Virginia Men's Soccer Players Alecko Eskandarian, David Comfort, Kenny Arena and Jacob LeBlanc Selected in the 2003 Major League Soccer SuperDraft
Jan. 17, 2003
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Four University of Virginia men’s soccer players were selected in the 2003 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft. UVa forward Alecko Eskandarian (Montvale, N.J/Bergen Catholic) was selected as the #1 pick overall in first round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft by D.C. United. The Cavaliers’ David Comfort (Richmond, Va./Monacan), a goalkeeper, was selected as the first pick in the third round as the 21st selection overall by the Dallas Burn. Virginia midfielder Kenny Arena (Fairfax, Va./Oakton) was selected as the second pick in the fourth round as the 32nd pick overall by the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. UVa midfielder Jacob LeBlanc (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) was selected as the second pick in the fifth round as the 42nd pick overall, also by the NY/NJ MetroStars. There was a total of six rounds and 60 picks in the 2003 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
Eskandarian played three seasons as a forward at Virginia and established himself as one of the finest soccer players to ever play for the Cavaliers. He etched his name into numerous statistical categories in the tradition-rich program at Virginia. Eskandarian started 56 of the 60 games he appeared in and recorded 4,565 minutes of playing time at UVa. For his career, he recorded 113 points, scored 50 goals (including 15 game-winners) and dished out 13 assists (including four game-winners). He also took 272 shots in his three seasons of play.
“To be the first overall selection is a tremendous honor,” said Eskandarian. “I’m an East Coast guy, but I understand that this is professional soccer and you’ve got to prove yourself wherever you go. I can’t wait to start my professional career.”
In 2002, Eskandarian set a new Virginia school-record for the most goals scored in a single season at Virginia with 25. He also finished tied for second all-time at UVa with 54 single-season points and finished tied for sixth at Virginia with six single-season, game-winning goals in 2002. Eskandarian’s 113 career points ranks him sixth all-time at UVa, his 50 career goals is fourth all-time at Virginia and his 15 career game-winning goals is the third most in a career ever for a Cavalier. His 272 career shots taken is also the third highest total in Virginia school history.
In 2002 (as a junior), he was named the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy award winner, Soccer America’s Player of the Year, a NSCAA/adidas NCAA Division I First Team All-American, a College Soccer News’ First Team All-American, the ACC Player of the Year, an All-ACC First Team choice and was named to the 2002 ACC All-Tournament Team. Eskandarian was also named to the 2002 NSCAA/adidas All-South Atlantic Region First Team. He was chosen the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2002 Virginia Soccer Classic and was named to both the 2002 Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team and to the 2002 Maryland/FILA Classic All-Tournament Team . Eskandarian was named the 2002 Virginia State Player of the Year and to the 2002 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) First Team and was also named the ACC Player of the Week on three occasions.
As a sophomore (2001), Eskandarian was named to the 2001 All-ACC First Team and was selected as a 2001 NSCAA/adidas Second Team All-American. He was also named to the 2001 NSCAA/adidas All-South Atlantic Region First Team, selected Second Team All-State by the Virginia Sports Information Directors and named to both the 2001 Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team and to the 2001 Maryland/Fila Classic All-Tournament Team.
As a freshman (2000), Eskandarian was named the 2000 ACC Rookie of the Year and a 2000 First Team All-ACC selection. He was also selected as the 2000 Freshman of the Year and was a 2000 Third Team All-America selection by Soccer America. Eskandarian was named to the 2000 NSCAA/adidas First Team All-South Atlantic Region squad, selected as the 2000 Player of the Year in the state of Virginia and was a 2000 First Team All-State selection by VASID. He was also named to both the 2000 Virginia Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team and to the 2000 Maryland/Fila Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Comfort played four seasons at Virginia as a goalkeeper. He started all 60 games he appeared in and recorded 5,442 minutes between the pipes. Comfort turned in a four-year record of 42-15-2 as the starting goalkeeper and collected 193 career saves which was good for a .77 career saves percentage. He recorded a 0.98 goals against average for his career and collected 19 career saves.
