With SuperDraft returning to Philadelphia, it's a trip down memory lane for McInerney, Okugo

Union studs McInerney and Okugo reflect on 2010 SuperDraft

 

"With the seventh pick in the 2010 MLS Superdraft, Philadelphia Union select from Cobb Soccer Club a member of the U-17 national team, a member of the U-20 national team, and a member of Generation Adidas, Jack McInerney."

Hard to believe it's been four years since MLS commissioner Don Garber spoke those words at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

It was 2010 and the MLS SuperDraft was in Philadelphia ahead of the inaugural season of the league's latest franchise, the Philadelphia Union.

"I pretty much remember everything," said McInerney of his draft experience. "I think the one thing that stands out to me, our year, the draft was in Philly, and it was the first year that we were a club. I remember the Sons of Ben being there and being so loud. I wasn't really expecting to end up here, and then it happened. To be drafted by the same city where the draft was located, it was pretty special."

The SuperDraft returns to Philadelphia on Thursday, Jan. 16, providing a new class of players the same opportunity that McInerney and his peers experienced in 2010.

"It happened so fast. I remember going to the combine," Jack said. "My immediate family was at the draft, my parents and my sisters. I flew in from the combine and they flew in from Atlanta. We were all there and we just kind of took it all in. I remember after we were drafted by Philly we went to a bunch of different pubs and places, and all of the supporters were there. I remember my family coming and remember it being a good time."

Union defender Amobi Okugo was drafted No, 6 overall, exactly one spot in front of McInerney.

He described the experience as a whirlwind, but had plenty of his people on hand.

"I was just keeping it easy with the family," said Okugo of his draft preparations. "Everybody came except my one brother, who was playing basketball at the time. But both of my parents, my youngest sister and my youngest brother, they all came. My best friend and his older brother were there.  I had everyone that I needed to have there basically. I was nervous but not nervous at the same time."

Philadelphia enters the draft with high expectations. As it stood at the time of this article, the club held eight total selections, and two picks inside the top 10. It puts the Union in the spotlight, on home soil once again in front of its most faithful supporters.

For prospective draftees, it's about seeing your dreams realized on a national stage. Then, almost immediately, it's a quick transition to training camp and the professional game. 

"As a rookie people are looking at you, especially if you were taken in the SuperDraft, to make a difference right away," said Okugo. "Be patient, do the right things, say the right things. Try to find a way to stand out as best you can and do well."

"I would just tell them to take it all in," McInerney said. "It's only going to happen once and it's something you're going to remember for the rest of your life. Take it all in and enjoy the moment. Be proud of yourself, but know that you've got a long way to go." 

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com