DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University junior Andrew Wenger has signed a Generation adidas contract effectively ending his collegiate soccer career with the Blue Devils. Wenger is the first Duke player to sign a Generation adidas contract and will enter the 2012 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, which will be held Jan. 12 in Kansas City.
"Andrew Wenger is the epitome of the Duke student-athlete," Duke head coach John Kerr said. "He arrived at Duke as a midfielder but was needed by the team as a defender. In his freshman year, he was chosen first team All-ACC and Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, he earned first team All-ACC and Defensive Player of the Year, as well first team All-America honors and was the only sophomore on the first team. As a junior, he transitioned into a striker, leading the team and the ACC in scoring. He was selected again as a first team All-American. "
"It's actually very exciting," Wenger said of the process of deciding to forego his final season. "At some point I'm sure it will be a little stressful trying to get everything worked out and making sure everything is working out right, but it's very exciting. I think if I wasn't in this position I'd be killing to be in this position, so I'm blessed to be in it."
After two years of anchoring Duke's defense at center back, Wenger moved forward to headline Duke's offense in 2011. He led the ACC with 17 goals and 42 points overall and ranked fourth nationally in total points and sixth in total goals. A starter in every game for Duke over the past three years, Wenger has reaped nearly every ACC award possible. He was selected as the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, completing the trifecta of ACC major awards after being named the ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
"I've enjoyed [Duke] both on and off the field," Wenger said. "We've had a fantastic staff and the teams I've played with and the players coming in and going out over the years have been great. I've really enjoyed it. Duke is the complete package. I've gotten a stellar education and I've also been able to compete at a high level. But at the end of the day it's all about the friendships and relationships I've made and I think that's really what has set it apart."
Wenger, a three-time All-ACC first team recipient, is the first player since Jay Heaps to collect All-ACC first team honors in each of his first three seasons. His 17 tallies in 2011 are tied for the most in Duke single-season history, while the 42 points are fifth and the most since Brian Kelley had 43 in 1995.
"He is one of the final three selections for the Herman-Mac Trophy awarded to the national player of the year," Kerr said. "Perhaps the most impressive of Andrew's attributes is that he is an outstanding student and was recently named a first team Academic All-American. Andrew is coachable, leads by example and will do whatever the team needs in order to be successful. He is a wonderful, caring person and a joy to coach."
In 2011, he registered at least one point in 11 games and twice had a career-best seven points. Wenger netted two hat tricks on the year and had five multiple-goal games.
Equally as successful in the classroom, Wenger became the second Blue Devil in program history to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America first team honors and has earned spots on both the All-ACC Academic Team and ACC Academic Honor Roll each of his three seasons. He most recently was named to the NSCAA Collegiate Scholar All-America first team, one of four juniors to be honored.
"The big thing is I want to graduate from Duke at some point and I have a plan in place to do that while I am still playing so that once I'm done I can go on and have a seamless transition between my playing career and doing something else professionally."
For his career, Wenger has started all 63 games, played all but 131 minutes in that span and registered 21 goals and 13 assists for 55 points.
Generation adidas is a joint venture between Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer aimed at raising the level of young soccer talent in the United States. Generation adidas contracts provide the opportunity for players to leave college early and continue to develop their soccer careers in MLS. The salaries of these players are greater than the league minimum and the players are also provided educational funds should they decide to return to school. Their salaries also do not count against a club's salary budget, allowing teams to afford them time to develop.