AJ Paterson grew up playing soccer by the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and now joins Major League Soccer’s “Boys in Blue.”
The New York City Football Club, affectionately known by fans as the Bronx Blues or the Boys in Blue, tapped Paterson as its second-round choice in the MLS SuperDraft held Saturday.
Paterson, a four-year starter and two-year scoring leader for coach Jorge Bosque’s Coral Shores High School squad, went on to star for Wright State University in Ohio. In his senior season for the Wright State Raiders, Paterson was named player of the year in the Horizon League.
He was invited to the recent MLS Adidas Player Draft Combine in Orlando, where the 6-foot-2 Paterson impressed New York City FC coaches enough to make him the 42nd overall pick in the 2018 professional draft.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better man,” Wright State head coach Bryan Davis said in a statement. “I am excited to see him progress in his future.”
“AJ Paterson deserves all that is coming his way,” Davis said. “AJ took a risk committing to an exciting yet growing program, leaving Florida for Ohio. He let us coach him the whole way, and here he is today, a second-round pick in the SuperDraft.”
Paterson scored seven goals in his senior WSU season, giving him 15 for his career.
“Paterson played midfield in college but projects as a defensive midfielder in MLS,” assessed the New York City FC correspondent for the SB Nation website. “He adds to the depth at center back, outside back and defensive midfield... [Paterson] may seem like an unknown but he was worth a flier in the second round.”
The New York City FC, which plays its home matches in Yankee Stadium, starts its preseason games on the road Feb. 9. The regular season opens March 11 in New York.
The Blues, 16-9-9 last year, advanced to the MLS playoffs in the two most recent seasons.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206