To balance the rigors of being an athlete and a full-time student, an individual has to be disciplined, determined and hardworking — and there is no guarantee that the hard work will pay off. A 2012 report released by the NCAA found that just over one percent of students athletes, with the exception of baseball players,will make it professionally after their collegiate careers. Those athletes who do are usually from major universities that have more money for athletics.
But over winter break, two Bears learned they were selected for the professional sports circuit. Lacrosse defenseman Roger Ferguson ’13 and soccer defender Dylan Remick ’13 were drafted into Major League Lacrosse and Major League Soccer, respectively.
All-Ivy Ferguson was selected by the Denver Outlaws as the 31st pick overall in the fourth round of the MLL Collegiate Draft.
“A scholar by day, he puts on his locksmith hat and goes to work at night. Roger is … always assigned to guard the best midfielders in the game of college lacrosse,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90. “The Jets have Revis. Brown has Ferguson.”
During his four years at Brown, Ferguson has been a key player for the men’s lacrosse team. He was an All-New England selection, Defensive co-MVP in 2012 and a “formidable shutdown defender,” Tiffany said.
“We give him a very difficult matchup every game, and he responds by effectively eliminating his opponent,” Tiffany said. “The rest of the team can lean on Roger to not only neutralize a formidable opposing player, but to also see the rest of the field and be a reliable and communicative member of the defensive unit.”
In addition to his defensive abilities, Tiffany said Ferguson is a “slippery offensive threat … setting picks with the attack or midfields to finds seams and take advantage of missteps.”
Ferguson’s versatility on the field was an attractive quality to MLL coaches, Tiffany said. Ferguson said his coach notified him and a few other players there was a chance they could be drafted, but nothing was certain.
“It works like this — MLL coaches talk to Division I coaches asking who they should pick. There is no set pool so they can pick any player they want,” Ferguson explained.
The MLL, founded in 1998, has this flexibility because the league is still in its early stages, and there are only eight teams. Since the NCAA bans formal contact between professional coaches and prospective athletes until the conclusion of their collegiate seasons, Tiffany informed Ferguson that he had been drafted officially.
“I was pretty surprised, but definitely excited,” Ferguson said. “It came and went pretty fast in terms of finding out, but I’m more focused on my final Brown season now … definitely want to give it my all.”
Though the MLL season runs from April to August, Ferguson will not be able to join the Denver Outlaws until May due to NCAA restrictions.
Ferguson said it is incredible to be a student-athlete at an Ivy League school and be drafted alongside athletes from powerhouse lacrosse schools like Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia.
“It’s cool that you can go to an Ivy League school and still have an impact on the professional level,” Ferguson said.
While Ferguson remains at Brown finishing his final season with the Bears, Remick has traveled to Seattle for preseason training. Remick was selected 35th overall in the second round by the Seattle Sounders in the MLS SuperDraft. This year’s SuperDraft, which is followed by supplemental picks, included two rounds with 38 soccer players.
“Anytime you get drafted in the first two rounds, it’s a great feeling being one of top 38 picks in MLS … it’s so good to see you’re in that top category,” Remick said.
Remick is a three-time first-team All-Ivy selection, a 2012 New England Intercollegiate Soccer All-Star and a 2012 second-team All-American — the first Bear to earn All-American honors since Jeff Larentowicz ’05 in 2004. Remick also helped the Bears earn three consecutive berths in the NCAA tournament.
“I am very excited for Dylan earning this opportunity to play at the professional level,” said Head Coach Patrick Laughlin. “Over the four years of watching him grow and develop as a player, his commitment to the sport lead to his rapid improvement and where he is now.”
In contrast to the MLL, there is less uncertainty surrounding the possibility of being drafted in the MLS. For Remick, the journey began in December after the Bears were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament in November.
“I tried to stay healthy and fit for the preseason and draft,” Remick said. “I trained a lot over break back at home in Chicago. My high school coach helped me out a lot and obviously Brown was really helpful in terms of giving me anything I needed in terms of training and advice.”
Remick was then invited to play in the MLS Combine, “one last time to showcase yourself before the draft,” Remick said.
After the four-day showcase, Remick returned home, awaiting the league’s next move.
“I was in the basement with my dad … it was a very nerve-wracking day before I got drafted, but once I found out I was so excited,” Remick said. “I was extremely happy I got picked that high, but the next day it was back to business because in the end you still have to work as hard as the people drafted in front of and behind you.”
Remick is currently training with the Sounders to earn a spot on the final roster and hopes to be in Seattle for the season’s start March 2, he said.
“I hope to make a decent career out of it,” he said. “I hope for it to be a long stretch, but it’s not something you can control.”
Fergueson and Remick both said it was important to have good time-management skills and to do the little things that will be important in the long run.
“Balancing with school was hard and with my major it was tough with labs. You have to give up those Friday or Saturday nights to do work because you were out practicing,” Remick said. “I think there are many talented athletes but there are sacrifices that you have to be willing to make to balance athletics, academics and still excel.”
Ferguson also said lacrosse taught him valuable life lessons that he believes only a sport can teach.
“Perseverance, getting up when you’re knocked down and always striving to be your best,” Ferguson said. “At the Division I level it’s like a job, you’re playing year-round, staying on top of everything … including schoolwork.”
Ferguson and Remick said they are both thankful for the academic and athletic opportunities they have found at Brown.
“Lacrosse is a team sport … I would not be where I am now without the other guys,” Ferguson said. “We started together and are now finishing together … it’s been a four year culmination to this point.”