"You have to bide your time. Eventually, you're going to get there," he said. "Everybody's on a different track, but you'll get there - if you're dedicated enough."
Drafted in the second round of the MLS Supplemental Draft, he became the third MU player so honored (Byron Carmichael, Kansas City Wizards, 2003; Jeremy Ashe, Chicago Fire, 2006). The Crew is a good fit, both in location and reputation in American soccer circles.
It is one of the league's charter franchises with the oldest soccer-specific stadium, site of World Cup qualifiers from time to time (Sept. 10 vs. Mexico this year).
"It was perfect," he said last week. "If I had to draw it up and say, 'This is exactly where I want to be,' Columbus would be in play. I mean, four hours away from home, just a couple hours away from Charleston and a couple of hours away from Huntington, it went down really nicely."
His challenge now is to get on the field. Four matches into the new season, Withrow is the team's No. 3 keeper, thus awaiting his pro debut.
"It's definitely a battle," he said. "A team at this level is going to have two or three guys well-established, within the team. Right now, we have a great starter in Andy [Gruenebaum] and a solid backup in Matt [Lampson]. I knew that going in, but I'm not just going to walk on the field; there's going to be time.
"I'm going to have to play my dues, so to speak, before I get my chance to play."
Straily was brought up by the Oakland Athletics for seven starts over two different stints last summer, going 2-1 with a 3.89 earned-run average in 391/3 innings with 16 walks and 32 strikeouts. One knock: Eleven of his 19 runs allowed were batters scoring on home runs.
He is not faring as well this spring, going 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA in five starts, 132/3 innings. His other problem may be the depth of the team's roster, and at least one analyst has him losing out to A.J. Griffin for the No. 5 spot.
That could have Straily starting the season down the road in Triple-A Sacramento, but we'll see.
With that, we're a day away from seeing if Thundering Herd coordinator Chuck Heater can warm up a defense.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.