After earning first team All-Big Ten honors twice, winning the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Award and being named a 2013 national semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy — NCAA soccer’s Heisman — Wisconsin defender AJ Cochran was ready to move on to bigger things.
Thursday the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer gave him that chance when the 20-year-old centerback was selected No. 16 overall in the MLS SuperDraft.
Cochran, who would currently be in the middle of his junior year at UW, signed a Generation Adidas contract and participated in the MLS Combine last week, where he was projected by some analysts to go as high as No. 5. As a Generation Adidas signee, Cochran will not count against the Houston Dynamo’s salary cap and will have the opportunity to complete his college education later, paid for through his Generation Adidas contract.
Known for his aerial prowess — a skill that gave Wisconsin a last-second win against then-reigning National Champions Indiana earlier this season — Cochran will be called upon to help anchor a team that made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Championship in 2013. Houston’s 2014 schedule is slated to kick off Mar. 8 at home against the New England Revolution.
Cochran’s teammate, midfielder Tomislav Zadro also participated in the MLS Combine last week, and went undrafted through the first two rounds. The Superdraft will reconvene Tuesday for rounds three and four.