The two-time defending MLS Supporters' Shield-winning Columbus Crew today selected five players in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
The Crew began by utilizing its initial first-round selection (No. 8 overall) on Generation adidas midfielder Dilly Duka of Rutgers University. Moments later, the Black & Gold selected forward Bright Dike, a product of Notre Dame, with the second of its two first round picks (No. 12 overall). With the first of three fourth round picks, the Crew selected defender/midfielder Kwaku Nyamekye from Harvard Universtiy (No. 60 overall) and followed immediately with the selection of midfielder Othaniel Yanez from the University of Louisville (No. 61 overall). The Crew then rounded out its 2010 MLS SuperDraft with the selection of defender Shaun Francis (No. 63 overall), a product of Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.).
"I think it was a pretty successful draft for us," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. "It was important to take a Generation adidas player with the first pick and I think Duka is a very good, creative player. Dike is a big guy who is a real handful and I'm very happy we were able to get him. I'm also really happy about the last three picks, because I thought they'd all be gone earlier. They give us some depth and I have a feeling they're going give our guys some competition and fight for spots on the roster."
Duka, a 20-year old native of Montville, N.J., appeared in 36 games, with 35 starts, during his two seasons at Rutgers, while recording 10 goals and five assists in that time and was selected to the All-Big East Second Team in 2008. Duka's efforts earned him a call-up to the FIFA U-20 National Team camp in January 2009, and he made an immediate impression, scoring a goal and notching an assist in his first career international match against Jamaica on March 6, 2009. Duka continued to be a regular for the U.S. Under-20 squad throughout 2009 and in August he was named to the U.S. squad for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt. Although the U.S. failed to advance past the group stage of the competition, Duka played well, making three appearances, with two starts, while registering one goal, in a 4-1 victory over Cameroon on Sept. 29.
Due to his success in the U-20 World Cup, Duka made the decision to depart Rutgers prior to his junior season and instead decided to pursue opportunities overseas with offers from clubs in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark. However, Duka instead decided to sign a Generation adidas contract with Major League Soccer in November. As a Generation adidas signee, Duka's contract will not count against the Crew's salary cap.
"Today means everything to me," said Duka. "It shows that a lot of hard work paid off and I'm really happy to be going to Columbus. It's a great team, a great program, I hope to learn a lot and I'm really excited and I think it's going to be a great experience."
Dike (pronounced DEE-kay), a 22-year old native of Edmond, Okla., appeared in 86 games, with 38 starts in his four seasons at Notre Dame, while recording 27 goals and eight assists in that time. Dike picked up a number of accolades in his senior season with the Fighting Irish, included selections to the 2009 All-Big East first team, 2009 All-Great Lakes Region first team and the All-Big East Championship team after leading both his squad and the Big East in goals (12) and points (29). In addition, Dike was also selected twice to the Big East weekly honor roll in 2009 (Sept. 29 and Oct. 13).
"I'm just thanking God and all of my coaches who helped me get to this point," Dike said. "I've been waiting for this moment my whole life and it feels amazing. I couldn't be more excited."
Nyamekye (pronounced Nee-yah-MEE-chay), a 22-year old native of Geneva, Switzerland, appeared in 73 games, with 71 starts, while totaling 11 goals and six assists in his four-year career at Harvard. He was a three-time NSCAA All-Northeast Region selection and was voted to the All-Ivy League squad all four seasons of his career. Prior to his career with the Crimson, Nyamekye attended the International School of Geneva and was invited to play in the European International Schools Championship in 2004 and 2005, earning all-star status in 2005.
Yanez, a 22-year old native of Moreno Valley, Calif., appeared in 66 matches, with 63 starts, and tallied five goals and four assists in his four seasons at Louisville. Yanez was the Cardinals' team MVP in two of his four seasons on the squad, and was also named to the 2009 All-Big East Tournament team as a senior and the 2007 All-Big East third team in his sophomore season.
Francis, a 23 year-old native of Mandeville, Jamaica, made 61 appearances, while scoring seven goals and nine assists in his three-year career at Lindsey Wilson.
For more information on the 2010 MLS SuperDraft and the Crew's selections, please visit TheCrew.com, MLSnet.com and the Crew's Official Blog, The Black and Gold Standard (www.blackandgoldstandard.com).
Founded by American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, the Columbus Crew is Ohio's Major League Soccer club, anchoring a diverse sports and entertainment enterprise. One of the league's Charter Members, it won its first MLS Cup Championship in 2008 and has also won the 2002 U.S. Open Cup championship and MLS Supporters' Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. It is entering its 15th season overall and 12th in first-of-its-kind Columbus Crew Stadium.