University of Akron forward lead the nation in goals and point as a sophomore in 2008

Seattle Sounders FC made its first-ever draft pick Thursday morning, selecting University of Akron forward Steve Zakuani with the first overall pick of the 2009 Major League Soccer SuperDraft in St. Louis.

Zakuani, a 20-year-old under classmen who signed an MLS contract before his college eligibility was complete, was born in the Congo in Central Africa before moving to England at age 4. He played for the Arsenal youth team there before an ACL injury in 2003 ended his opportunity to advance through that club’s system. He landed in Akron when a scout noticed him.

Zakuani led the nation in goals and points as a sophomore in 2008, scoring 20 goals and seven assists in 23 games for the Zips.

“I’m excited. It’s an honor for me and a dream come true as well,” Zakuani said after being selected. “I’m so happy to be going here [to Seattle] and playing for Coach [Sigi] Schmid.”

Zakuani said he’d been telling people he wanted to come to Seattle because of the excitement building for the expansion MLS franchise. That was after he decided to sign with MLS as a Generation Adidas player — a player with college eligibility remaining who is identified by MLS as an elite talent and thus draftable.

Zakuani weighed options to play in Europe until choosing MLS at the end of last month.