Milford's Videira drafted by Revs

Mike Biglin

Two-time all-American soccer player Michael Videira was home in Milford when Revolution coach Steve Nicol called to inform him that New England selected the Duke standout with the 18th overall pick in yesterday's 2008 MLS SuperDraft. But Videira doesn't plan on sticking around New England.

The former Noble & Greenough School star midfielder told the Daily News yesterday that his plan, after fully healing from a leg injury that cost him the end of his final Blue Devils season, will be to head to Europe and sign a professional contract overseas.

``It's a tough decision that's just been made tougher, but right now I want to pursue things in Europe,'' said Videira, who was a three-time Herman Award semifinalist for the Blue Devils. ``I've been in talks with (MLS) and coaches before the draft, and obviously New England was my top choice (among MLS clubs). But in the end, I want to try Europe.

``And I didn't want to half commit to MLS, then get picked and screw over that team. And I sure didn't want to do that with Stevie and (assistant) Paul (Mariner), who I've known for a while.''

Videira and his agent, Mike Gartland of ProActive Sports Management, are working to line up trials with clubs overseas. Videira hopes to go over in the spring and secure a contract when the summer signing period begins in June. Even knowing that, Nicol and the Revs brain trust took Videira with their second pick in the draft.

``We realize the risk there, but we feel it was a risk worth taking,'' said Revs director of soccer Mike Burns. ``Our coaching staff had seen and knew this player more than any other player in the draft. It's a risk we may not have taken with other players. But we were willing to do so with (Videira).

``We would love him to reconsider and sign with MLS and play with the Revs,'' Burns added, ``but we're aware of his plans.''

Videira expressed gratitude for their decision. ``I couldn't be happier that I went to the Revolution,'' said Videira. ``So, for some reason if things don't work out in Europe, at least I'll be coming back and have a chance to play at home. That's much better than if I was in some random city.''

The Revs were pretty busy even before Videira's pick. First, they made a big trade with Los Angeles, picking up U.S. international defender Chris Albright for allocation money. The nine-year MLS veteran has been a standout right back, but missed almost all of last season to a torn hamstring.

The Revs added further defensive depth with their first pick, selecting 6-foot-3 University of San Francisco central defender Ron Valentino with the 13th overall selection. Valentino missed all of his senior season to a torn knee ligament, and then chose to forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility and enter the draft as a member of this year's Generation adidas class. Therefore, his contract won't count against the salary cap.

That's clearly a consideration for Nicol, with Albright bringing his hefty salary into the fold. He made $142,500 last year, which would make him the fifth-highest salaried player on the Revs current roster.

``It's a great opportunity to join a great bunch of players,'' said Albright, who worked with the Galaxy to finalize his trade destination. ``There's no secret, around the league we know the team are all great guys, and that's part of the reason I wanted to steer myself that way.''

Alongside Albright in defense will be Valentino, who was a three-time West Coast Conference first-team all-star, and was the 2006 WCC Player of the Year and led the Dons to two conference titles and three NCAA tourney berths. A towering figure in the air, he also got forward to score five goals and add eight assists in his 57-game collegiate career.

But when his leg got caught in the Dons artificial turf field and his knee tore just one day before the start of his senior campaign, that career came to an end.

``I'm working my butt off to be fully fit, and that is slated for late February,'' said Valentino via phone from the draft in Baltimore yesterday. ``I'm in awe that I was chosen by one of the best teams in MLS. To know that they want me to join them and their history, I'm really excited about that. I'm just focusing on getting myself ready and healthy, then I'll do whatever the coaches ask of me.''

For his final three picks, Nicol stayed in his comfort zone - the ACC and New England. At 27th overall, the Revs took Duke midfielder Joe Germanese, who was fourth on the Blue Devils in scoring (3 goals, 7 assists), starting in all 19 appearances. With the second-to-last pick of the third round (41st overall), the Revs took 6-foot Brown defender Matthew Britner, the 2007 Ivy League Player of the Year.

With their final selection - 55th overall, the second to last pick - the Revs selected another Blue Devil, forward/midfielder Spencer Wadworth. He led the nation in assists his junior year of 2006.

``To start the draft with Chris (Albright) on board was significant for us,'' said Burns. ``We feel satisfied about our day overall.''

UCLA left back Chance Myers was the top pick overall by Kansas City. Top forward Patrick Nyarko of Virginia Tech fell to Chicago at No. 7, while UConn defender Julius James went to Toronto at No. 9.

MetroWest Daily News