Van De Casteele drafted
Jack Hefferon | Friday, January 17, 2014
Grant Van De Casteele had a lifelong dream realized Thursday morning when the Colorado Rapids selected him in the first round of Major League Soccer’s annual SuperDraft.
The former Irish center back started every match over the last four seasons and as a team captain was instrumental in leading Notre Dame to its first national championship in program history last month.
“Right now, it’s a pretty surreal feeling,” Van De Casteele said. “The national championship hasn’t even set in, and then I get this good news today. It’s been a few good months for me.”
The Rapids selected Van De Casteele with the 19th and final pick of the first round. He’ll head to Colorado’s preseason camp next week, where he’ll join former Irish teammate Dillon Powers, who tallied 5 goals and 4 assists last season and was named the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year.
“To be a professional athlete is a dream come true, especially to go to an organization like Colorado,” Van De Casteele said. “They have a recent history of letting younger guys make an impression on the team and get solid minutes, as well.”
In his 84 career matches, Van De Casteele helped lead the Irish defense to 30 shutouts, scoring four goals along the way. He was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team this season and last year graduated with degrees in Finance and Economics. Van De Casteele was also named the 2012-2013 Big East Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
“I’m so grateful for my time at Notre Dame,” he said. “It opened up a ton of doors for me, doors that definitely wouldn’t me open for me if I had gone somewhere else. Notre Dame has made me who I am today, and I owe them a lot more than I could ever repay them.”
Harrison Shipp, another captain from this year’s championship squad, signed with MLS’s Chicago Fire last week.
Contact Jack Hefferon at firstname.lastname@example.org