Comfort finished his career at Virginia after leaving his mark in several statistical categories. He finished second all-time at UVa for most minutes played as a goalkeeper with 5,442 and finished second all-time at Virginia for most games played as a goalkeeper with 60. Comfort finished third all-time at UVa for most saves in a career with 193 and finished third all-time at Virginia for most solo shutouts with 19. He also finished seventh all-time at UVa with a 0.98 goals against average and finished eighth all-time at Virginia for best save percentage at .77 percent. In 2001, Comfort was named Second Team All-State by the Virginia Sports Information Directors.
Arena started 65 of the 78 games he appeared in for his career as a midfielder. For his career, he scored 25 points resulting from ten assists and seven goals. Four of his ten assists and three of his seven goals were game-winners.
In 2002 (as a senior), Arena was named Second Team All-ACC and was selected to the Virginia Sports Information Directors’ Second Team. As a junior (2001), he was selected to the NSCAA/adidas All-South Atlantic Region First Team and was named Second Team All-State by the Virginia Sports Information Directors. In 2000, Arena was named to Soccer America’s Team of the Week (10/17).
LeBlanc played three seasons of soccer at Virginia as a midfielder. He started 42 or the 62 games he appeared in and recorded 22 career points resulting from 16 career assists and three career goals. Half of LeBlanc’s 16 career goals (eight) were game-winning assists. He also took 43 shots in his career.
In 2002 (as a junior), LeBlanc led Virginia with a team-high eight assists and dished out a team-high four game-winning assists for the season. He was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team and was selected Second Team All-State by the Virginia Sports Information Directors of America. As a sophomore (2001), LeBlanc was selected to Soccer America’s Team of the Week on October 1st and was again named Second Team All-State by the Virginia Sports Information Directors.
Last year (2002), three Virginia men’s soccer players were drafted in the 2002 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The trio of UVa’s Kyle Martino (Westport, Conn./Staples), Steve Totten (Allentown, N.J./Peddie) and Marshall Leonard (Midland, Ga./Shaw) represented the Cavaliers in the draft. Martino was selected as the eighth overall pick in the first round by the Columbus Crew, Totten was picked 26th overall in the third round by the Chicago Fire and Leonard was chosen as the 45th player overall in the fourth round by the New England Revolution. There was a total of 70 selections and six rounds in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft.
Here is a statistical look at all of Virginia’s draft selections:
#11 Alecko EskandarianForwardJunior * 5-8 * 160Montvale, N.J./Bergen Catholic
Year GP/GS Sh G A GWG/GWA Pts2000 24/22 102 16 6 4/3 32001 16/14 69 9 3 5/0 212002 20/20 101 25 4 6/1 54Totals 60/56 272 50 13 15/4 113
#27 David ComfortGoalkeeperSenior * 6-5 * 200Richmond, Va./Monacan
Year GP/GS Min Svs GA GAA Save % SO W-L-T1999 9/9 874 44 10 1.03 81 % 2 6-3-02000 13/13 1200 38 13 0.97 75 % 5 9-3-12001 17/17 1553 47 11 0.64 81 % 9 14-2-12002 21/21 1815 64 25 1.24 72 % 3 13-7-0Totals 60/60 5442 193 59 0.98 77 % 19 42-15-2
#19 Kenny ArenaMidfielderSenior * 6-1 * 175Fairfax, Va./Oakton
Year GP/GS Sh G A GWG/GWA Pts1999 20/9 7 0 3 0/2 32000 22/21 21 3 1 1/0 72001 19/19 9 3 3 1/0 102002 17/16 15 1 3 1/2 5Totals 78/65 52 7 10 3/4 25
#13 Jacob LeBlancMidfielderJunior * 5-11 * 180Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto
Year GP/GS Sh G A GWG/GWA Pts2000 24/5 7 1 2 0/0 42001 20/20 22 2 6 0/4 102002 18/17 14 0 8 0/4 8Totals 62/42 43 3 16 0/8 22
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