MLS drafts Wilson alumni twins

Natalie Gordon

Every athlete dreams of going pro, but for the Di Rosa twins, that dream came true. Wilson alumni Matt and Ben Di Rosa were each selected in January’s Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft. 

Matt was drafted In the first round by Toronto FC and shortly after that in the second round, Ben was selected by New York City FC. While the journey to professional sports can be challenging, and emotionally and physically draining, it is extremely rewarding. For Matt and Ben, their road to the big league was particularly unique because they had each other by their side. 

“It’s definitely not a straight line to success,” Matt explained, “One day you could be on the top of the world and the next at rock bottom,” Ben added. 

The college recruitment process was stressful for the twins; not only did they have to decide where they were going to spend the next four years of their life, but teammates were also getting offers and in some cases, already committing to schools. 

“My advice for people would just be to be patient when deciding what college they want to go to because it’s not a decision you want to rush,” Matt said. The DiRosas described how they always knew they wanted to go far as soccer players and when they both got offers from the University of Maryland, they couldn’t pass it up. 

The brothers spoke enthusiastically about their time playing for the University of Maryland. “College soccer is really special because you are able to play soccer at a high level while being able to get an education, which is something many athletes getting recruited right out of high school can’t do.” Matt explained.  They also recounted the thrill of playing in front of a college crowd, something they couldn’t do for Wilson because their travel soccer club wouldn’t allow them to play high school sports.  

Matt and Ben spoke about the relationships they developed along their journey. “It’s nice to have people who were your older mentors become your teammates in college,” Matt said, describing his relationship with Jake Rohanzky and Chase Gasper, two soccer players on the U18 team at the Bethesda Academy while Matt and Ben were on the U16 team. They transferred from other D1 programs to eventually join the Di Rosa twins at Maryland. 

Now, the twins are practicing alongside experienced professionals. Matt has begun pre-season training in Toronto with Michael Bradley and Jozy Altadore, two U.S Soccer legends. Playing with these legendary athletes intimidated Matt initially, but he realized they were just people too, who achieved dreams of becoming professionals.

Being twins, Matt and Ben have always been by each other’s side from birth to the college recruitment process, when they would tell scouts at their games that they were a package deal—however that is no longer the case. 

“This is our first month apart and it’s tough, but we’re both in great cities so we’re really happy for each other,” Matt explained. Ben pointed out that it’s hard to branch out and be social when you’ve had a built-in friend everywhere you go, making an effort to meet new people has helped them. 

Playing on the same team as your twin has its ups and downs, “You want them to do well but when they’re playing badly it’s added anxiety that non-twins never have to deal with,” Ben said. 

Before their soccer careers started getting serious, Matt and Ben would argue constantly on the field, but when opportunities started coming up, the brothers realized there was no point in criticizing the other. “We both want the other one to succeed,” Matt added. “If I have no soccer obligation that day of course I’ll watch Matt’s game,” Ben said. The twins have promised to do their best to be there for each other despite the long distance.