University of New Mexico men’s soccer player Alex Vedamanikam has signed a pro contract with Eintracht Braunschweig of the Second Bundesliga in Germany, UNM announced Monday. Vedamanikam, a native of Albuquerque, had just completed his freshman season with the Lobos and will depart the team immediately.
Vedamanikam appeared in 16 games, making a total of seven starts for the Lobos last fall, scoring once and assisting on two goals. Prior to joining the Lobos, he played three years with the Real Salt Lake Academy, scoring 45 goals adding 17 assists. He also had the opportunity to compete in a U.S. Men’s National Team U18 camp in January 2016. A freshman at the time, Vedamanikam was expected to have an impact on the Lobos in the future.
"I am really excited for Alex that he is following his dream," UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said in a release. "We're going to miss him. He was a tremendous teammate and was a big part of our plans as a team moving forward. This is an outstanding opportunity which he felt he couldn't pass up. Alex is an excellent student, and his family values education. He will keep working toward a college degree, and I am confident that he is going to be a really successful man."
The Second Bundesliga is the second tier German league, with clubs competing for promotion to the Bundesliga, one of the highest quality and most well-known leagues in the world. Eintracht Braunschweig most recently competed in the Bundesliga during the 2013-14 season. The club nearly made a return last year but was eliminated in the promotion playoffs following the season. Currently, the team sits in 12th place with a record of 5-10-5 and 25 points, 15 points back of league leaders Fortuna Düsseldorf.
"This is an opportunity for me to continue with my dreams and goals in professional soccer," Vedamanikam said in a release. "My time at UNM has been very special to me. I was born and raised in Albuquerque. I remember when I was little, I would go and watch the Lobo soccer team and wanted to play with them. Getting the opportunity to represent UNM and Albuquerque with the Lobos is something I will always cherish."
Fishbein says that the development system in Germany is incredible, and it serves as a fantastic opportunity for young American players to pursue their dreams in pro soccer.
A number of notable young American soccer players currently play in the Bundesliga, including Christian Pulisic at Borussia Dortmund and Weston McKennie at Schalke 04.
In the release, Vedamanikam took the time to thank his coaches at UNM.
"I want to thank God first and foremost for everything He has done in my life...I would like to thank my family, especially my dad, mom and brother, Joel, who are always there for me. I thank Coach Fishbein and the UNM coaching staff for the great opportunity they have given me to play for UNM. It was an honor to play for the Lobos in my hometown," Vedamanikam said.
Eintracht Braunschweig has not yet issued a release regarding the signing of Vedamanikam, but this story will be updated when one is available. Eintracht’s next match is Feb. 4 against 1. FC Kaiserslautern
Cameron Goeldner is a sports beat reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer and softball but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.