Wehan Named USL Rookie of the Year
RENO, NEV. — Former standout of The University of New Mexico men’s soccer team Chris Wehan has been named the United Soccer League Rookie of the Year following a season highlighted by a USL record-tying 12 assists with Reno 1868 FC.
Wehan received 72 percent of the vote to earn the award.
As a Lobo, Wehan enjoyed a decorated career that included being a two-time All-Conference USA First Team honoree as well as earning NSCAA All-Southwest Region First Team honors as a senior. Among many academic honors, Wehan was also a two-time NSCAA Scholar All-American.
“I’m really happy for Chris, this is a true example of hard work, dedication and great things happening to great people,” UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbien said. “His hard work and dedication to excellence is paying off and will continue to pay off throughout his endeavors. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for Chris.”
After graduating in 2016, Wehan went undrafted in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and spent the summer after his senior year with the San Jose Earthquakes before landing a starting job with Reno 1868 FC in its inaugural season.
In his first professional season with Reno 1868, Wehan played in 30 games including 29 starts and logged 2,557 minutes on the pitch. In that time he collected eight goals, 12 assists, a 78 percent pass success rate, 15 clearances and 25 interceptions.
“I began the year sort of feeling sorry for myself after not being drafted,” Wehan said in a press release. “But I was given a chance to be part of an incredible first season in Reno and become a better player by learning from Coach Russell and some of the veteran players.”
Reno coach Ian Russell spoke to Wehan’s potential at the beginning of the season and his club’s enthusiasm to develop it.
“We knew about Chris leading up to the draft and what a great player he was at New Mexico,” Russell said in a press release. “The people we spoke to all said that Chris’ work ethic is the quality that stuck out most.”
In addition to being named USL Rookie of the Year, Wehan was also named to the USL All-League First Team. He helped lead Reno to a third-place finish in the USL’s Western Conference and his eight goals contributed to the club’s USL-record 75 in a season.
“It was a great year – I think all of the stars aligned for me,” said Wehan. “I was on a really good team, I had a lot of good players around me which helped me personally.”
Wehan netted his first professional goal for Reno 1868 in Phoenix on May 6, helping cap the club’s first win.
“Scoring my first goal as a professional was a great feeling,” Wehan said. “But what I remember most is that it was just a sigh of relief to get the first win itself.
“I think we started clicking more as a team from that point on. I had to earn my stripes, but the guys began to trust me more as the season progressed. With that, my confidence grew and I’ll be forever grateful for this season for helping me grow as a player and person.”
While at New Mexico, Wehan accumulated nearly 6,500 minutes on the pitch, starting in 78 of 80 matches and scoring 70 points on 31 goals and eight assists.