Rauwshan McKenzie Selected By Kansas City In MLS Superdraft

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Rauwshan McKenzie Selected By Kansas City In MLS Superdraft

Spartan defender the third player in MSU history to be picked by MLS' Wizards

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Rauwshan McKenzie was selected in the fourth round of the MLS Superdraft by Kansas City.

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Jan. 18, 2008

BALTIMORE, Md. - The number of athletes who have a chance to realize their dreams and play a professional sport is few. Michigan State men's soccer senior Rauwshan McKenzie is now in that select few, as he was selected by the Kansas City Wizards in the Major League Soccer Superdraft on Friday afternoon. The first-team All-Big Ten defender was picked in the fourth round and was the 53rd selection overall. In the process, he became the third Spartan in the last four years to be selected by Kansas City.

"I was ecstatic (when I was selected)," McKenzie said. "My dad and I were on the couch watching the draft on ESPN2. I saw my name on the screen and we were jumping up and down. I got a lot of text messages from friends and family."

After a solid showing at the MLS combine last week, McKenzie knew Kansas City was a very possible destination.

"I talked to them at the combine and they said they were interested," he said. "They said if they had the chance to pick me at the right time, that they probably would."

McKenzie, a native of Hoffman Estates, Ill., was a four-year starter on defense for MSU. He was named to the 2004 All-Big Ten Freshman Team after leading Michigan State to a Big Ten title and he had a goal and an assist in both his sophomore and junior seasons before posting his best season as a senior. McKenzie scored two goals and handed out two assists and helped Michigan State to an at-large bid into the NCAA Championship. He was also named to Top Drawer Soccer's Team of the Season Third Team.

For his career, McKenzie appeared in 79 contests, making 72 consecutive starts. He scored four goals and had five assists and helped the Spartans to a pair of NCAA Championship appearances.

"Being selected into the MLS is a fantastic accomplishment, one that Rauwshan worked very hard to achieve," Michigan State head coach Joe Baum said. "He is a very gifted athlete and was a great student-athlete for us at Michigan State. He is very deserving and we are very proud of him."

McKenzie will report to Kansas City's preseason camp beginning on Saturday, Jan. 26 in Kansas City, Mo. After a week in Kansas City, the Wizards will move their preseason workouts to Bradenton, Fla., from Feb. 1-16. If he makes the team following the Florida trip, he will go with the Wizards on a two-week training tour in Argentina. Knowing he was likely to be selected to play professional soccer, McKenzie scheduled his eighth semester at MSU with all online classes. He will finish those and come back to campus to finish his degree in criminal justice in the fall of 2008.

"It's always been a dream of mine to play professional soccer," McKenzie said. "It'll be a great challenge. Hopefully, I can take advantage and make something out of it."

The Kansas City Wizards selected MSU's John Minagawa-Webster in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, and Ryan McMahen was picked by the same team in the second round in 2006. McMahen is currently under contract with the Wizards, but did not play this past season.

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