Mercer University soccer forward Will Bagrou doesn’t have to justify himself to anyone at the collegiate level. His illustrious career as a Bear includes three Southern Conference championships, four consecutive first-team all-conference selections, a player of the year honor and an All-American selection. That’s just a few of the accomplishments for Bagrou while donning the orange, white and black.
Those accolades speak for themselves at the collegiate level, but Bagrou’s goals are much higher than college. This week, he was one of 60 soccer players invited to the Adidas MLS scouting combine in Orlando, Florida, for testing and evaluations. There he would compete against the best young talent this country and others have to offer.
This is another step toward fulfilling a dream, but Bagrou isn’t shy about the fact that it’s come with some nerves.
“I’m a little nervous, I’m not going to lie. It’s been a dream of mine to get drafted and play professionally, so it’s a bit nerve racking knowing that it could become a reality soon,” Bagrou said. “But at the same time, I feel like my performance at the combine and over the last four years here at Mercer have put me in this position to be drafted.”
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It’s a combine performance that began with Bagrou finishing in the top 10 in two of the three performance tests. His 3.93 30-meter dash was fourth overall and his 29.5 inch vertical jump was 10th. Those numbers mixed with other physical traits make the prolific goal scorer an intriguing prospect according to Bears head coach Brad Ruzzo.
“He’s 6’2” and one of the strongest players on the team,” Ruzzo said about Bagrou’s physical attributes. “He’s one of the fastest, if not the fastest, players on the team.”
But it’s his unselfish nature that Ruzzo believes sets Bagrou apart from many other talents.
“Will could have been a selfish, selfish person but he wasn’t and I think that’s bode well for him over the years,” Ruzzo said. “The best way to get seen, the best way to get looks in the pros is to do what this group has done over the past four years.”
While Bagrou hasn’t spoken to anyone about his chances of getting drafted, he knows that he has done everything in his power to put himself in this position and the rest is out of his control.
“I’ve just gotta wait and see what happens,” Bagrou said about the process at this point.
He can’t help but realize how tremendous a feat being drafted would be.
“It would definitely be a great thing for me and for Mercer University because I would be the first (Mercer player) to be drafted by the MLS so that would be a dream come true.”
The dream doesn’t end with the draft. Bagrou knows that being drafted only guarantees him a chance.
“Even if you do get drafted it doesn’t solidify your spot on the team. It would be a great starting point for me, just having my name called, but the reality of things is I’m starting all over again, I’m the new guy on the block, and I would have a lot to prove.”