INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Andrew Farrell took a brief moment to soak up the prestige associated with being the number one overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft; key word being “brief.”
Almost immediately the former Louisville center back – and current member of the Generation adidas class – turned his attention to work. After all, he’s off to Casa Grande, Ariz., for an extended preseason trip with the New England Revolution on Monday.
“It’s exciting,” Farrell said as a smile spread wide across his face. “A lot of hard work has been put in throughout my career and a lot of support from my family and teammates and everybody. I’m just excited. Obviously the number one pick is very prestigious and I’m very thankful for that, but also, I’m ready. I’m ready to start working on Monday.”
“He’s humble and he’s hungry,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said to describe the first number one pick in club history. “For us, that’s exactly what you want to hear. You want to hear a guy enjoy it for the day – the number one pick – but he knows tomorrow he’s going to roll up his sleeves and get to work with us.”
Farrell’s character shone through when the Revolution’s technical staff had a chance to sit down with the 20-year-old during the MLS Player Combine, which wrapped up earlier this week in Lauderhill, Fla. Talent was never in question with regards to a player most experts pegged as the clear-cut top choice in this year’s draft class, but it was Farrell’s selfless attitude which put the Revs over the top in their decision to trade up and secure his services.
“When you sit down and you’re meeting these [players], you’re looking for what kind of people they are and he struck the staff as a very humble, very composed young man, and someone we could see ourselves working with,” said Heaps. “You do the research before you go down there, you watch the games, you go to the games, you see them on film, but then those are the little tipping points that have to meet your expectations. When they exceed your expectations, then you become excited about it.”
The Revs are also very excited about what Farrell will bring on the field, including versatility to the backline. Composed in possession and athletically gifted, Farrell projects as a central defender but also has the ability to play right back or in defensive midfield. While Heaps cautioned that his staff doesn’t expect Farrell to be a surefire starter by opening day, he does believe the newly-minted rookie has an incredibly bright future.
“He’s very composed with the ball defensively and he’s good playing out of the back,” said Heaps. “That’s something we like to do just from an offensive standpoint. He’s someone that can pick players out in front of him … He’s not the biggest guy in the room, but he’s strong in the air, he’s physical. All those things added up to a player that we felt was a little bit ahead of everyone else in this Combine.”
For Farrell’s part, he’s flattered by the praise and attention he’s received in recent weeks, but now his focus is locked solely on proving his status as a number one pick, particularly after the Revs showed so much faith by trading up into the top spot to bring him to New England.
“That’s very exciting because obviously it means they want me and they have me in their plans,” said Farrell. “I’ve got to pay them back by working hard every day.”