Charlie Rugg’s 2012 didn’t get off to the start the pacey Boston College Eagles striker had hoped for. At the tail end of an impressive preseason, Rugg suffered a knee injury that would keep him out of the starting lineup for the first four games of the season.
After leading BC in scoring his first three season and entering his senior year with 23 career goals and 16 career assists, Rugg looked like he had a legitimate shot at going pro. The Roslindale, Mass. native was putting up numbers not seen by the Eagles since former U.S. National Teamer Charlie Davies left to play in Sweden in 2007.
Rugg undoubtedly helped his case and caught a few eyes early in 2012 in a closed-door scrimmage against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. The 6-foot tall striker didn’t score, but put in a strong showing, causing the Revolution backline issues all game with his pace and looking a threat to score throughout the match as the Eagles fell 2-1.
That summer Rugg would play for the Worcester Hydra in the PDL, appearing in five games and tallying two goals and two assists. His impressive resume earned him a spot on Fox Soccer’s Top 25 NCAA Prospects heading into the 2012 college season.
Rugg didn’t miss a beat in BC’s preseason, scoring against Syracuse in a 2-0 win, but a knee injury in that much would keep him out of the next three games and out of the starting line-up for the next four, damaging his hopes of turning pro and BC’s chances in the process.
Once Rugg was back, the scoring returned. Rugg opened his account in his first match of the season, a 1-1 draw with Virginia Tech. A week later, he’d set-up the game winning goal in a 2-1 win over San Francisco. Three days after that, he’d have two goals and an assist in a 4-2 win against the University of Rhode Island. Rugg would go five straight games recording a goal or an assist.
The season would end in disappointment with Rugg limited by injuries and BC falling out in the first round of both the ACC tournament and NCAA tournament, but Rugg would still finish leading BC once again with five goals – three of them game winners – and four assists in 13 games. A good season to be sure, but perhaps not good enough. When the MLS Combine list came out on Dec. 12, Rugg wasn’t on it.
Fellow Eagles Kyle Bekker and Colin Murphy had made the list. Bekker – a midfielder, whose skill on set pieces could also help the Revolution, though his international status could be a deterrent – would even earn a rare pre-draft senior contract.
The lack of a Combine invite isn’t a death sentence to professional aspirations, but it certainly makes getting noticed a lot more difficult. Fortunately for Rugg, a lifeline was thrown his way with a late combine invite.
On Friday, Rugg took advantage, scoring the fourth goal for his adiZero side at the Combine in a 4-0 win over adiPure to open the Combine. Rugg, now 22, got on the end of a free kick and saw his header blocked, before blasting in a shot.
While the goal undoubtedly got him some attention, Rugg is still projected to fall below his Boston College teammates in the SuperDraft. Bekker’s been projected to land as high as one of the top three picks and Murphy, a New Zealand U-20 International, as high as the top 20. Rugg’s name can’t be found.
Less than five months ago Rugg looked to be the top prospect out of BC and a possible first round pick. Now, barring an outstanding Combine, he looks likely to slip to the Supplemental Draft.
But while Bekker and Murphy may be grabbing the attention of other clubs, Rugg could be the right player for a Revolution team in desperate need of some more quality at striker. If the injury troubles are behind him, Rugg’s combination of speed and physicality that made him so dangerous against the Revolution defense in that preseason friendly a year could prove potent in MLS.
And, if Rugg’s still available come the Revolution’s first round pick in the Supplemental Draft, he may turn out to be one of the steals of the draft.