Former Badger Aaron Holhbein (Middleton, Wis.) was chosen by the Columbus Crew in the second selection of Stage 1 of the 2010 MLS-Re-Entry Draft last week.
After playing for Wisconsin from 2003-06, Holhbein, a two-time UW captain, became the fifth Badger to be selected in the MLS draft when he was selected by the Kansas City Wizards with the third pick in the 2007 Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft. Holhbein appeared in five games with four starts his rookie year and continued on to secure a starting position for the Wizards.
In his 2009 season, Holhbein started all 22 appearances for Kansas City and scored his first MLS goal against San Jose Earthquakes April 5, 2009 and added another against the New England Revolution. Holhbein finished the season as the top-scoring defender on the team.
Holhbein is one of two former UW players currently in the MLS, the other being 2009 graduate Alex Horwath (Woodbine, Md.). Horwath played at for UW from 2007-09 before signing with MLS as a pool goalkeeper.
Horwath has been based with Kansas City for the 2010 season, after becoming a regular at Wizards training last summer while playing with the Kansas City Brass. Last October, the Seattle Sounders enlisted the help of Horwath, following the injury of back-up goalkeeper Terry Boss. Horwath also got a call up to the San Jose Earthquakes earlier in the season.
Another former Badger who is currently working his way through the professional league is Scott Lorenz (Barrington, Ill.). Undrafted out of his last year at UW in 2009, Lorenz signed his first professional contract in 2010 when he was signed by the NSC Minnesota Stars of the USSF Division 2 Professional League.
Lorenz started slowly for the Stars but caught on quickly. Within a short time he was playing the left outside back position well enough to earn himself 19 games this past season. Lorenz was also awarded the duNord Futbol/IMS Rookie of the Year for the NSC Minnesota Stars for the 2010 season.
This fall Lorenz looked to make an impression on club officials putting together plans for the 2011 season as he completed a five-day trial with the Kansas City Wizards and well as some training with D.C. United.
Hohlbein, Nick Van Sicklen, Narcisco Fernandes, Scott Lamphear and Mike Gentile are the five former Badgers to have been selected in the MLS draft. In 1996, Gentile was the No. 9 overall pick by the Colorado Rapids, and Lamphear was chosen by the New York/New Jersey Metro Stars two picks later at No. 11. In 2001, the Kansas City Wizards chose Fernandes with the 59th overall pick. Van Sicklen was drafted by DC United in 2005 with the 19th overall pick. Overall, UW has had 13 players play professional soccer.