Roberto Najarro is the second soccer player in UAB history drafted by Major League Soccer.
Feb. 12, 2001
Midfielder Roberto Najarro was one of three UAB soccer players drafted into professional leagues as he was drafted by Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire and later traded to the Dallas Burn.
The Milwaukee Rampage of the A-League also drafted Najarro in the second round of its draft. The A-League is a Division II league to MLS's Division I.
The A-League's Montreal Impact took UAB All-American defender Rumbani Munthali in the first round. Goal keeper David Clemente was also drafted in the first round, by the Toronto Lynx.
Najarro is the just the second UAB player drafted by the MLS. The Kansas City Wizards drafted Peter Byaruhunga in the second round of the draft this year. He was a member of the Wizards' MLS championship team this past season.
Those three helped lead the Blazers to a 14-5-2 record and a second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. During their four years at UAB the Blazers were 53-25-2, won one Conference USA regular season title and one C-USA tournament title. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight during their junior season.
Najarro, from Marrero, Louisiana, was a third-team All-Conference USA selection this past season. He played and started in all 21 games for the Blazers, scoring two goals and dishing out four assists.
Munthali, from Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, was first team named to three different All-American teams. He was chosen third team All-America by the National Soccer Coaches Assocation of America, second team by maddogsoccer.com, and honorable mention by collegiatesoccer.com. He was selected first team All-Conference USA for the second straight year after being chosen Freshman of the Year in 1997 and second team all-league as a sophomore.
Munthali's one-on-one defensive ability was one of the main reasons the opposition averaged just nine shots per game in the regular season. UAB outshot the opposition 289-225 during the season. The opposition averaged just 1.1 goals per game compared to the Blazers 2.1 a game.
For his career Munthali played and started 76 games for the Blazers. He played and started all 21 this season.
Clemente, from Brampton, Ontario, was part of 23 shutouts for his career, recording 17 solo shutouts and six shared shutouts. He started 69 of the 73 matches he played in four years at UAB, including every match the last three years. He was named All-C-USA first team this year and second-team as a junior. He is second on the school's all-time saves list with 303 for his career.
Clemente set school records for goals against in both a season and for a career. He recorded an 0.96 goals against average in 2000. The old record was 1.06, set by Loukas Papasconstantinou in 1994. For his career Clemente's goals against average was 1.17 bettering Popaconstantinou's mark of 1.29.
This year Clemente was twice named as C-USA's Player of the Week and was selected to the All-South Region team by the NSCAA. The first time after helping UAB defeat NCAA Elite Eight participant North Carolina 2-1 and win the UAB/Nike Classic. He also earned the honor after a 2-0 shutout of C-USA opponent South Florida.
This adds to the honors for this year's UAB soccer team. Houston Smith joined Najarro as a C-USA's third team all-conference selection. Marin Pusek was named to the all-freshman team. Freshman defender Kareem Morgan was invited to participate in tryouts for the Canadian Under-20 National Team.
Lane Knight was chosen by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America to its Scholar's All-America third-team and Mikey Spitzer and Jose Rayo, were selected t