January 13, 2011 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. -The Portland Timbers today selected midfielder/forward and Hermann Trophy winner Darlington Nagbe from the University of Akron with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md.
Additionally, the Timbers selected defender Chris Taylor from the University of Tulsa in the second round (No. 22 overall) to round out the club's first MLS draft class.
"The experience has been exhausting, but everyone has loved doing what we've done," said Timbers technical director/general manager Gavin Wilkinson. "To come out with what we have makes all of the hard work worthwhile. Nagbe could be a player that we think has the ability to become the face of the organization in years to come, if not sooner. I think that for the organization, it's been a very, very good day."
"It's been a great draft," said Timbers head coach John Spencer. "We picked up, in our eyes, probably the best young player in the country in Darlington Nagbe. We all put in a tremendous amount of work in this and came together and tried to study right and do our due diligence on these players. We got the guys we were looking for and we're really, really happy."
The Timbers entered the SuperDraft with the No. 2 overall selection and a pair of second-round picks. In draft-day trades, the Timbers acquired the No. 11 overall pick and an international roster slot for the 2011 season from Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for the No. 20 overall pick and allocation money. Portland then traded the No. 11 overall pick to the Houston Dynamo for allocation money.
A member of Generation adidas, Nagbe, 20, was a standout at Akron, leading the Zips to the NCAA national championship and compiling seven goals and a career-high 13 assists as a junior in 2010. He won the 2010 Hermann Trophy award, considered the most prestigious honor in collegiate soccer as the NSCAA Player of the Year award for Division I. Among his many accolades in 2010, Nagbe was named the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Player of the Year and a NSCAA First Team All-American.
Nagbe, a native of Lakewood, Ohio, compiled 19 goals and 19 assists in 73 matches during his three collegiate seasons. He led Akron to three straight MAC Tournament titles (2008-10) and an appearance in the NCAA Men's College Cup finals in 2009. Nagbe, a three-time All-MAC first-team selection, tallied 10 goals in 25 games during his sophomore season in 2009, and received NSCAA All-America honors. He was awarded the 2008 MAC Newcomer of the Year following his freshman season in 2008.
Taylor, 21, started 82 games during his collegiate career at the University of Tulsa and totaled eight goals and 17 assists. A native of Edmond, Okla., he was a four-time All-Conference USA honoree and helped the Golden Hurricane to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Taylor recorded four assists and a goal in 17 matches during his senior season in 2010, leading Tulsa to the C-USA Tournament finals and a berth in the national tournament. In 2009, he ranked third in the conference with seven assists and garnered C-USA All-Tournament Team accolades. During his collegiate career, he was named to the NSCAA All-Midwest Region Second Team in three consecutive seasons (2008-10).
"Chris is a young left back," said Spencer. "He had a very good combine; good athleticism and looks to get forward. He looked to have a good engine."
The 2011 SuperDraft consisted of three rounds, with a total of 54 players selected. Through the Expansion Priority Draft, Vancouver Whitecaps FC held the No. 1 overall pick and selected forward Omar Salgado; Portland was awarded the second-overall selection. The Timbers third-round pick was traded to the New York Red Bulls for midfielder Jeremy Hall on Nov. 22, 2010.
Timbers 2011 MLS SuperDraft Selections:
Born: July 19, 1990
Hometown: Lakewood, Ohio
Last Club: University of Akron
College: University of Akron
Citizenship: United States
Born: May 12, 1989
Hometown: Edmond, Okla.
Last Club: University of Tulsa
College: University of Tulsa
Citizenship: United States