Soccer’s Donatelli drafted by new MLS team
After ending the season last fall unbeaten in its last five matches, the men’s soccer team is enjoying another winning streak — off the field.
For the second straight year, a Temple men’s soccer player was drafted by a Major League Soccer organization in the league’s supplemental draft held last month.
Fresh off earning Philadelphia Soccer Seven Player of the Year honors, Temple senior midfielder Tony Donatelli has been selected by the expansion franchise in Houston.
Last year, former Temple goaltender Patrick Hannigan was drafted in the third round by the New Jersey-based MetroStars.
After leading the Owls last season with 17 points, six goals and five assists, Donatelli caught the attention of numerous clubs by scoring a goal at this year’s MLS combine.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 175-pound Donatelli is currently in Houston participating in a preseason training camp after being chosen with the eighth pick of the third round of the supplemental draft. Though he has not yet been officially signed by Houston, the team will be making its final decision at the conclusion of training camp, at the end of February.
“There is no guarantee that I will make the team, but I think I have a pretty good chance because I’m really listening to the advice of the coaches and players,” Donatelli said recently in a phone interview.
The Glenside, Pa., native said his extensive career at Temple gave him the tools to propel him to the professional level. While playing for the Owls, Donatelli led the Philadelphia Soccer Seven in scoring for two straight seasons, earning the 2005 league Player of the Year award. He also was named first team all-Atlantic 10 Conference for two consecutive years and was named to the first team all-Mid-Atlantic Region.
“Tony is a very good technical player,” men’s soccer coach David MacWilliams said. “He also reads and understands the game very well which is shown is his passion for the game.”
MacWilliams credits Donatelli in large part for the team’s success over the past four years, and said he will be greatly missed on the field and by his teammates.
“Right now, I’m just enjoying the time I have down here and am very glad for the opportunity [Houston] has given me,” Donatelli said.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play soccer professionally — and now it may become a reality.”
- By Karen Shuey