For the first time in California State University, Northridge history a pair of Matadors were taken in the same Major League Soccer SuperDraft, as both Sagi Lev-Ari and Edwin Rivas heard their names called by MLS clubs on Thursday afternoon. Both were drafted in the second round of the SuperDraft, with Lev-Ari going to Columbus Crew SC with the 14th selection (35th overall) and Rivas heading to Toronto FC with the 16th (37th overall).
“I was so happy and it was exactly what I wanted,” said Lev-Ari. “I wanted to go to Columbus and I had an interview with them at the combine. I am happy they chose me and I am excited to join the club.”
“I wasn’t expecting to be drafted. All I wanted was to get invited to be seen by a club,” said Rivas. “It shocked me to go in the second round and I was speechless. I’m happy and don’t know what to say. The first call I made was to my dad and mom.”
Lev-Ari was an NSCAA All-Far West Region selection after scoring 11 goals, including five game-winning strikes, and recording 22 points in 2014. In addition to leading the Matadors, all three statistics ranked at the top of the Big West Conference at the end of the regular season. He opened the 2014 season with a goal in each of the first four matches and had a pair of goals in wins over Bakersfield and then-No. 3 UC Irvine.
He turned in his third consecutive season with 10 or more goals and was voted by Big West coaches to the All-Big West First Team for the second time.
With his 11 goals in 2014, Lev-Ari finished his career at CSUN with 42 goals, six assists and 90 points in 64 matches. He became the fourth player in Big West history to score 40 or more goals in a career and ranks fourth all-time in CSUN history as well. Lev-Ari ranks seventh in CSUN history with 90 career points and averaged 30 per season in his time on campus.
As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Rivas tied for the team lead with five goals and tallied a total of 10 points. His late goal at then-No. 7 UCLA propelled the Matadors to a victory in Westwood for the first time in school history.
The Los Angeles native earned All-Big West First Team honors as a sophomore after scoring eight goals and adding four assists, including two goals at UC Riverside in a victory that sealed the South Division title for CSUN. In his junior year, Rivas had another four goals and four assists for 12 points while earning a spot on the All-Big West Second Team.
He tallied an assist at Cal Poly and had another in CSUN’s 3-0 triumph at then-No. 3 UC Irvine this season. For his career Rivas had 17 goals, 10 assists and 44 points.
The pair becomes the first in school history drafted in the same year since Willie Sims and Daniel Paladini in 2006. However, Lev-Ari and Rivas are the first two taken in the same SuperDraft, which include the first two rounds.
While they will still need to play their way into the first team, the first opportunity for Rivas to match up with Lev-Ari at the professional level will be on Saturday, March 14, when Columbus hosts Toronto at Crew Stadium.