FILE PHOTO: NATE MOULTON/THE HOYA Sophomore defender Joshua Yaro, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, helped Georgetown record 10 shutouts this season.
FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA
Sophomore defender Joshua Yaro, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, helped Georgetown record 10 shutouts this season.

Over winter break, the Georgetown men’s soccer team’s sophomore defender Joshua Yaro decided to remain at Georgetown and declined a contract with Major League Soccer. The contract would likely have been worth about $160,000 per year — the amount that Connecticut sophomore forward Cyle Larin, the expected number-one pick, received according to americansoccernow.com.

“Even if, in the future, I get a contract to go to the MLS, I don’t think it is going be a better offer than what I had,” Yaro said.

Before deciding to remain at Georgetown instead of entering the professional ranks early, Yaro was the consensus top overall pick. However, the importance he places on his education and life after soccer made his decision difficult.

“It was a long process,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “We had been talking about it with him for three or four weeks.”
Entering college, Yaro understood that playing professionally was a possibility, so he began taking summer courses in an attempt to finish his degree early. However, he had not anticipated that he would have this opportunity after only two years in college.

“I knew from the start what I wanted to do, and I had a plan coming into college that I was going to get as close as I can to my degree. I had that in mind,” Yaro said. “I knew I was definitely not going to leave school after freshman year or sophomore year.”

However, the star defender was still intrigued by the offer. In a league where some players only earn $36,500 a year, his contract would have been impressive. The opportunity to be selected at the top of the draft by one of two new expansion teams — New York City Football Club or Orlando City Soccer Club — was difficult to turn down.

“It made it harder. It would have been cool, having all these names coming in. New York FC is getting David Villa; Orlando is getting Kaká — people that I grew up watching and admiring. Playing with them would have been a nice thing,” Yaro said.
But, it was more than just the money, according to Wiese.

“He had to put aside probably a considerable amount of ego that goes with [being the likely first pick in the draft],” Wiese said.

Yaro also acknowledged the uncertainty that comes with playing professionally.

“You don’t really know what is going to happen in the future,” Yaro said. “To me, there is much more than just soccer. I’m aware that if you have a good career, it is 10-15 years. After that, I will still have a lot of years to live, and what am I going to do after if I don’t have a college degree?”

With another year on campus ahead of him, Yaro emphasized his desire to enjoy all Georgetown has to offer — both on the field and off of it. The All-American felt as though he had not fully appreciated the three semesters under his belt.

“One guy that I was talking to said, ‘If you feel like you have really enjoyed Georgetown and have really explored it all — really enjoyed your time both in the classroom and on the field — and if you think you don’t have any unfinished business at Georgetown, then it is reasonable to leave.’ I think that was something that really touched my heart,” Yaro said.

The return of one of the top defenders in the nation will be a huge boon for the Hoyas next season. Yaro was part of a defense that led the nation in shutout percentage in 2013 and that allowed an average of just 0.65 goals per game. Barring any unexpected roster shakeups, the 2015 season will be the third consecutive season featuring the same four starters along the backline. Yaro’s combination of speed and skill on the ball made him a huge part of that group’s success.

“I was happy because it made my job quite a bit easier for next fall,” Wiese said. “Having one of the best players in college soccer coming back is always good news for us.”

Now that Yaro has chosen to stay in college for another season, he is able to return to being a student-athlete — one with an incredibly bright future.

“I have never felt this happy coming back to school,” Yaro said. “Before I made a decision, it was weighing on my mind. Once I made my decision, it was a weight lifted off me. I am really glad with the decision I made.”

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