Despite some last minute deal-making, FC Cincinnati held onto its No. 1 pick in Friday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The team's first MLS college draft selection is Frankie Amaya, a midfielder from UCLA.
The 18-year-old made 14 appearances for the Bruins in 2018. He's also part of the US Soccer Under-20 national team pool and signed a 2019 Generation Adidas* contract, making him eligible to be drafted this year.
Speaking to a crowd at the Chicago event, Amaya said he's just a kid from Santa Ana, Calif.
"I never really believed in talent," he said. "I've worked hard my whole life, that's what got me to this point. Without all this hard work I wouldn't be where I am right now, nobody in this room would know who I am.
"I want to thank FC Cincinnati for believing in me and taking the chance."
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) January 11, 2019
Tension was high as the SuperDraft began Friday afternoon. FC Cincinnati officials talked with Los Angeles FC representatives several times as they prepared to make the first selection. General Manager Jeff Berding used the team's only timeout to buy a little extra time while discussions continued about possibly trading the first pick to LAFC.
FC Cincinnati had 10 first and second round draft selections. The team choose:
- Frankie Amaya, a midfielder from UCLA (1st overall)
- Logan Gdula, a defender from Wake Forest (13th overall)
- The 16th and 25th overall picks traded to New York Red Bulls for $100,000 in general allocation money. (16th overall)
- The 16th and 25th overall picks traded to New York Red Bulls for $100,000 in general allocation money. (25th overall)
- Tommy McCabe, a midfielder from Notre Dame (29th overall)
- Jimmy Hague, a goalkeeper from Michigan State (30th overall)
- Ben Lundt, a goalkeeper from Akron (37th overall)
*Generation Adidas is a joint venture between the league and the athletic company where younger players sign MLS contracts before the draft and their salaries don't count against a team's budget. The goal is to develop young talent.