East Rookie Team in 2009 and picking up back-to-back All-Big East second team nods, the Plano native put up his best season as a senior. Powers started all 22 matches and posted career highs in goals (five), assists (nine) and points (19) en route to being named first team All-America by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, first team All-Big East and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy (college soccer's top player).
Powers' senior season, which he said was the first at Notre Dame in which he felt truly healthy and fit, no doubt helped his draft stock.
"Dillon has been a two-year captain and fantastic student; he really has done it all," said Bobby Clark, Notre Dame head coach. "We are obviously sad to see him go, but he can be a great fit in Colorado and I think he'll do very well."
Powers was quick to credit Notre Dame for helping his game evolve.
"Especially as a senior, I really learned how to manage a team and take over games," he said.
College also helped Powers prepare for climate far different than Texas.
"Yeah, I've had a real winter for the last four years," he said. "I've never been to Colorado, but I think that will help me be prepared for it."
The Rapids reported for fitness tests Friday with Powers and fellow draft picks Deshorn Brown (sixth) and Kory Kindle (25th) set to arrive Monday for the start of tactical sessions.
"Colorado likes to keep the ball on the floor, keep possession and make chances out of that," Powers said, "and I think that's the best part of my game, getting the whole team involved. I feel like I am a box to box guy, but I'll accept any role in the midfield the team wants me to, whether that means attacking or being more defensive."
The Rapids open the season March 2 when hosting FC Dallas.
"This is such an exciting opportunity," Powers said. "But I'm not taking anything for granted; I'm going to go out and try to prove myself every time."