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Columbus welcomes Paul Gerstenberger to the Crew

The Columbus Crew must like the Capital District.

Several years after drafting Guilderland High School graduate Jon Busch, the Crew picked Colonie Central High School grad Paul Gerstenberger in the Major League Soccer draft.

It was crazy to see my name come up with Columbus, said Gerstenberger. "It's going to be a great situation to be part of."

"We're incredibly happy and proud of Paul for what he's accomplished," said Colonie boys soccer coach Mike Trimarchi.

For Gerstenberger, it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

"I think every kid dreams to be a pro athlete. It's just something I always wanted to do," he said.

"When he was in 10th grade, he told me he was going to play pro soccer," said Trimarchi. "I've had many kids tell me that, but Paul was one of the few I believed when he told me that."

Gerstenberger " who recently wrapped up his senior year with the Boston College men's soccer team " didn't have to wait too long to hear his name. The Crew made Gerstenberger their first pick, which came late in the second round.

"I heard that some teams had interest " possibly in the late second or third round. But it was all pretty much word of mouth," said Gerstenberger. "I started watching in the second round, and when it started coming down to the last four picks of the second round, I started to get nervous ... until my name popped up."

The bonus for Gerstenberger is that he's joining the defending MLS Cup champions.

"I'm just going at it as I'm going to add to the team," said Gersten-berger. "Any way I can help the team is OK with me."

Gerstenberger has come a long way since being the star midfielder for Colonie in the early part of the decade. He switched to defense when he entered the United States national team program while in high school, and he stayed there through his time at Boston College.

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