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The Daily Tar Heel

San Jose Picks Carrieri No. 1

NC junior Chris Carrieri is one of four former Tar Heels selected first overall in a major professional draft.

Carrieri, drafted first overall by the San Jose Earthquakes, becomes just the fourth former Tar Heel selected No. 1 in a major professional league's draft.

Basketball players James Worthy and Brad Daugherty were the first selections in the NBA draft in 1982 and 1986, respectively. Baseball player B.J. Surhoff went No. 1 in 1985.

"Being picked No. 1 overall, that just overwhelms me with happiness," Carrieri said in a statement released by UNC. "I'm extremely excited about playing in San Jose for the Earthquakes. I know a lot is expected of me, and I look forward to the challenge."

Carrieri led the nation in scoring as a junior during the 2000 season, scoring 25 goals in 24 games (a UNC record) for the 21-3 NCAA quarterfinalists.

He forfeited his final year of collegiate eligibility Jan. 17, when he signed with Project-40, a joint venture of MLS and U.S. Soccer aimed at providing extensive professional experience to players with eligibility remaining.

Also drafted Monday were former Tar Heels Eddie Robinson (20th overall by San Jose) and Caleb Norkus (50th overall by D.C. United).

Carrieri and Robinson will now make their home in the Bay Area, an area that has not been kind to the local MLS club. The 'Quakes -- known from 1996-99 as the Clash -- have made the playoffs only once in club history.

Last season, San Jose finished at the bottom the MLS standings with a record of 7-17-8 (29 points). The 'Quakes also had the worst offense in the league, scoring 35 goals throughout the 32-game season.

That San Jose picked last season's most prolific goal scorer in collegiate soccer is not all that surprising.

"I'm coming to score some goals," Carrieri said in a statement released by MLS. "We're going to turn this thing around, and we're heading to the playoffs."

Robinson, a defensive midfielder, was named second-team All-ACC in 2000, and he tallied three goals and two assists. Robinson will be a part of a newly revamped Earthquake squad that promises a major roster overhaul.

"This is a dream come true," Robinson said from his home in Chapel Hill. "Soccer's the love of my life, and to do it professionally is just amazing.

"San Jose's definitely rebuilding, and they don't have anyone who plays defensive midfield. So if I make a good impression, then I'll play."

Norkus also was named second-team All-ACC last season, ranking second in the conference with 43 points. Norkus, who ranks fourth in school history in both goals (40) and points (101), joins the three-time MLS champions in D.C.

United, however, is coming off its worst season in team history, a last-place finish in the Eastern Division and just one point ahead of San Jose in the overall standings.

"It's great for Caleb," Robinson said. "Caleb's a great guy, a great player. He's great for morale; the team that gets him is lucky to have him."

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