Ex-Colgate Soccer Star Jared Stroud Joins Austin FC in MLS Expansion Draft

On Dec. 15, 2020, Major League Soccer held an Expansion Draft for their newest club, Austin FC (AFC). In the draft, AFC was permitted to make five selections from a pool of “unprotected players.” However, the caveat is that AFC could only take one player from a single club. So if there is a dearth of talent from the pool all coming from one team (for example, the New York Red Bulls), AFC can only take one of their guys. 

Teams around the league could only protect twelve players from their respective squads, while the rest of their team was available for selection in the Expansion Draft. Players that were required to be protected were those with “No-trade clauses,” that are tied to their clubs, as well as three international players on teams with four or more international players. With these rigid league restrictions, great talents were available in the Expansion Draft player pool.

One of these talents was former Colgate Men’s Soccer all-time assist leader and captain of the 2017 squad that made a Cinderella run to the Sweet 16: Jared Stroud. Stroud is a household name in Hamilton, New York, and following his successful stint with the New York Red Bulls (NYRB) in the “MLS is Back” tournament last season, he was an enticing name in the Expansion Draft’s player pool. That idea was solidified when AFC used their second selection in the draft to take him, conveying their desire to utilize him heavily in their future plans. Having just joined the MLS, AFC’s selection of an exciting young talent like Stroud could certainly jumpstart their new club. 

When asked about his emotions after hearing his name in the Expansion Draft, Stroud expressed his excitement.

“It was a shock at first because I wasn’t sure if it would actually happen but also a great feeling in terms of league recognition and a new beginning,” he said.  

Despite this, the move came with some heartache over leaving his club and teammates at the New York Red Bulls.

“It was tough leaving my friends and the staff of NYRB, but they know how the sporting world works and that our paths would cross again. Definitely tough to leave the area I grew up in but at the same time exciting to be a part of an expansion team,” he said. 

Stroud also touched on how he hopes to open the first chapter of Austin FC’s history.

“It’s always tough for expansion teams because of organization and experience within the team, but so far this place seems incredibly organized and the team is great,” he said. “Our hope is to make the playoffs and play some exciting stuff in front of a great fan base.”

Optimistic about the squad’s future, Stroud is invested in the role he sees himself playing in it. A playoff appearance in the team’s inaugural season would be a historically quick ascension into the league’s elite, but given Stroud’s past success everywhere he has gone, no challenge seems too lofty. 

He is now working to settle into Austin and adapt to the lifestyle and culture of Texas.

“Texas is a special place. Austin seems to have its own vibe and the people here are awesome,” he said. “Weather has been perfect other than the historic snow storm last week, but we’re back up to 70s in March. Quite different from Colgate!”

Stroud will have much more sun and warm weather in his MLS tenure with AFC than he had during his time here in Hamilton, and he seems to be just fine with that. After bagging tidy goals and dishing sleek assists for four years on the frozen tundra that is Beyer-Small Field, the climate of Austin FC’s beautiful new Q2 stadium should be an easy transition for the Colgate legend. Everyone here at Colgate is excited to see Stroud open the history (and hopefully the record) books of Austin FC, and lead them on their first-ever playoff push. He has the pride of Hamilton behind him.