BOSTON (CBS) — Diego Fagundez is the reigning MVP of the New England Revolution, and he has one of the best-selling jerseys in the Major League Soccer.
The 19-year-old has certainly made a name for himself on the big stage, but on Thursday night the Leominster resident ruled a different stage.
Instead of cleats and shorts, Fagundez was sporting a cap and gown as he graduated from Goodrich Academy in Fitchburg. To make things even more impressive, he received his diploma on time, completing all his course requirements while juggling the life of a professional soccer player.
“I wanted to be a role model to everyone out there,” Fagundez said after graduation. “You can make it so many ways to[have] your dreams come true.”
“Professional soccer is just my job and it’s easy for me. It’s something I grew up with and I do it all the time. School is just hard because I had to do a lot of work and it was going to be tough. But at the end of the day, I did it and I can finally say I’m a graduated student.”
Fagundez signed with the Revolution when he was just 15-years-old back in 2010, but never let his play on the field get in the way of his studies off of it. He made his pro debut with the Revolution in April 2011 in a US Open Cup win over the DC United, and broke onto the MLS scene later that year when he notched his first career goal against Chivas USA in August.
But through it all, Fagundez and the Revolution made sure his education was still a top priority. He went with tutors and online courses when the schedule picked up, and took classes as night in his junior and senior year to make sure he would be part of the Class of 2014.
“This school did so much for me,” Fagundez said of Goodrich Academy. “This schedule worked for me and they did so much that I don’t even know how to thank them.”
All the while, he was building up his reputation on the field as well. After making 20 appearances in 2012, Fagundez was a full-time starter for the Revolution in 2013. He quickly became a key contributor and fan favorite, leading the New England with 13 goals (tied for fifth in MLS) while placing second with seven assists (one shy of Kelyn Rowe’s eight).
In 70 career games with the Revolution, Fagundez has tallied 21 goals and 13 assists. Now the very talented youngster has a high school diploma to go with all those accolades.
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