Pacific’s Blackmon Goes Third in MLS SuperDraft
Tristan Blackmon ‘18 of the Pacific men’s soccer team has accomplished quite a lot during his young soccer career. From receiving various honors as a standout at Bishop Gormon High School in Nevada, to earning Pacific’s Rookie of the Year award in his debut season, to his recognition as an NSCAA All-American following his junior year, there are plenty of successes one could point to.
For Blackmon, though, his greatest accomplishment to date is the one he always had his eye on.
“I always knew that I wanted to play at the professional level and nothing was going to stand in my way,” Blackmon told The Pacifican.
Blackmon was taken with the third overall pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on January 19th by Los Angeles FC, which traded up to acquire the 21-year-old defender. He became the first soccer player drafted out of Pacific in the school’s history.
“I am just one guy paving the way for a lot more players from Pacific to do the same thing,” Blackmon said. “It’s nice to be a leader in that sense, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, coaching staff, and athletic training staff.”
Blackmon’s head coach throughout his time at Pacific, Ryan Jorden, could not have been more excited for his standout player.
“I am so pleased for Tristan and for this opportunity that he will have to pursue his soccer career at the highest level in America,” Jorden told Pacific Athletics.
Blackmon will join Los Angeles FC as they undergo a process that he has already faced once before. The club was established in 2014 as an MLS expansion team, and it will be entering its first season of competition this year. Similarly, Blackmon joined Pacific in 2014 after the University revived the soccer program from a three-decade hiatus.
“I am somewhat familiar with the stages that are taking place at the club currently,” Blackmon said. “I understand what building a team can be like… I am very confident that this club will be the start of something unique and powerful for the league.”
Blackmon’s new coach, LAFC’s Bob Bradley, told MLSSoccer.com that he is intrigued by his new talent.
“Tristan is a really interesting one. He’s from Las Vegas, he’s grown a lot at the University of the Pacific, and we feel he is someone who, at the next level, will show people that something is there,” Bradley said.
Blackmon figures to play an integral role in the team’s development. The Las Vegas native has scored the most goals in Pacific’s history, and also proved to be a strong, versatile defender as he moved from forward, to winger, to right back during his time on Knoles Field. He fully intends to use this new opportunity to continue progressing as a player.
“For me, the most exciting part is the learning aspect. How much can I learn this year about the game? How much growth can I take as a player? What things can I fine-tune so that I can make a difference? These are the types of things that excite me. Learning about how to be a better you,” Blackmon explained.
As he moves on to life as a professional athlete, Blackmon told The Pacifican that he would always look back fondly on the moment he and the Pacific men’s soccer team were selected to compete in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
“It was a surreal moment for not only the team but for the entire Athletics community. It was an incredible moment hearing your name called to play in the first round, when last year you were 3-15.”
Blackmon is sure to make at least a few more unforgettable memories in Los Angeles. Undoubtedly, the Pacific community will be watching and cheering him on the whole way.
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