Major League Soccer’s expansion Cincinnati team selected UCLA midfielder Frankie Amaya with the No. 1 pick in the league’s SuperDraft on Friday.
Amaya, who has played for the U.S. under-20 team, made 10 starts in 14 appearances as a freshman with the Bruins last season. The 18-year-old had two goals and two assists and was named to the Pac-12 all-conference first team.
“I never really believed in talent. I’ve worked hard my whole life, that’s what got me to this point,” Amaya told the crowd at the draft in Chicago. “Without all this hard work I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Nobody in this room would know who I am.”
Cincinnati had 12 picks in Friday’s draft as the team builds a roster for its first MLS season. Cincinnati acquired five picks the day before in a trade with the Philadelphia Union for general allocation money.
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The San Jose Earthquakes used the second pick in the draft to select forward Siad Haji of VCU. He was named the Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year as a junior this season after scoring five goals with 10 assists.
With the third pick, Orlando City took Florida International senior forward Santiago Patino, who played for the club’s under-18 side when he was a senior at Freedom High in Orlando. His father, Milton, was a goalkeeper in the top Colombian division.
Orlando City had tried to sign Patino as a homegrown player, but the claim was reportedly denied because he had spent less than a year in the Lions’ academy.
Rounding out the top five, Dallas selected UNC-Charlotte senior Callum Montgomery, and the Colorado Rapids, who traded up for the pick, took Brazilian forward Andre Shinyashiki, who was the NCAA’s scoring leader last season with 28 goals for Denver.
Montgomery was one of three Canadians taken in the top 10. National team under-20 goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair went seventh to Minnesota United and Tajon Buchanan, who played at Syracuse, went to New England Revolution with the ninth pick.
The first two rounds of the draft were held Friday, with the third and fourth rounds held via conference call Monday. There were 48 players selected on the first day, out of 35 schools. Twelve countries were represented among the picks.
In a trade that was confirmed late in the afternoon, D.C. United acquired veteran goalkeeper Chris Seitz from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for second-round pick Andrew Samuels, a defender out of Maryland.
The league also announced that it renamed its annual Coach of the Year award to honor the late Sigi Schmid, the winningest coach in league history. Schmid died late last month in Los Angeles while he was awaiting a heart transplant. He was 65.