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Courtesy: Associated Press
Wenger Taking Life One Day at a Time
Monday 02/20/2012  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C. - Ask Andrew Wenger to describe the past few months of his life, and one word immediately comes to his mind - "whirlwind".

The Duke soccer standout could hardly be blamed for forgetting what city he wakes up in each morning considering where his recent travels have taken him. After guiding the Blue Devils to a 10-8-3 ledger and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament during the fall, Wenger signed a Generation adidas contract to pursue a career in Major League Soccer in December - during finals week no less. But the Lititz, Pa., native wouldn't have long to celebrate before more accolades came rolling in. 

Following an eight-day training session with the U.S. men's national U-23 soccer team in Florida, Wenger traveled to Pennsylvania and Boston to spend the holidays with family and friends. By early January, though, he was back in the airport, headed to St. Louis for the presentation of the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy.

Wenger became the sixth Duke player in program history to capture the crystal ball trophy, which is awarded each year to the top male and female players in NCAA Division I soccer. He also etched his name in the record books as the first Hermann winner to be presented the trophy by a former recipient - Duke head coach John Kerr, who earned the distinction in 1986 as a member of the Blue Devils' national championship squad.

"Looking at some of the players that have won in the past and also being presented by Coach Kerr was an awesome experience," Wenger said.

 After a quick trip back to Durham, Wenger and Duke teammate Sebastien Ibeagha headed out west for another week of training with the U-23 national squad in Los Angeles. In the midst of that experience, Wenger spent less than 24 hours in Kansas City for one of the most exciting days of his soccer career - the MLS SuperDraft.

Selected the No. 1 overall pick by the Montreal Impact, Wenger became the first player in Duke program history to be taken with the first pick in the draft.

"Everyone said that it was myself and [Akron's] Darren Mattocks who would go one and two - one or the other. It was a toss-up," Wenger said. "Five minutes before the commissioner called my name, my agent texted me and then their coach gave me the thumbs up, saying it was good to go."

A day full of media interviews ensued, with congratulations pouring in all the while via Twitter and other social media outlets. It was not until later that evening that Wenger finally had the chance to catch his breath.

"When I was first selected, I wasn't really thinking about it. I was just trying to not screw up my speech, not say anything wrong to the press - just trying to make sure it was all business that day," he said. "At the end of the day, I sat down with my parents and we were having dinner, and we were just like, 'That was a surreal experience.'"

Wenger's busy schedule left little time for reflection, though, as he boarded a flight back to L.A. to finish up his training with the U-23 national team. A trip to Costa Rica followed, and then it was back to Duke for the first day of class.

Although he has never been to Montreal and doesn't even have a place to live there yet, Wenger says he and Zarek Valentin - an Impact teammate who grew up less than five minutes away in Pennsylvania - are looking for an apartment together. As for his future plans when it comes to soccer, Wenger is a little bit more certain.

"As a first-year pro ... the first goal [would be] playing, contributing and contributing positive performances," he said. "After that, I think goals are just to be as successful as possible with my career. What dictates that will be determined later."

While he continues to rack up frequent flyer miles, shuttling between classes at Duke and training for the upcoming MLS season, Wenger says he's had a little more free time to process what his success means to him. One of the things Wenger says he will remember moving forward are the opportunities he has had in Durham and those who have guided him along the way. That appreciation is evident in that he still meets with the Duke coaching staff and works out with the team during his time on campus, which he plans to do throughout the spring.

As for his new mantra to deal with his hectic lifestyle, Wenger needs just a few words - "One day at a time."


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