PHILADELPHIA — Former Connecticut forward Cyle Larin helped the UConn men’s soccer program make history on Thursday after he was selected No. 1 overall by Orlando City SC in this year’s MLS SuperDraft.
With Orlando City’s selection of Larin, Connecticut became the first program to have back-to-back top overall picks in the SuperDraft, which began in 1997. Former UConn keeper Andre Blake was taken by the Philadelphia Union with the top pick in last year’s draft after spending three seasons in Storrs under men’s soccer coach Ray Reid.
|2015 MLS SUPERDRAFT FIRST ROUND|
|1||Cyle Larin||Connecticut||Orlando City|
|2||Khiry Shelton||Oregon State||NYCFC|
|4||Fatai Alashe||Michigan State||San Jose|
|5||Nick Besler||Notre Dame||Portland|
|6||Alex Bono||Syracuse||Toronto FC|
|9||Clement Simonin||NC State||Toronto FC|
|10||Connor Hallisey||California||Sporting KC|
|11||Skylar Thomas||Syracuse||Toronto FC|
|12||Saad Abdul-Salaam||Akron||Sporting KC|
|13||Tim Parker||St. John’s||Vancouver|
|15||Otis Earle||UC Riverside||FC Dallas|
|17||Miguel Aguilar||San Francisco||DC United|
|20||Amadou Dia||Clemson||Sporting KC|
|21||Ignacio Maganto||Iona||LA Galaxy|
Forward Khiry Shelton of Oregon State was picked second overall by New York City FC. He was followed by Romario Williams, a forward from UCF, who went to the Montreal Impact.
Larin, who totaled 52 points on 23 goals and six assists in two seasons at UConn, joins Blake and Chris Gbandi as the other Huskies to be selected No. 1 overall. Connecticut’s three top picks rank second all-time among Division I schools.
The Canadian striker is the third UConn player to be picked in the top two of the SuperDraft in the last three years. Former Connecticut midfielder Carlos Alvarez was drafted No. 2 overall by Chivas USA in 2013 after finishing his UConn career with 42 assists, the third-highest total in program history. Alvarez, who is now a member of the Colorado Rapids, has played in 50 games in the MLS, totaling four assists and two goals.
“With Cyle going No. 1, we have now had a very high pick in each of the last three drafts,” Reid said. “It’s a testament to our program, and it really says something about the kind of players we’ve attracted to come play at UConn and their commitment to the game.”
Defender Sergio Campbell (Clarendon, Jamaica) was also selected in Thursday’s draft, as he was picked by the Columbus Crew with the No. 19 overall pick. The UConn senior captain becomes the 34th Husky to be selected in the MLS Draft.
Larin shined in his two seasons at Storrs, leading the Huskies in points as a freshman and a sophomore. He earned American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year honors in 2013 after finishing first in the league in total goals (14) and total points (31). He ended his freshman campaign with a team-best five game-winners to go along with three assists.
This past season, Larin took home another major conference award after being named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. He ranked first among conference players in game-winners (three), goals per game (0.56) and points per game (1.31), and he was second in the league with nine total goals. His 0.56 goals per game ranked 21st among Division I players, and his 1.31 points per game was the 28th-best mark nationally.