CARSON, Calif. – Forward Charlie Rugg may have been the LA Galaxy’s first round selection the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, but the rookie from Boston College believes he has plenty to prove.
When Rugg was selected by the Galaxy with the 19th overall pick last Thursday, the 22-year-old rookie was overjoyed as he watched the draft with several of his friends and Golden Eagles teammates. However, as he enjoyed the moment, he couldn’t help but notice the ensuing reports from draft experts praising his skill, but questioned if he was a reach for LA in the first round.
Despite battling through a pair of injuries last season—a hyperextended knee in the beginning of the season and a strained hamstring at the end—Rugg notched five goals and four assists in his senior season with the Golden Eagles.
“I was injured for most of my college career which hurt my draft stock a little bit. I kind of feel like coaches might have forgotten about me,” said Rugg. “Then there was some buzz about me being a little bit of a reach in the first round so I definitely have something to prove.”
During his time with Boston College, scouts and coaches praised his speed and strength as he racked up 28 goals and 18 assists while earning three consecutive All-Atlantic Coast Conference First team nods. However, Rugg insists that his development as a player hasn’t all been physical, but mental as well.
“One of the things that I’ve learned as I’ve grown up and other guys have caught up to me speed and athleticism wise is that I’ve learned to play better soccer,” said Rugg. “My technical skills have gotten better and in college I learned to play with my back to the goal so I can adapt.”
Rugg will need his adaptation skills in his first year in the professional ranks as he must not only learn how to handle a inevitable step up in play from college to the pros, but also –possibly—a new position.
“I’ve heard that I might be turned into an outside player,” said Rugg. “It’s where I started my career as an outside midfielder and they might put me out there, which I’m completely ready for. It might just take some reshaping.”
But Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is confident that he can flourish at the professional level.
“He’s a good player, he’s technically good,” said Arena. “He’s physically gifted and we’re going to learn more once we get involved a little more with each other and play some outside competition.”
If Rugg does impress, he’ll have the chance to learn from the likes of Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and join a young stable of Galaxy attackers that includes Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, and Gyasi Zardes. As he begins his professional career, the young forward is excited for his new opportunity.
“I think that I learn well so it’s great that I can learn from such great players,” said Rugg. “I look forward to playing at the highest level.”