‘For all the small town boys:’ Worthington’s Amos Shapiro-Thompson selected by New York Red Bulls in MLS SuperDraft

  • Worthington's Amos Shapiro-Thompson playing for Boston College this fall. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

  • Worthington's Amos Shapiro-Thompson kicking a soccer ball in his back yard as a youth. Shapiro-Thompson was selected 79th overall by the New York Red Bulls in the MLS draft on Thursday. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

Staff Writer
Published: 12/22/2022 5:04:46 PM
Modified: 12/22/2022 5:02:01 PM

Worthington’s Amos Shapiro-Thompson grew up dreaming of playing in the MLS.

After years of hard work, traveling to Europe to refine his game and working back from major injuries during his time as a member of the Boston College men’s soccer team, those dreams became a reality this week. 

Shapiro-Thompson, a midfielder, was selected 79th overall by the New York Red Bulls in the MLS SuperDraft, putting him one step closer to achieving that goal of playing professional soccer. 

“I was really hoping to be selected but I wasn’t sure what would happen on draft day,” Shapiro-Thompson said. “It’s an unpredictable process. I went up to train with the New York Red Bulls a few weeks ago and it was a great experience so I was hopeful they would take me. It’s always unclear what will happen during the draft, though.” 

Wednesday’s draft got underway at 5 p.m. Just over three hours later, at 8:14 p.m., Shapiro-Thompson got the text that he had been drafted, and sitting with friends and family in Worthington, was able to hear his named called on television. 

“I was so excited and so happy for the opportunity,” Shapiro-Thompson said. “It’s a dream come true. Coming from a really small, rural town and growing up kicking the ball against the barn all day, it’s surreal. This journey took me all over the world to chase this dream. To be back here in Worthington with my parents, my sister, my elementary school friends, it was so meaningful. We were all just sitting at the kitchen table watching the picks come in. It was intense and emotional. It was loud in the house when the pick came up and it was me.” 

With the draft happening not too long after Shapiro-Thompson’s senior season at Boston College came to a close, there weren’t many opportunities to showcase himself personally at MLS camps. 

When he got the invite to attend the New York Red Bulls’ college combine, he made sure to give it all he had, knowing it might be his only chance to show his skill set directly to an MLS club. 

“I had a great experience there at their college combine,” Shapiro-Thompson said. “I was pretty nervous because I sprained my ankle in my last game of the season against UNC. I didn’t feel 100 percent fit but I just went for it. It was a great experience. I got a good feel for their style of play, the intensity and the commitment they ask for. It really fit the type of player I am. I was excited when they picked me.” 

Shapiro-Thompson put in the time and work to be in a position to be selected to the MLS. Growing up in Worthington, he attended Milton Academy where he spent two years as a boarding student. Growing up, he was a member of the U14 and U15 U.S. national teams. 

He moved to Spain on a school program Milton Academy offered, and once there, he spent a year and a half training in Croatia with GNK Dinamo Zagreb, a Croatian professional club, as well as Legia Warsaw, a professional soccer club in Poland. 

“Culturally it was a big shock,” Shapiro-Thompson said. “It was difficult to be on my own at a young age and be away from my family. I had a taste of it at boarding school but it was different being in an unknown country where I didn’t speak the language or know anyone. I just went for it. It helped me mature a lot and I also got an amazing soccer education. I’m so grateful for those opportunities and I got to meet so many great people. I got pushed a lot and had to welcome the uncomfortableness of it all.” 

Shapiro-Thompson returned to the states for college in 2019, where he had a scholarship to play at Boston College. He appeared in 15 games as a freshman and was an All-ACC Freshman Team nominee. As a sophomore, he played in all six of BC’s games during the shortened COVID-19 season.

He started the first six games of his junior season before tearing his ACL, ending his season and putting his soccer future in doubt. But overcoming that adversity has made him stronger in the long run. 

“There were a lot of times I doubted if I’d ever get back to 100 percent,” Shapiro-Thompson said. “There were some dark moments for me. It makes it all the more sweeter now. It’s was a long journey to get there, and having an injury like that makes you question whether it was all worth it. I remained focused on the day-to-day, tried to control what I could control and worked hard to get back out and be 100 percent.”

He returned to play 15 games for the Eagles this fall, recording two goals and three assists as BC finished the season with a 4-7-5 record. 

“Returning from the ACL right as the season started wasn’t easy,” Shapiro-Thompson said. “We had some disappointing results. I think we had a good team and we could have done better. Overall it was a great experience at BC. I met so many great people and am grateful I got to finish out my education at a great school. I’m really lucky for all of it.” 

While Shapiro-Thompson is enjoying the thrill of being drafted now, his attention will quickly focus back to training, as he reports to the Red Bulls on Jan. 6. 

He’ll enjoy the time now with family and friends before getting back in the swing 0f things, looking to show up at camp ready to fight for a roster spot. 

“With sports in general, whenever there’s an achievement you have to turn the corner quickly and look at what’s next,” Shapiro-Thompson said. “Today I’m just soaking it all in with family and friends and trying to enjoy the moment. Next week will be about taking good care of my body, training hard and getting mentally focused to be ready to take this opportunity on.” 

While he’ll be playing on the big stage in the near future, Shapiro-Thompson will never forget where he came from, working hard to realize a dream that so many small town kids like him grow up with.

“I got a text from one of my friends who I grew up with that said ‘this one feels good for all the small town boys,’” Shapiro-Thompson said. “It’s so meaningful to get to share this journey with so many amazing people. I feel so supported. I’m motivated to keep pushing on. The hard work starts now. I want to keep working hard for all the people who supported me and for all the ones who didn’t get the same chances I’ve had. I’m very motivated and very excited to get going.” 


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