PHILADELPHIA – Thursday afternoon was always going to be special for Steve Neumann.
Attending the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia – just 40 miles from his hometown of New Hope, Pa. – Neumann was surrounded by friends and family as his childhood dream became reality when the New England Revolution selected him with the fourth overall pick.
“It’s unbelievable,” Neumann said. “You play it over in your head a few times leading up to draft day and then when your name actually gets called it’s still very, very surprising. I think the draft being here in my hometown of Philadelphia and all my friends and family being along here with me, that’s definitely special for me and something I’ll never forget.”
In truth, Neumann shouldn’t have been surprised that the Revs – a team in search of attacking talent – snapped up a player who scored 41 goals and added 34 assists during a standout four-year career at Georgetown University. Rumblings on the SuperDraft floor indicated that Neumann was highly coveted by a number of teams drafting behind New England, making it the smart move to grab him when presented the chance.
In his own words, Neumann spent most of his youth days as a “playmaking midfielder,” but quickly added goal-scoring capabilities to his repertoire while playing as a withdrawn forward at Georgetown, scoring double-digit goals all four years. That diverse background was attractive to the Revs, who love the versatility that Neumann brings to their attacking setup, as he has the ability to play as a striker, winger or attacking midfielder.
“That’s what we’re excited about with Stevie; he’s shown he can score and he’s played a couple different positions,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “With Stevie we feel like he has some of the intangibles that we look for in our group. He’s someone that can play a number of positions for us and someone that we’re going to use in different areas, but someone that we’re excited about bringing into the team.”
“I think I’m most confident where I played at Georgetown, as that second striker tucked right in behind the front runner,” Neumann said. “But I think my skill-set is versatile enough where I can play anywhere in the midfield, anywhere up top.”
It’s that fit which has Neumann most excited about joining the Revs; he mentioned specifically looking forward to playing alongside young attacking talent like Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe. But he also knows that in order to get that chance on game days, he’ll have to prove himself when preseason camp opens next Saturday.
“I’m going to soak this in for the next couple days and then start focusing on the year,” Neumann said. “I know it’s a long season and a bit of a grind, so I’m looking forward to putting in the work and getting started.”