After excelling at the 2017 Major League Soccer Players Combine, senior Jake Nerwinski was taken seventh overall by Vancouver Whitecaps, while fellow senior and Co-captain Kwame Awuah was taken 16th overall by New York City FC in the 2017 MLS Superdraft. Both players were integral parts of the 11-7-1 2016 UConn Huskies.
Since the start of the MLS Superdraft in 1997, 36 Huskies have been selected, as Nerwinski and Awuah become the 13th and 14th to be selected in the first round. This is the fourth time that UConn has had two players selected in the first round and the first time since 2015.
In the aforementioned players combine, Nerwinski finished in the top five in all three performance tests, as he was one of just two players to finish in the top five in all the tests. Nerwinski finished first in the 30 meter dash, tied for second in the vertical jump and finished fourth in the shuttle drill.
Nerwinski will have his work cut out for him this season as the Whitecaps went 10-15-9 last season and finished in eighth place out of 10 in the western conference. Last season Vancouver was led in goalsby midfielder Pedro Morales with nine. Vancouver selected defender Francis de Vries from St. Francis University in the second round with the 29th overall pick.
Awuah will be joining the second place NYCFC who are led by European legend David Villa. Last season, NYCFC were knocked out in the conference semifinals to eventual runner-up Toronto FC. Following a trade with Chicago, NYCFC also drafted forward Johnathon Lewis from Akron with the third pick of the draft.
The first overall selection was forward Abu Danladi from UCLA by Minnesota United who is a new expansion team this year. Atlanta United FC is also joining the MLS this season and selected defender Miles Robinson from Syracuse with the second overall pick.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.