Soccer alumnus drafted to Columbus Crew

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By Zara Samdani, Staff Reporter For Chris Donovan, a Conestoga soccer alumnus from the class of 2017, there was no better feeling than getting drafted as a Major League Soccer player. From earning countless soccer awards to reaching several mock drafts, Donovan felt as if he may have had a chance at getting drafted. He...

By Zara Samdani, Staff Reporter

For Chris Donovan, a Conestoga soccer alumnus from the class of 2017, there was no better feeling than getting drafted as a Major League Soccer player. From earning countless soccer awards to reaching several mock drafts, Donovan felt as if he may have had a chance at getting drafted. He has been working toward his goal for almost his entire life and has always dreamed of playing soccer professionally

“I was definitely nervous all day, knowing that the draft was going on, we’d been watching since three o’clock,” Donovan said. “So for three, almost four hours, I was sitting there, hoping that my name would pop up, and eventually did, which was pretty awesome.”

Donovan, a former Conestoga student and recent Drexel graduate, was drafted into Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew with the 68th overall pick on Jan. 11 at 6:45 p.m. During his time at Conestoga, Donovan played on the varsity team for three years and was named the Most Valuable Player. He is a three-time first-team All-Main Line Player and led Conestoga to the Central League Championship in each of his last three seasons. Donovan also won the Gatorade Player of the Year.

Donovan committed to Drexel University before his senior year began, majoring in sports management.  The forward scored 10 goals and managed five assists during his playing time at Drexel, and was named to the All-CAA first team and the CAA All-Tournament team. In 2020, Donovan was named NCAA Offensive Player of the Week two times and received an accolade to the United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic first team.

Donovan attributes his high school and college successes to his soccer coach at Conestoga, David Zimmerman. Through his encouragement and praise, Zimmerman helped Donovan gain the necessary confidence to become successful.

“With the coaches I’ve had throughout my career, not everyone is just as lucky to have a good string of coaches. Some of my teammates now or in the past, tell me about their previous coaches, and (their experiences) really don’t sound as good as the experiences I’ve had.” Donovan said. “But I’ve had a great experience, and (Coach Zimmerman) was really a mentor for me and someone that I really look up to.”

Zimmerman feels mutual pride and respect for Donovan. Zimmerman loved how Donovan proved as a role model for the rest of his teammates.

“I know as a player for Conestoga, he was the most in shape player and would win these running tests. When your star-goalscorer is also your hardest worker, think about the example that sets for the team,” Zimmerman said. “It makes (Donovan) more incredible. He is an all time great. He is probably the greatest player ever.”

Looking forward, Donovan plans to play professionally, either by earning a contract for Columbus Crew’s first or second teams this preseason or through other opportunities. After his playing career, he hopes to coach. Donovan first coached when he returned to Conestoga as head coach of the junior varsity boys’ soccer team in 2020. 

“Coaching is the other thing that I want to do with my career, because obviously, I can’t play forever. So being able to coach the JV team was definitely a great experience,” Donovan said. “I want to pass my legacy by showing kids who want to play professionally how to win the game.”


Zara Samdani can be reached at [email protected]

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