BY JAMES COOK
TRAVERSE CITY — One down, many to go.
Former Traverse City West star Casey Townsend finished up his rookie year in Major League Soccer after being a first-round draft pick by Chivas USA.
His 2012 soccer voyage puts Townsend at No. 5 in the Record-Eagle's top 10 local sorts stories of the year.
"It was a good year overall," Townsend said. "I ended up playing about half the games, which is good for a rookie. I learned a lot."
He finished his first professional season with a goal and two assists for the offense-starved Goats, who scored only 24 goals in 34 games. He anticipates being much more involved in helping improve those numbers next season after he missed about half the year due to injury.
Chivas wasn't able to get any continuity going this season, as no player saw action in all 34 games, and only two played in more than 24. Townsend played 17, starting 10 of those.
So what is he looking forward to most next season?
"Just not being a rookie," Townsend said. "I was a little wide-eyed and I've learned what it is to be a pro."
Chivas' preseason work starts Jan. 20.
Townsend was selected MVP of the league's draft combine tournament, prompting Chivas to select him fifth overall in the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 12. That came on the heels of a college career that saw him end up third on soccer powerhouse Maryland's goals list with 43.
A two-time Mr. Soccer selection at TC West as the state top high school player, Townsend said it was a big change for him, going from college soccer to the professional level.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking," Townsend said. "These guys have families and are fighting to make a living and here comes a rookie. It's definitely a different world."