Coastal’s Hedrick signs deal with Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City announced Tuesday that the club has signed former Coastal Carolina University standout Cyprian Hedrick to a professional contract.

Hedrick was selected by Sporting Kansas City with the 11th pick of the second round in January’s MLS SuperDraft. Hedrick is the fourth Chanticleer to be drafted by a Major League Soccer club in the SuperDraft and seventh overall, including supplemental draft selections. His 30th overall selection is the second highest behind Joseph Ngwenya’s third overall selection in the 2004 draft.

“This is an amazing achievement for me, my family and my friends. It has been a very long road up until now, and the road doesn’t stop here,” Hedrick said. “It’s an amazing feeling, but now it’s just time to get to work to stay where I am and keep improving. I love it, I couldn’t be happier.”

“At first we thought that he was extremely athletic, and we needed to spend some more time developing the technical aspects of his game,” Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes said. “We know now that he’s much further along than we thought and he’s been able to take instruction from our staff and implement it very quickly into his game. He has impressed all of us and he is a guy that we feel we can continue to build over time.”

After leading Coastal Carolina to an 18-4 record, a Big South regular season championship and NCAA Tournament victory over Elon in his senior year, Hedrick was honored as a 2011 NSCAA Men’s Collegiate Scholar All-American first team selection in addition to being named to the Big South All-Academic team. He was also selected a first team All-Big South member for his superb efforts along the Chanticleer backline. Hedrick was tabbed to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week as Coastal defeated then 16th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth and George Washington. The Friendswood, Texas, native helped the Chanticleer defense hold opponents to only 0.90 goals per game and a 9.7 percent shot percentage.

“I am delighted for Cyprian to get this opportunity to begin his career in the MLS,” said Coastal Carolina head coach Shaun docking. “Sporting KC is a great franchise and they will have a lot of success as they continue to build their club in the right way.  It is great to see someone like Cyprian get their chance as he is a great example of what the word student-athlete means.  He has already established a great resume for himself in his time here at Coastal and I look forward to seeing him succeed in the MLS.”

“The league [MLS] is very physical & fast paced and it is important that coming in you are ready for that,” said Hedrick. “Coastal got me ready for that part of the game with a great fitness and strength program.  It has also been great that Coastal & Sporting KC play the same style/brand of soccer which has made for an easier transition.

“Tactically, Coach Docking & Coach Russell have helped me understand my role as a center back and created defensive drills that would teach myself and the rest of our back four how to press and cover properly for each other.  I came to Coastal as a midfielder and they created me into a center back that is now playing in the MLS.”

Hedrick, primarily a central defender, will wear number 24 for Sporting when the club takes the pitch at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. for its first preseason match against the Houston Dynamo on Friday.

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