Simon Becher drafted by Vancouver Whitecaps, Alec Smir picked by FC Dallas
A pair of former players from the Ocean City Nor'easters were selected in the 2022 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
Simon Becher, the Nor'easters' 2021 Offensive Player of the Year, who was the country's second-leading scorer at Saint Louis University, was selected in the First Round (16th overall) by the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Alec Smir, the Nor'easters 2018 Young Player of the Year, capped off an impressive goalkeeping career at North Carolina by getting chosen in the Third Round (62nd overall) by FC Dallas.
Becher and Smir were the 27th and 28th Ocean City alums to be selected in an MLS draft since the Nor'easters joined USL League Two (USL-2) in 2003. Assuming they eventually sign a professional contract, they would be the 97th and 98th Ocean City alums to play at the pro level.
Becher had an impressive season with the Nor'easters in 2021, led by head coach Alan McCann. The Brooklyn, Conn. native led the Nor'easters with 11 regular season goals, and added one more in the USL League Two playoffs to finish with 12 in 14 games across all competitions. His 11 regular season goals were tied for third-most in USL-2.
Out of those 12 goals, six of them were game-winning goals, the most of any player in the league.
In the postseason, he played all 180 minutes of both playoff games, and scored a clutch, game-winning penalty kick in the 76th minute against the Boston Bolts in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
At the conclusion of the season, Becher finished as the leading scorer on the second-highest scoring team in the league (40 goals in 14 games, 2.85 goals per game). The 40 goals scored by Ocean City were the most in a single season since 2005. This made Becher an easy choice as Ocean City's Offensive Player of the Year. Becher was also named to the USL-2 Eastern Conference Team of the Year
Becher carried the momentum from the USL-2 season into his third season at Saint Louis University. He led the Billikens offense, which finished the regular season as the only undefeated team in the country. Becher was a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist as he finished second in the nation in scoring with 14 goals, 10 assists (38 points). He finished as the only player in the country with double digit goals and assists. Among Becher’s accolades, he was named a First Team All-American, All-Region, and the Atlantic-10 Offensive Player of the Year.
The Billikens, who won the Atlantic-10 “double” (regular season and tournament championships) would suffer their first loss of the season in the NCAA tournament when they lost to eventual runner-up and No. 2 seed Washington. It was the program’s first Elite Eight appearance since 2003.
At 16th overall, Becher becomes the highest draft pick to play for Ocean City since Ryan Finley (2008) who was selected 9th overall by the Columbus Crew in 2013.
Alec Smir was the youngest on a talented goalkeeping trio on the 2018 Ocean City Nor'easters team led by head coach (and current Technical Director) John Thompson. The Greensboro, N.C. native split time with Todd Morton and Jimmy Slayton, both of which went on to play professionally.
While Smir only played in four regular season games, finishing with a 2-2-0 record and one clean sheet, his best performances came in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup where he helped the Nor'easters win a pair of road games against AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL) and professional side Charlotte Independence (USL). The run would end with the team's third straight road game, falling to North Carolina FC (USL) in the Third Round. That tournament run gave the Storm the club's 10th and 11th US Open Cup win, and a sixth tournament win over a pro team. Both totals are the third-most among all amateur teams in the Modern Era (1995-present), behind the Flint City Bucks and the Des Moines Menace.
After a successful youth soccer career, Smir was a top recruit after spending time with the U.S. Under-18 national team. After choosing the Tar Heels, Smir was thrown to the fire in his freshman season after the starting goalkeeper was injured. After redshirting his sophomore year, he took over as the full-time starter for the next three seasons.
This past fall, in his final season at Chapel Hill, Smir started every game for UNC, playing in all but 18 minutes. He finished with a 1.03 goals against average, which ranked third in the ACC, along with a conference-leading 10 shutouts (ranked fourth nationally). Smir was named a Second-Team All-Region selection and a First-Team All-ACC selection. He is also one of two players in UNC history to earn double digit clean sheets in back-to-back seasons.
Smir becomes the eighth goalkeeper to play for Ocean City and be drafted by an MLS team, joining players like Tyler Miller (Minnesota United) and Logan Ketterer (El Paso Locomotive).