By Jeremy Rubin
FC Dallas picked Derek Waldeck ’19 in the third round (66th overall) of the 2020 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft. He joins former teammate Tanner Beason ’18 in the MLS as the only other Stanford player to be selected so far this year.
Named to the All Pac-12 First Team in 2019, Waldeck has been a model of consistency throughout his four years on the Farm. He played in 89 games and started in 63 of them, including all 43 matches of his junior and senior seasons.
A gifted passer, Waldeck finished with 22 assists over the course of his Cardinal career. He improved steadily each year, with three assists in the 2016 season, five in 2017 and eight in 2018. These statistics correlated with steady improvement in the Pac-12 assist leaderboard: seventh his sophomore year, fifth his junior and a tie for second his senior year.
“Growth,” Waldeck said, when asked about how he would describe his career at Stanford in an interview prior to the draft. “It transcends beyond a lot of different areas of the game to also my fitness, my work rate, my mentality.”
It was in his final season where Waldeck began to increase his scoring output. After netting two goals in his first three years, he doubled that output in 2019 to bring his total to six. Against No. 23 Virginia Tech in the third round of the NCAA tournament, Waldeck’s goal in the 54th minute opened up scoring en route to a 2-1 Stanford victory. This kept Stanford’s quest for an NCAA Championship alive. The team won the national title twice, in Waldeck’s freshman and sophomore years.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to influence games more and more,” Waldeck said.
Waldeck will join an FC Dallas team which finished 13-12-9 last season and placed seventh in the Western Conference. He will look to provide an immediate boost due to his passing and consistency on the field. Unlike Beason, who was drafted by the San Jose Hurricanes, the Santa Clarita-native Waldeck will make the move away from his hometown and Stanford’s campus.
When asked about a favorite memory, Waldeck did not choose either of his team’s NCAA Championship wins nor any of his numerous individual accolades. Instead, he said, “I think about some of the days where [the team went] through some really tough training sessions. In the moment you feel like it’s never going to end, but then you get back into the locker room, and you can all smile with each other because you all just made it through together.”