Celenza among 4 area Blast picks

January 12, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The Blast used four of its five picks in yesterday's National Professional Soccer League Amateur Draft on area talent, using its territorial pick to select UMBC standout Giuliano Celenza.

In two seasons, Celenza (Archbishop Curley, CCBC-Essex) led the Retrievers to two Northeast Conference title games, being named NEC Player of the Year in both seasons. He finished with 100 career points (41 goals, 18 assists) to finish as UMBC's second all-time leading scorer.

The question for Celenza: Stay at home to play indoors with the Blast or play outdoors in Major League Soccer, which will likely draft him after his college career ends in February's Senior Bowl.

"He truly can be one of the great players to come out of Baltimore - he has that ability," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "I'm sure he'll get drafted in the MLS, but we've really been talking to him a lot. We'd really like him to stay in Baltimore and play in our league."

The Blast then named UMBC defender Billy Nelson (Bel Air) in the first round, followed by a pair of Clemson products - midfielder Mike Potempa (Loyola) and defender Pablo Webster (McDonogh) - in the second and third rounds, respectively, before choosing Dave Mancini, a midfielder from Fairfield University.

Celenza, Potempa, Webster, and Blast rookie goalkeeper Josh Campbell all played for the Columbia City United club team that won consecutive national championships at under-17 and under-18 in 1997 and 1998.

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