Fire Select Six Players in 2008 MLS SuperDraft
BALTIMORE, Md. (Jan. 18, 2008) - The Chicago Fire was among 14 teams taking part in today's 2008 MLS SuperDraft, which for the sixth consecutive year was held in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center.
With its first selection, the Fire took Virginia Tech University forward Patrick Nyarko in the first round as the seventh overall draft pick. The 2007 NSCAA All-American First Team selection scored 31 goals and notched 24 assists in 57 games played (48 starts) for the "Hokies" throughout his three seasons. The six-foot native of Ghana was selected to the NSCAA All-South Atlantic Second Team in 2006 and was named ACC Freshman of the Year in 2005. The 22-year-old scoring threat was also a three-time First Team All-ACC selection (2007, 2006, 2005). Nyarko will count as an international on the Fire's 28 man roster.
"I feel, from watching him through his years at Virginia Tech and the MLS Combine, that he brings some different qualities," said Fire head coach Denis Hamlett. "With his passing and his ability to see the situations, we think he has the complete package. We felt he was the number one forward available and we're happy to add him into our lineup."
The Fire selected University of Tulsa goalkeeper Dominic Cervi as its second pick in the first round, the 12th selection overall. The six-foot, six-inch goalkeeper appeared in 13 games during his rookie season for Tulsa in 2004 and developed through his next two seasons, earning a starting role his senior season. In 2007, Cervi posted 81 saves and 21 goals against for the Golden Hurricane posting a goals-against-average of 1.11. As a senior, Cervi earned All-Conference USA first team and NSCAA All-Midwest Region Second Team honors, while also being named a member of the Conference USA All-tournament team.
"With our current goalkeeper situation, we felt we needed to protect ourselves for the future," said Hamlett. "He played very well in the first few days of the Combine, was very commanding of his back line, and was very comfortable with the ball at his feet. Obviously he did well enough to draw interest from the U-23 U.S team for their Olympic qualifying process, so we're sure this was a good decision."
The Fire continued to add to their attack in the second round, selecting Santa Clara University midfielder/forward Peter Lowry with the 26th overall pick. A Hermann Trophy semifinalist and NSCAA All American Fire Team selection in 2007, Lowry took home the 2007 West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year award. Lowry tallied 22 goals and 15 assists in 87 games played (83 starts) overall across four seasons at Santa Clara. A team captain for the "Broncos" in 2006 and 2007, Lowry was a four-time All WCC team member (2007, 2006, 2005, 2004) and has been a part of both the U-18 Men's National Team pool (2002) and U-23 U.S. Olympic Pool (2007).
Chicago made two offensive selections in the third round, taking Lynn University forward Dwight Barnett (38th overall) and University of Maryland midfielder Stephen King (40th overall). Barnett was the first "Fighting Knight" to be selected Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Offensive Player of the Year (2007). The Jamaica, N.Y., native established season career-highs in 2007 for 14 goals, nine assists, and 31 points, finishing second in the SSC in each category. King, a four-year senior at Maryland, notched 30 goals and 33 assists while remarkably starting in all 93 games played for the "Terrapins". King was selected to the 2007 NSCAA All-American Third Team and is a former U.S. U-16 and U-23 National Team member.
The Fire made its last selection in the fourth round, taking Gonzaga University defender Austin Washington as the 54th overall pick. The six-foot Washington was a two-year starter for the "Bulldogs" after transferring from Whitworth College.
Patrick Nyarko - 7th Overall (First Round)
Born: Jan. 15, 1986 (22)
Height: 6-0 Weight: 165
College: Virginia Tech University
Hometown: Kumasi, Ghana
Misc.: Last name is pronounced nee-yah-koh ... Majored in Psychology at Virginia Tech ... Attended Opoku Ware High School in Kumasi, Ghana ... Played for club team Kaaseman FC.
Dominic Cervi - 12th overall (First Round) Position: Goalkeeper Born: July 09, 1986 (21) Height: 6-6 Weight: 205 College: University of Tulsa Hometown: Norman, Okla. Citizenship: USA
Misc: Currently training with the U.S. U-23 Olympic team ... Played for club team Norman Celtic 86 ... Was Oklahoman Defensive Player of the Year (2004, 2003) and was a Conference Defensive MVP in basketball (2004).
Peter Lowry - 26th overall (Second Round)
Born: Oct. 2, 1985 (22)
Height: 5-11 Weight: 165
College: Santa Clara University
Hometown: Fair Oaks, Calif.
Misc.: Won a National Championship with San Juan Soccer Club in 2003 ... Played for Irvine Strikers Soccer Club ... Attended Bella Vista High School, in California.
Dwight Barnett - 38th overall (Third Round)
Born: March 1, 1982 (25)
Height: 6-1 Weight: 180
College: Lynn University
Hometown: Jamaica, N.Y.
Misc.: Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica and holds a U.S. Green Card ... Son of Norris Barnett and Valrie Knox ... Business administration major ... Played for Herkimer County Community College his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Stephen King - 40th overall (Third Round)
Born: March 6, 1986 (21)
Height: 5-8 Weight: 153
College: University of Maryland
Hometown: Medford, N.J.
Misc.: Played for club team FC Delco ... Attended Shawnee High School ... Has played with the U-16 and U-23 U.S. National Teams.
Austin Washington - 54th overall (Fourth Round)
Born: Sept. 26, 1985 (22)
Height: 6-0 Weight: N/A
College: Gonzaga University
Hometown: Spokane, Wash.
Misc.: Played for Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash. his freshman season ... Attended Ferris High School in Spokane.
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