D.C. United Adds New Talent at 2004 MLS SuperDraft

January 16, 2004 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - D.C. United News Release

CHARLOTTE, NC (January 16, 2004) - D.C. United today drafted forward Freddy Adu and midfielders Kevin Ara, Josh Gros and Kevin Hudson in the 2004 Major League Soccer SuperDraft held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team will gather Monday, February 2nd to begin pre-season training in preparation for the 2004 MLS campaign.

“We’re very pleased with our selections in this year’s SuperDraft,” said United Technical Director Dave Kasper. “Obviously, we’re elated to have Freddy officially on board, but we’re also happy with the quality players we were able to obtain in the later rounds. We look forward to having our newest members join us for pre-season training.”

Selected with the first overall pick, Adu captured the international spotlight during last fall’s FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland, where he led the U.S. squad into the quarterfinals of the tournament. The 14-year-old phenom kicked off the tournament with a bang, netting a hat trick in a 6-1 victory over the Korea Republic in the team's opening match on Aug. 14. He followed that up with the game-winning goal vs. Sierra Leone three days later. His four goals ranked him second among the top goal scorers at the event.

The 5’8”, 140-pound striker later joined the U.S. U-20 National Team in November at the FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The late addition by Head Coach Thomas Rongen saw action in four of the team’s five tournament matches, starting the last three, in route to a fifth place finish for the Red, White and Blue, the country’s best result at the event since 1989. Adu tallied an assist on Bobby Convey’s 59th minute goal in a 2-1 overtime loss to Argentina in the quarterfinals.

United executed a trade to move up in the draft order, sending their natural second and third round selections in the 2005 SuperDraft to Kansas City in return for the Wizards’ 2004 third round pick (24th overall). With that pick, the Black-and-Red selected Ara from Harvard University. In 2003, the 21-year-old California native became the first Harvard player since 1998-1999 to earn back-to-back first team All-Ivy League Honors. He finished his 2003 season as Harvard’s second leading scorer with 14 points on five goals and four assists. In 2002, Ara led Harvard in scoring and finished third in the Ivy League. He went on to garner third team All-American, first team All-New England, and first team All-Ivy honors.

With the fourth pick in the fourth round (34th overall), United nabbed Gros from Rutgers University. Gros, 21, had a strong senior campaign in 2003 for the Scarlet Knights and earned Offensive Player of the Year honors for leading the Big East in points, points per game, and goals per game. He finished the season amassing 16 goals and five assists for 37 points. Gros was named the National Player of the Week by College Soccer News on September 22nd and was named to the All-Big East first team. He finished the 2003 season 10th in the Rutgers record book for points and goals in a season. Gros also totaled five game-winning goals during his senior campaign, which places him sixth on the Scarlet Knights single season record. In 2002, Gros was named Co-MVP as he tied for the team’s lead in goals with six for the season. In his freshman year, the rookie tied for the team’s lead in assists with seven while starting 15 of 19 games.

Hudson, a Southern Methodist University product, was chosen with the fourth pick in the fifth round (44th overall). The 21-year-old St. Louis, Missouri native was an important member of the Mustangs team where he posted five goals and two assists for 12 points and was selected to the 2003 NSCAA/adidas All-Midwest Region first team. Hudson, a 2003 CoSIDA Academic All-America first team selection, was also the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament MVP, a 2003 All-MVC first team selection, and was named to the CollegeSoccerNews.com National Team of the Week twice in 2003 (Sept. 14, Nov 17). In 2002, Hudson was an All-MVC second selection after totaling 11 points on four goals and three assists.

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