Union Pick Six in SuperDraft
The 2010 MLS SuperDraft has come and gone, and Philadelphia Union supporters were treated to some fireworks with two pre-draft deals that yielded Brazilian midfielder Fred and three of the top seven picks in today’s SuperDraft. In the end, the club picked up an incredibly strong crop of talent, drafting Danny Mwanga, Amobi Okugo, Jack McInerney, Toni Stahl, Kyle Nakazawa and Brian Perk.
Philadelphia Union selected Danny Mwanga from Oregon State University with the first overall selection in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. Mwanga, an 18 year old sophomore striker, comes to Philadelphia Union with an impressive track record in the Pac-10 conference, winning PAC-10 Freshman of the Year in 2008 and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. In only his second season with OSU, Philadelphia Union’s first selection in the MLS SuperDraft led his conference in multiple offensive categories including goals scored (14), points per game (1.67), goals per game (0.78) and game-winning goals (5). As a Generation adidas signee, the 6-foot-2 Mwanga will not count against Philadelphia Union’s salary cap.
The 6-foot-2 forward’s college success shouldn’t be seen as much of a surprise after Mwanga scored an astonishing 53 goals in 9 games at Jefferson High School in North Portland. Impressively, Mwanga’s vision, dribbling and passing ability are thought to rival his scoring aptitude. While in high school, the striker also led Westside Metros International to two consecutive state championships, played with Real Salt Lake’s U18 squad in the World Youth Championships in Spain, and was named to the adidas ESP All-Star Team in 2007.
Amobi Okugo, an 18 year old midfielder from Sacramento, CA, comes to Philadelphia Union from UCLA as the #6 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. A two-time Parade All-American in high school, he earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors this past season as a freshman. Okugo played with the U-20 MNT at the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championships and with the U-18 MNT at the 2009 Australian Youth Festival, scoring two goals in three games. Okugo was a member of the U.S. Soccer Residency Program from the Fall 2006 through the Fall 2007 semester. Okugo is also a Generation adidas signee.
Jack McInerney, a 17 year old forward from Alpharetta, GA, joins Philadelphia Union from Cobb Soccer Club as the #7 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. McInerney appeared in all four games for the U.S. in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scoring two goals and helping the squad to the Round of 16. He was a member of the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency program since the Fall of 2007. McInerney is yet another Generation adidas signee, giving Philadelphia Union three draft picks who won’t count against the club’s salary cap.
Toni Stahl, a 24 year old midfielder from Tuusula, Finland, comes to Philadelphia Union from UCONN as the #17 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, the first pick of the second round. Stahl began his playing career in the HJK helping the U17 squad to 2001 and 2002 National Championships. He joined UCONN in 2006 and earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Year honors that same year. He was named to the All-BIG EAST first-team in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and added BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year and second-team All-American honors to his resume in 2009.
Kyle Nakazawa, a 21 year old midfielder from Palos Verdes Estates, CA, joins Philadelphia Union from UCLA along with college teammates Okugo and Perk. Nakazawa was a 2009 semifinalist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, First-team NSCAA All-American and All-Far West, First-team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic honoree. Nakazawa finished the season leading the Pac-10 in points (31), and ranked second in goals scored (12) and points per game (1.55). The midfielder was in the U.S. Under-20 National Team pool, as well as a member of the U.S. U-17 residency program and starter on the U-17 Team that placed fifth at the FIFA World Youth Championships in 2005, where he scored two goals with one assist in four games at the WYC. Nakazawa led all U-17 players in 2005 in assists (13) and games started (37 of 38) and ranked fourth with 10 goals.
Brian Perk, a 20 year old goalkeeper from Yorba Linda, CA, comes to Philadelphia Union from UCLA as the third Bruin selected by the expansion club. Perk was voted a second-team NSCAA All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 honoree in 2009, as well as Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Season first team selection. The ‘keeper led the Pac-10 in goals against average (0.87) and recorded four shutouts and 53 saves. His 241 career saves rank him fourth on UCLA's all-time list. Perk was also the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. at the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the 2009 CONCACAF Under-20.