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MLS Combine

MLS SuperDraft prospect Tajon Buchanan motivated by past slights

Team Predator's Tajon Buchanan, center, kicks the ball during a training session at the MLS Player Combine.

They told him he wasn’t good enough for a school like Syracuse.

They told him he needed to get his head out of the clouds and quit dreaming

They told him he needed to lower his expectations.

“Whenever I heard anybody tell me I just wasn’t good enough to get to Syracuse, it motivated me even more,” Tajon Buchanan recalls during an interview at the recent MLS Player Combine.

Not only did the Toronto native eventually get into Syracuse, he thrived as a member of the Orange, made first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference and is expected to be one of the top picks in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft.

Buchanan combines two qualities — athleticism and determination – that have scouts drooling over his pro potential. His determination has been apparent since 2014, when, as a 14-year-old, his club team visited the Syracuse campus, toured the facilities and Buchanan declared, “This is where I’m going to play someday.”

He was so resolute about achieving his soccer goals, he moved away from home as a high school junior and followed his club coach – Chrys Chrysanthou — from Toronto to Denver and moved in with Chrysanthou and his family.  While out west, his soccer fortunes reached a Rocky Mountain high when he was accepted into Real Colorado, a United States soccer developmental academy.

However, in 2016, because he wasn’t living with his biological family, FIFA and U.S. Soccer declared him ineligible. Suddenly, Buchanan was not allowed to play elite level soccer anymore.

“I wasn’t getting the exposure that other players were getting and I sort of fell through the cracks and wasn’t getting any college offers,” Buchanan says.

The only school that offered him a scholarship was the University of Denver, a nearby Colorado college that scouted Buchanan often before FIFA ruled him ineligible. While Buchanan was thankful for the offer, he remained convinced he was good enough to play at Syracuse. As a result, he went to a three-day Syracuse scouting camp and, almost immediately, the coaches at the school offered him a scholarship.

In just two years at Syracuse, he would lead the Orange in points and goals this season and recorded multiple goals three times. Despite spraining his knee midway through the season, Buchanan played with a brace and still led the Orange into the NCAA Tournament where they were beaten by eventual national semifinalist Akron.

“What an unbelievable experience and journey it was get to Syracuse,” Buchanan says. “Syracuse was my dream school and I was going to do everything in my power to accomplish my dream.”

His next dream is to not only play professional soccer, but to become one the most dominant players in MLS.

Doubt him at your own risk.

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