On Tuesday, January 20th, GFS’ vaunted athletic class of 2010 was able to put yet another large feather in their hat. The New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer made Manolo Sanchez ’10 the 78th pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
Sanchez joins classmate Jesse Biddle, who was the 27th pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, as the second member of the class of 2010 to be drafted by a professional sports team. These two are in fact the only athletes in GFS’ history to have accomplished the incredible feat. Sanchez played varsity soccer at GFS from 2006-09 under coach Matt Zipin.
During his illustrious high school career, Sanchez led the team in goals and earned all-Friends School League honors in all four of his years, earned a place on the all-State team in his junior and senior seasons, broke school records for both goals (59) and assists (38) over his career as a Tiger, and helped bring home the 2007 FSL championship.
“He was fast, powerful, and skilled,” says Henry Bushnell ’13, a teammate of Sanchez’ for two years. “He was a man among boys and there was really nobody like him on the field at the high school level. Off the field, however, he was just one of the guys and never gave off the aura that he was special.”
Sanchez’ exploits at GFS earned him a scholarship to play soccer at University of Louisville, the defending national champions at the time. After not playing much in his freshman year, Sanchez transferred to Clemson University for more of an opportunity on the field.
After sitting out his sophomore academic year to gain NCAA eligibility after transferring, Sanchez went on to become an integral part of his new school’s success.
By the end of his senior season, Sanchez was regarded as one of the best collegiate wide players in the nation and led his team in goals and assists en route to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
It was his senior season which got him noticed by MLS scouts, and a solid performance at the annual MLS combine for professional prospects caught the eye of the team with the league’s best record, the New York Red Bulls, who selected him in the fourth round.
As for the road ahead for Sanchez, he now starts pre-season training with his new team and will be hoping to win himself a spot on New York’s roster for the start of the MLS season in March.