BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell University standout Mitchell Cardenas will embark on the next step in his playing career this spring after being selected Tuesday by Sporting Kansas City in the Major League Soccer supplemental draft.
A native of Mexico City, who prepped at College Park (Texas) High School, Cardenas was chosen in the second round of the supplemental draft with the 33rd selection. He trained with Sporting KC last summer before his senior year when he led the country in assists.
"We are excited for Mitchell as he takes his soccer career to the next level," said Campbell head coach Steve Armas. "He was a tremendous asset to our program for the past four years and we are confident he will make Campbell University and his family very proud at Sporting KC."
A first-team All-South Atlantic Region choice as a senior, Cardenas led all NCAA Division I players in assists (14) and assists per game (0.74) for Campbell, which finished the season with a 12-5-2 overall record and ranked ninth in the final South Atlantic Region poll.
Named third-team all-region as a junior, Cardenas played every minute (1750) for the Camels, who finished 7-3 overall in the Big South Conference standings. He ranked 22nd in the nation (third in the Big South) with 30 points on 8 goals and 14 assists.
Cardenas is the third Campbell product chosen in the MLS draft. Richard Jata was picked in the fourth round of the 2009 Super Draft. Willy Guadarrama was tabbed by Kansas City in the fourth round of the 2007 supplemental draft.
He set up the game-tying goal in a season-opening 1-1 draw at 16th-ranked SMU (Aug. 24) and assisted on both strikes in a 2-0 victory at No.-17 NC State (Sept. 18). Cardenas scored once and had two assists in Campbell's 3-0 victory over Virginia Tech.
On the year, Cardenas finished with four game-winning goals. Four of his assists set up game-winning or game-tying strikes for the Camels, who finished 2-1-0 against Atlantic Coast Conference members and were 2-2-1 vs. nationally-ranked teams.
Cardenas ended his career as the 15th-leading scorer in the 50-season history of Campbell men's soccer. The native of Mexico City, who prepped at College Park (Texas) High School finished with 78 points on 22 goals and 34 assists in 76 matches (75 starts).
The 4-time all-conference performer (including three, first-team honors) ranks seventh on Campbell's all-time assists charts, fifth in starts and ninth in appearances. He is the second Campbell player to lead the country in assists since the program joined the NCAA Division I ranks in 1977. Pat Gross set an NCAA record with 23 assists in 1993.
Cardenas was one of 12 players from Big South Conference schools to earn all-region notice in 2012. He set up two goals in a 4-4 draw with High Point in the Big South quarterfinals and was named to the conference all-tournament team for the second-straight year.
The supplemental draft is in actuality, rounds three through six of the MLS Super Draft, of which the first two rounds took place last Thursday. San Jose's two-time Golden Boot award winner Chris Wondolowski was taken in the fourth round of the 2005 proceedings and is arguably the most notable product of the supplemental draft.