Twellman, Terps' top scorer, opts for German pro league

3rd-team All-American forgoes 2 years' eligibility

January 25, 2000|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

Taylor Twellman, Maryland's leading men's soccer scorer last fall and a third-team All-American, has opted to play professionally in Germany, forgoing his final two seasons of eligibility at College Park.

The university announced yesterday that Twellman, 20, has signed with 1860 Munich, one of two pro teams from that city in the Bundesliga, Germany's top professional league. 1860 Munich is the older of the two and has a strong local following; Bayern Munich is more widely known, though, and more successful internationally.

Twellman, a St. Louis native who could not be reached to comment last night, said in a university statement that Maryland and coach Sasho Cirovski "provided an excellent platform for me to raise my game and be part of a first-class program."

The son of a former North American Soccer League player who also left college early to play pro ball, Twellman had 12 goals and nine assists for the Terps last fall as a sophomore. He scored six game-winners for the Terps, as the extremely young team at one point was top-ranked nationally before finishing 14-6. The Terps went to their sixth straight NCAA tournament, losing in the first round.

Twellman, also the Terps' leading scorer as a freshman, leaves as Maryland's 10th all-time goal-scorer (28), sixth in assists (17) and seventh in career points (76). He was 1997's national high school player of the year, Soccer America's 1998 college freshman of the year, and started for the United States in last spring's Under-20 World Cup in Nigeria.

Cirovski, who has seen at least three other players -- goalie Andy Kirk, forward Judah Cooks, and recently, defender Dan Califf -- opt early for pro careers in the past couple of years, said through the university: "I'm truly delighted that he's able to pursue his dreams of playing soccer at the highest level. To have a player graduate to the Bundesliga is amazing.

"He's been dealing with the prospect of turning pro so regularly that it was gut-wrenching for him to continually put aside all those tempting offers. This was just too good for him to pass up."

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