Nine ACC Players Selected in MLS Superdraft

ACC leads with five taken in first round

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nine ACC men’s soccer players were taken in Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Thursday afternoon. The nine ACC players taken in the first two rounds and the five selected in the first round both were the most from any conference.

Notre Dame’s Nick Besler (Portland Timbers, 5th pick), Syracuse’s Alex Bono (Toronto FC, 6th), and NC State’s Clément Simonin (Toronto FC, 9th) gave the league three top-10 picks, and all three players stand as the highest draft picks in their respective programs’ histories.

Syracuse’s Skylar Thomas (Toronto FC, 11th) and Clemson’s Amadou Dia (Sporting Kansas City, 20th) rounded out the league contingent in the first round.

With those selections, the ACC has produced at least two first round picks every year in the 20 years of the MLS draft, and has had at least three in each of the past seven season. The five first round picks is tied for the third most in league history, behind six players league players taken in 2007 and 2010.

NC State’s Conor Donovan (Orlando City FC, 22nd) was taken with the first pick of the second round, and was followed by North Carolina’s Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake, 27th) and Rob Lovejoy (Houston Dynamo, 36th), and Virginia’s Eric Bird (Philadelphia Union, 41st). 

Bono and Donovan had signed Generation adidas contracts with MLS last week.

In addition to the nine players drafted on Thursday, Duke’s Sean Davis and Clemson’s Phanuel Kavita signed as MLS Homegrown Players with the New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake, respectively.

The third and fourth rounds of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

MLS SuperDraft

First Round

Portland Timbers (5) Nick Besler, Notre Dame
Toronto FC (6) Alex Bono*, Syracuse
Toronto FC (9) Clément Simonin, NC State
Toronto FC (11) Skylar Thomas, Syracuse
Sporting Kansas City (20) Amadou Dia, Clemson

Second Round

Orlando City SC (22) Conor Donovan*, NC State
Real Salt Lake (27) Boyd Okwuonu, North Carolina
Houston Dynamo (36) Rob Lovejoy, North Carolina
Philadelphia Union (41) Eric Bird , Virginia

(#) Pick number
* Generation adidas