Aedan Stanley, a 2018 graduate of Columbia High School, was picked 21st overall in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft by Austin FC on Thursday.
“Extremely blessed for this opportunity,” Stanley posted on Twitter upon news of being selected to play in MLS.
Austin FC, an expansion team, acquired the 21st pick from Colorado to take Stanley as a defender.
“If Aedan Stanley comes in here and impresses… there is maybe a starting job to be had,” MLS analyst Matt Doyle said of the pick.
Stanley played two seasons at Duke University, starting all 37 games and totaling nearly 3,300 minutes. He earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Team honors in each season as well as a spot on the All-ACC Freshman Team.
Stanley was developed in the Saint Louis FC Academy and did not play soccer for CHS. He earned United Soccer Coaches All-America honors in 2016 and 2017. He signed an academy contract with Saint Louis FC of the USL Championship in 2016 as a 16-year-old. Stanley appeared in 20 games for the club from 2016-2018 before joining Duke.
On the international stage, Stanley represented the U.S. extensively at the under-18 level and was also called up to the U.S. U20s for a number of training camps and matches in 2017 and 2018.
Stanley elected to pursue a professional opportunity with Portland Timbers 2 of the USL Championship after two years at Duke, starting all 16 games and playing 1,440 minutes at left back. Just last week, he signed with another USL Championship team, Sporting KC II, after Timbers 2 announced it was going to skip the 2021 campaign.
The USL Championship is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation as a Division II professional league, placing it under MLS in the hierarchy.
The MLS SuperDraft is an annual college draft for teams of Major League Soccer in the United States and Canada. It takes place in January and is used by teams to select players who have graduated from college or otherwise been signed by the league.
Austin FC is a professional soccer franchise based in Austin, Texas. The club will begin MLS play this year.
Local soccer fans can hopefully see Stanley in action in two years. St. Louis City SC is a MLS expansion franchise that is expected to begin play in 2023. The club will play home matches at a planned 22,500-seat soccer-specific stadium.
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