Galaxy Select Eight Players at 2004 MLS SuperDraft
With the third overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Los Angeles Galaxy selected Coastal Carolina University midfielder/forward Joseph Ngwenya. A native of Zimbabwe, Ngwenya is one eight players selected by the Galaxy at the league's annual draft.
"I certainly feel good about what we were able to accomplish today," said Galaxy VP/GM Doug Hamilton. "We thought going into this draft that it was a time for us to be brave, a chance for us to really go after kids that we thought could make a difference in our club."
The 22 year-old Ngwenya, a 6-1, 175-pound attacking presence comes to Los Angeles after leading the nation in scoring in 2003 as a collegiate senior, amassing 21 goals and 14 assists for a total of 56 points.
"I would like to take this opportunity to first thank God, for everything, without him I wouldn't be here today in front of you. I would also like to thank Coastal Carolina University, my coach there, the players, everyone who has supported me for the last four years," Ngwenya said. "I would also like to the Galaxy coaches for keeping faith in me, I hope to return the favor when the season starts. I look forward to playing in MLS, it is a great opportunity for me."
The two-time first-team Academic All-American was also named the Big South Conference Player of the Year and the Big South Tournament Most Valuable Player during his final collegiate campaign.
A semifinalist for the M.A.C Hermann Trophy, the Zimbabwe youth international tallied eight game-winning goals as a senior. He twice was named to the Soccer America and College Soccer News Teams of the Week for his performances at the Bradley Classic and Nike/Clemson Invitational, earning MVP honors at both tournaments.
Ngwenya also had a stellar 2002 season with the Chanticleers, placing at the top of the list of collegiate scorers with 27 goals and nine assists for 63 points. His play earned second team All-American honors as well as the Big South Conference Male Athlete of the Year Award.
His 66 career goals, 164 points and 296 shots are Coastal Carolina records.
With their second round selection, number 13 overall, the Galaxy picked University of Cincinnati's Josh Gardner, a 5-11, 150 pound midfielder originally from Houston, Texas. The 21-year-old midfielder and member of the Nike Project-40 program will be called upon to add some spark to the Galaxy attack. Gardner played in 20 games for the Bearcats in 2003 and led the side with six assists and contributed six goals.
"It's very exciting to be able to go to LA," Gardner said. "I never thought I would be leaving school early to enter the draft, but with a lot of counsel from people that I respect, they said ' I'm ready' and I am."
After trading for the 14th overall pick from the Chicago Fire, the Galaxy used that selection on Indiana University midfielder Ned Grabavoy, a member of the Project-40 program. In return, the Galaxy will send a first round pick in the 2005 SuperDraft to the Fire.
Grabavoy, 20, was named to the NSCAA All-America team and was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team as a junior while leading the National Champion Hoosiers with 11 goals and 11 assists for 33 points in 2003. He played in 21 games, earning the start in 20 of them.
As a sophomore in 2002, the New Lennox, Illinois native scored six goals and added seven assists in just 16 matches while splitting his time between the Hoosiers and the U.S. Under-20 side. Despite missing much of the collegiate season with national duties, his performance was good enough to earn him a unanimous All-Big Ten selection and a place on the NSCAA All-American second team.
"It's just going to be nice," Grabavoy said. "First, coming back from the (Youth) World Cup, then a college national title and now a chance to join the Galaxy; It's all worked out. Hopefully, I'll be able to help this team be successful next year."
Picking second in the third round, Los Angeles chose midfielder Guillermo Arzate from the UC Santa Barbara with the 22nd overall pick. He was Big West Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2003. He is a native of Torrance and presently resides in Hawaiian Gardens.
"I am excited and really happy about being given the chance to be playing close to home," said Arzate. "Not a lot of people get the chance to play for their hometown team; there are ten teams in this league, I could have gone to any one of them. Instead, I get the opportunity to not have to go away to try and make it as a pro."
Arzate compiled 18 assists in each of the 2002 and 2003 seasons, tying a Big West Conference and UCSB record. In addition, his .837 career assists per game average ranks sixth best in NCAA history.
With their lone fourth round pick, number 33 overall, the Galaxy chose Arzate's UC-Santa Barbara teammate, midfielder David McGill. A native of Dublin, Ireland, the 22-year-old McGill, an All-Big West Conference first team choice, was second to Azrate on the Gauchos in assists during the 2002 season with 15.
With their three remaining selections, the Galaxy picked Oakland (Michigan) University defender Jason Perry 43rd overall, Oregon State forward Alan Gordon 53rd overall and Syracuse University defender Chris Aloisi 57th overall.
Los Angeles Galaxy tickets are now on sale for the 2004 season at The Home Depot Center, who open their ninth season in MLS with a match against the New England Revolution at 7 pm (PT) on Saturday April 3, 2004. For more information or to purchase your 2004 Los Angeles Galaxy season tickets, please call toll-free 1-877-3GALAXY.
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