KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Vancouver Whitecaps went back to the well of talent from collegiate powerhouse Akron to take Darren Mattocks with the second overall pick in the SuperDraft on Thursday, giving the 'Caps a highly touted forward to add to their stable of offensive talent in 2012.
Mattocks was expected by some to be the first pick in the draft, but fell to the Whitecaps at No. 2 after the Montreal Impact selected Duke star Andrew Wenger for the top overall pick.
"I knew from the get-go that it was going to be between me and Wenger. They chose Wenger. That’s ok," Mattocks said. "It doesn’t really matter where I go. I’m concerned with getting good playing time and scoring a lot of goals. That’s what I’m here for.”
Mattocks, 21, scored 39 goals in 47 career matches for the Zips, and was named to the 2012 Generation adidas class after he decided to forgo his final two years at Akron. He joins a long list of talented Akron players drafted in recent years, including a record five Zips taken among the top eight picks in 2011.
Mattocks, meanwhile, could be the best goal scoring threat the school has produced yet. He scored 18 goals as a freshman in 2010, finishing third nationally, and helped lead the Zips to the national title, following that feat by scoring 21 goals in 22 games during his recently concluded sophomore season. He was named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year in 2011 and was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.
“My pace is going to speak volume in the league because I’m pretty good," Mattocks said. "So hopefully I can use that to score a bunch of goals in MLS.”
Originally from Jamaica, Mattocks is a member of the Reggae Boyz’ U-23 national team pool.
"In Jamaica it’s always 80-90 degrees all year round … The main reason I went to the University of Akron is to get acclimatized to the weather, and look where I am now going, to Vancouver in Canada," he said.