Jan. 26, 2006
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara senior forward Ivan Becerra was drafted today by Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew with the 27th overall pick in the 2006 Supplemental Draft. Following a standout senior season where he was named First Team All-Big West Conference, the Los Angeles native became the seventh Gaucho to be drafted by an MLS club in the last four years when he was taken in the third round with the Crew's final pick.
Becerra is following in the footsteps of former UCSB forwards Drew McAthy ('05-Galaxy) and Rob Friend ('03-Fire), both of which were selected by MLS sides following their senior seasons after leading the team in scoring. He is also the second junior college transfer from the Los Angeles area to be drafted after suiting up for the Gauchos. A former Mission College striker, he joins former Compton College and UCSB midifielder Memo Arzate who was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2004 after leading the Gauchos in scoring.
"I am excited and ready to start kicking the ball around with the team," said Becerra. "It has been a dream of mine to play professionally since I was a little kid and now that I have been given the chance I am going to give it everything that I have."
After spending last season playing behind the All-American and College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player McAthy, Becerra broke out this past year with eight goals in the first nine games of the season for the early lead in the conference scoring title. Following a midseason injury, the striker rebounded late to finish one-goal shy of the crown with 12 goals on the year, tying him for tenth all-time in single season scoring at UCSB. He notched his last final two Gaucho goals in NCAA Tournament play.
Twice honored by College Soccer News in 2005 as member of its National Team of the Week, Becerra joins the aforementioned McAthy, Arzate, and Friend, New England Revolution defender Tony Lochhead ('05), 2005 draftee (Chivas USA) and USL First Division Rookie of the Year Dan Kennedy, and 2004 draftee David McGill (Galaxy) in the elite class of players to be selected by an MLS squad coming out of UCSB.