After spending 16 years at the helm of the Binghamton men’s soccer team, head coach Paul Marco knows how good competition in the NCAA can be. Robert Moewes, who played two seasons under Marco as the Bearcats’ starting goalkeeper, left Marco in awe.
It came as no surprise, then, when Toronto FC, a Major League Soccer (MLS) soccer club, selected Moewes with the eighth pick in the third round of MLS SuperDraft last Tuesday. According to Marco, Moewes still wasn’t drafted high enough — he was the fifth goalkeeper picked in the draft.
“I really feel like he’s one of the top goalkeepers in the country,” Marco said. “When the first two rounds went by and he didn’t get picked, I was disappointed and I guess that’s a light word.”
Moewes is the first BU soccer player to be selected in the MLS SuperDraft, and the highest-drafted BU athlete in any sport. Prior to last season, Moewes transferred to Duke as a graduate student after spending three years at BU — the first of which he was forced to sit out due to NCAA regulations.
Moewes was named America East (AE) Goalkeeper of the Year for two straight years, and led BU to an AE Championship game appearance in 2015. At Duke, he was named the team’s MVP in his final year of eligibility.
“He’s trying to prove that they made the right decision in selecting him,” Marco said. “Being a professional is hard; there aren’t that many professional players considering all the players who played in and graduated from college.”
Armed with an intimidating stare, Moewes impressed at the MLS Player Combine before the draft. Moewes’ selection, which took place over conference call, was far from glamorous. But now, his focus will turn to immediately impressing Toronto FC.
Moewes could serve as Toronto FC’s third-string goalkeeper or start his career with Toronto FC II, which serves as a reserve team for the MLS club. Quillan Roberts, who served as Toronto FC II’s starting goalkeeper for much of last season, has yet to be re-signed.
“You have to look at where he’s starting, where he falls in the Toronto Academy when he first gets there,” Marco said. “Then, you’re trying to project out his potential. I think that his potential can still grow.”
Moewes recorded a .736 save percentage at Duke, allowing just 1.36 goals per game. Marco believes Moewes has the ability to succeed in the MLS as long as he remains driven.
“When he’s motivated, I think he can accomplish great things,” Marco said. “He was absolutely outstanding, just incredible. His body language just oozed ‘confident’ … if that stays with him, I think we’ll see him play on TV very soon.”
Moewes spent the fall semester at Duke pursuing a master’s in management studies, but now plans to finish his degree at a later date. He graduated from BU’s School of Management last spring.
“I hope that Robert [Moewes] looks back at his time in Binghamton and speaks highly of his time with us,” Marco said. “He had certain goals that he set out to achieve here. We had some very frank conversations when he was about to graduate, and I knew well ahead of time that he was going to be leaving us.”
Moewes was one of four MLS draft picks to have played in the AE, an increasingly competitive conference in Division I men’s soccer. Vermont forward Brian Wright was drafted No. 20 overall. Wright ended BU’s season with an overtime goal in both 2015 and 2016.
“Well, we’re certainly excited that [Brian Wright] graduated,” Marco said.