Late in the second half of last season’s Maryland men’s soccer fixture against Michigan, Ben Di Rosa limped off the pitch and received treatment on the sideline. His injury wasn’t clear, but the then-junior right back seemed to be in significant pain, clutching his leg before he staggered towards the bench.
A few minutes later, though, he was back on the pitch, making lung-busting runs up the right side as the Terps pursued an equalizer. And on the other side, Ben’s twin brother Matt was offering the same energy, darting up and down the wing, marking one of the best players in the country in the Wolverines’ Jack Hallahan.
However, that energy, those constantly reliable legs, won’t be available at Ludwig Field this upcoming season. After being selected in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, the twin brothers are leaving the program to join their professional clubs, they announced on Twitter Friday morning.
“I’m thrilled to see Ben and Matt begin their journey as professional athletes,” coach Sasho Cirovski said in a news release. “While we would’ve loved to have had them for one more season, they are more than ready for this next step.”
[Maryland full backs Matt and Ben Di Rosa selected in MLS SuperDraft]
The two proved to be more than just a pair of legs in their three seasons each in College Park. Both started 21 games last year, playing through knocks and injuries to offer solidity at full back for Maryland. Both also added two assists.
Pro scouts awarded that consistency and potential. Matt was selected by FC Toronto at No. 25 overall in last week’s draft, while Ben went to New York City FC at No. 44.Matt came to College Park in 2017 as an attacking midfielder, but was converted to a full back before the 2018 season. He started 12 matches in the Terps’ national championship run in 2018, adding the game winner against favored Indiana in the semifinal.
[Maryland men’s soccer announces season schedule]
“College Park has become a second home, and I’ll forever be grateful to my teammates, Sasho and the entire coaching staff, and the best fans in college soccer.” Matt Di Rosa said in the news release. “I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life in Toronto, but I’ll always be a Terp.”
Ben, a more natural right back, earned a spot at right back in 2018, starting 13 games and adding one goal. He played every minute of Maryland’s playoff run, and was named to the College Cup All-Tournament team.
“Many of my best memories have come in a Maryland jersey, and that’s a result of Sasho and my incredible teammates and coaches,” Ben Di Rosa said in the news release. “I am incredibly excited to start my professional journey with NYCFC. As I begin that new chapter, I can’t wait to support my brothers at Maryland and watch the team compete this Spring and beyond.”
Without the twins, Maryland will now turn to a number of inexperienced — yet highly touted — options to fill the void at both full back positions. Who that will be remains to be seen, but whoever steps into those spots will have massive shoes to fill.