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Jan. 12, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Duke forward Andrew Wenger was the No. 1 overall selection in Thursday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft at Kansas City, Mo., and three other Atlantic Coast Conference players were chosen among the first 17.
Wenger went No. 1 to the Montreal Impact, while Maryland forward Casey Townsend went as the fifth overall selection to Chivas USA. The first round also saw defender Matt Hedges of NCAA champion North Carolina go 11th overall to FC Dallas, while UNC midfielder Enzo Martinez was taken 17th by Real Salt Lake.
A total of five ACC players were among the 38 taken in Thursday's two-round draft. Virginia's Hunter Jumper was a second-round pick of the Chicago Fire (28th overall).
Wenger, who received the 2011 MAC Hermann Trophy as the top player in men's college soccer, led the ACC with 17 goals and 42 points overall and ranked fourth nationally in total points and sixth in total goals. A starter in every game for the Blue Devils over the past three years, Wenger has earned nearly every ACC award possible. He was selected the 2011 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, after being named the ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Maryland's Townsend became the eighth Maryland player to be selected among the first five selections of the MLS draft. Townsend was named an NSCAA Second Team All-American and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist this season while garnering first team All-ACC honors for the second straight year. Townsend, a four-year starter, is tied for third on Maryland's all-time scoring list with 43 goals and is also tied for sixth in Maryland single-season scoring with 17 in 2011.
North Carolina's Hedges is a three-time conference Defensive Player of the Year. Hedges earned the ACC honor in 2011 after transferring from Butler, where he was the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Hedges anchored a defense that allowed the 11th fewest goals in the nation last season and posted 12 shutouts.
Martinez earned first-team NSCAA All-America honors in 2011 and was a third-team selection in 2010. The Rock Hill, S.C., native earned College Cup All-Tournament plaudits for his play during UNC's run to the title. He finished the season with nine goals and 11 assists.
Jumper started 17 games in 2011 and finished his Virginia career with 79 starts. Jumper was named to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team in 2011 and also earned a spot on the ACC Championship's All-Tournament Team for the third straight year.
In addition to the ACC players taken in Thursday's draft, North Carolina junior Ben Speas signed a homegrown contract with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday. Speas, the 2011 Soccer America National Player of the Year, was voted the MVP of the 2011 ACC Championship and was the Offensive MVP of the Men's College Cup.