LAUDERHILL, Fla. -- As he contemplated the possibility of leaving the University of Akron after his junior season, Blair Gavin consulted the best resource he had: His brother.
Michael Gavin knew the challenges his brother would face if he decided to pursue his professional career. Michael, the fourth overall pick in the 2008 Supplemental Draft, spent one season with Los Angeles after a distinguished career at the University of Portland. Michael played in two games for the Galaxy in 2008 before he was released in early 2009.
"He's my big brother," Gavin said. "I've always looked up to him. I talked to him about his time (with the Galaxy) and how things went for him. He had a really tough go of it, but he learned a lot. He explained that to me and he helped me out."
Gavin, an IMG Academy product and a former U.S. U-18 national team midfielder, weighed the pros and cons of leaving school early. In the end, he felt the lure of a Generation adidas contract was too tempting to resist.
"It was obviously a very tough decision," said Gavin, who also noted that he chatted with Seattle Sounders FC forward Steve Zakuani, Akron coach and former San Jose and Tampa midfielder Caleb Porter and other former Zips about making the leap.
"I loved Akron. I loved the place, the program and all of my teammates. I feel like I have long-lasting relationships with all of them. But my dream when I was a kid was to play as a pro. Once the opportunity came and a great opportunity at that, I couldn't pass it up."
Now that he is ready to embark on the first steps of his professional career, Gavin said he will continue to lean on his brother to help him through the tough times as he figures out how to carves out his place in MLS.
"Every little piece helps as you're trying to figure out what you need to do," Gavin said. "All of that information helps you out and improves your game at the next level."