Amaya drafted No. 1 by FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati selected Generation Adidas standout midfielder Frankie Amaya as the No. 1 pick in the MLS SuperDraft.
"I thought I was the overall best player. Not saying it in a cocky way, but a humble way," said Amaya, 18, of being the top pick Friday. " I worked so hard. I don't think anybody worked harder than me, so I think I deserve No. 1."
Amaya spent just one season playing at UCLA and is a U.S. Under-20 team member. He's likely will join the team for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland this year.
There had been some question as to whether Cincinnati would keep the first overall pick, but trade talks between club brass and Los Angeles FC exec John Thorrington fizzled on the draft room floor.
The San Jose Earthquakes chose former Virginia Commonwealth midfielder Siad Haji with their No. 2 overall pick. Haji, who signed a Generation Adidas contract last week, recorded seven goals and 18 assists in 37 total games over two years at VCU and started in all but two of those games. He also played with the U-20 U.S. national team last year.
"New city, and just ready to work hard, man," Haji said in an interview afterward. "I'm just excited about every opportunity that's given right now. I'm just excited to work hard, meet the new fans, meet the coaches. I'm just ready to get rolling, man."
Haji, who was 4 when he came to the United States, learned to play soccer as a child while living with his family in a refugee camp in Kenya. He was born in a camp near Nairobi after his parents fled war-torn Somalia.
Orlando City stayed local with the No. 3 overall selection, Santiago Patino. Patino, an Orlando native, played for Orlando's U-18 side during his senior year of high school before heading to Miami where he played four years for Florida International University.
"It's incredible," said Patino, who had originally hoped to be signed as a Homegrown Player but fell short of the year participation in the Lions' academy required to qualify. "They always have opened the doors for me. They always told me, ‘You're going to be a Homegrown,' and that's what I wanted at first. Things didn't work out, but I'm glad that happened now. ... I'm from Orlando and I can't wait to be there."
FC Dallas chose UNC-Charlotte center back Callum Montgomery with the fourth pick on Friday. Montgomery, a 21-year-old from Lantzville, B.C., was named Conference USA defender of the year, a first-team All-American and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy awarded to the NCAA player of the year.
The Colorado Rapids made a trade with the Chicago Fire in order to select forward Andre Shinyashiki with the fifth pick. Colorado gave up the 15th pick and $100,000 in general allocation money to secure the Brazil native, who set several records in his four years at the University of Denver. Shinyashiki, a first-team All-American, scored a UD record of 51 goals in 83 appearances (67 starts) and also holds school records for points (117), goals (51) and game-winning goals (19).
--Field Level Media
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