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Three Harvard seniors were among the first nine collegians selected in the North American Soccer League player draft held Wednesday in New York. Fullback Chris Wilmot and goalie Shep Messing were first round picks while teamate Phil Kydes, a half-back was the first to be taken in the second round.
Montreal, which was the first to pick in the draft, selected Messing, who is an All-American selection and the goalie for the 1972 United States Olympic team. Messing turned in an excellent performance in the NCAA national semi-finals held in Miami, over Christmas, and Howard's winning goal was the only one he allowed in post-season competition.
Christ Wilmot, also an All-American selection, was the mainstay of the strong Crimson defense, and like messing turned in an outstanding performance in Harvard's heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Howard in Miami. He was drafted first by the New York Cosmos, who termed him "the best defenseman and the best collegiate in this crop of seniors."
An Englishman, he is expected by the Cosmos to sign a pre contract with the team because, as they said, "he is married to an American girl and we are sure he will stay here."
Kydes, the only member of the trio drafted who was not a first round selection was drafted by Montreal right after they took Messing, and like the other two he was a key member of the 1971 Harvard soccer squad which travelled to Miami, only to lose to the eventual winner of the NCAA's Howard 1-0 in the semi-finals.
"It's kind of hard to say," Kydes said when asked whether or not he would play for the Montreal team. "I guess the main thing is the money", he added. Kydes, who is almost assured of a pro contract if he returns to his native Greece, wasn't sure how much the Montreal team would offer him in the way of a contract since he had yet to be contacted. But his coach, Bruce Munro, has said to Phil that the Montreal team must offer him a very good job, meaning a large bonus and salary, otherwise he would recommend his returning to Greece where the pro teams pay well.
"If the Montreal team does not offer me a good package I will go to Greece," Kydes said, "because I am pretty much assured of a contract here." He added that he "would have to try out, but I have friends here who say that I would make it easily."
Professional soccer in the United States, which has not done exceptionally well since its recent inception, is expected to do well in the years ahead. "They are making fewer mistakes now," said Kydes. "They were charging too much for admission previously" and both the foreigners who had just arrived in the United States, and the Americans "aren't going to pay that (5 or 6 dollars a ticket) when the sport is just beginning," he added.
"To promote the sport they will have to charge less," Kydes said. When asked whether he would prefer to play in Greece or in the States, he said that it all depended on the money, but that he "would prefer to play in the U.S.," and that "it would be fun."
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