Obscure Metro Files: Sam Forko and Jeff Moore
January 3, 2007
As MLS evolves and the SuperDraft continues to lose its importance, one day we might look back at Metro draft mistakes of the past and change our tears into laughter. Yet, for all those failures, the draft will always hold a special place for us. Isn't it great to see a low-round draft pick like Jeff Parke come in and blossom? Yes, success of Marvell Wynne and Josmer Altidore was expected, but how proud will we be if players like Joe Vide or Blake Camp blossom into solid MLS performers? For there is something to be said for home-grown players, even if in MLS, "home-grown" often means "after four years of college".
So with the draft coming up next week and a chance to stock up on some more questionable but possibly promising talent, let's look back at the two players drafted in the low rounds of the 2002 draft, two players who we once thought had a future with Metro: Sam Forko and Jeff Moore.
Forko was taken in the third round with the 30th pick, two rounds and 23 picks after Metro drafted his UConn teammate Mansour Ndiaye. UConn was coming off a NCAA championship season, so few could blame Octavio Zambrano and Nick Sakiewicz for trying to tap into a winning program. Of course, the lack of blaming stopped soon as Ndiaye decided to bypass a career in soccer to go into law instead...
Fine; a wasted first round pick or not, we would have to settle for Forko. And the Liberian-born right back surprisingly won a starting spot for the season opener, and played relatively well in the 3:1 win over New England. A few days later, he stunk up the field in a 1:0 loss to Columbus, and would earn a permanent seat on the bench, starting in just one match for the reason of the season, and seeing time in just six more. A total of 356 uninspired minutes and three yellow cards were Forko's Metro totals. Perhaps the only thing he would be remembered by was the countless jokes made at the expense of his last name... and his brother Willis, who became a starter with Salt Lake last year, and is considered relatively solid, if you close your eyes on when John Wolyniec abused him in that 6:0 trashing. The older brother, who was cut by Metro in November, hung up his boots soon after, but has since coached on the high school level in his adopted state of Connecticut.
Moore was taken even after Forko, in the 6th round, with the 66th overall pick. A standout at local Richard Stockton College in Division III, he didn't join the Metros until midseason, instead choosing to finish up his studies. But right after his arrival in May, he was given the starting defensive midfield job by Zambrano. With Daniel Hernandez soon shipped out to New England and Marcelo Balboa never recovering from whatever was his injury-of-the-week, that job became Moore's to lose.
And Moore didn't lose it. He would start 19 matches (and play in 20), recording three assists, and even a goal in a 3:2 win over the supposed Boca Juniors. A 2002 version of Danny O'Rourke, he could win the ball, but could never do much with it; yet that didn't stop some fans from labeling Jeff "The Next Chris Armas". He did last a little longer than Forko, making it through Bob Bradley's 2003 training camp and being cut in May after Metro signed the Argentine duo of Galvan and Forchetti.
Since then, Moore bounced around soccer, playing without much success in the USL and indoor for the Philadelphia Kixx. He even appeared in a reserve match for Metro last year, and has now returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach. Moore does hold some significance in MLS history, as he became the first 6th round SuperDraft pick to actually play in MLS after being drafted. That doesn't make him a good player, however. Just obscure.