PHILADELPHIA - Cyle Larin became the first-ever Canadian player selected first overall in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday when expansion franchise Orlando City SC snapped up the Connecticut forward with their first draft pick in franchise history.
Larin, 19, was the consensus No. 1 overall prospect heading into the draft after two seasons at UConn. He was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2014 after he won the conference’s Rookie of the Year honor as freshman in 2013. He finished his career with the Huskies with 23 goals in 39 games.
A native of Brampton, Ontario and a member of 2015 Generation adidas class, Larin was not in attendance at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Ballroom to hear his name called. He is currently with Canada’s Under-20 team at the CONCACAF Championship in Jamaica.
The 6-foot-2,190-pound Larin has also appeared twice for the senior Canadian national team, both caps coming last year after his freshman season at UConn.
Larin will occupy an international spot on Orlando City’s roster, but because of his Generation adidas status, his salary will not affect the team’s salary budget until he graduates from the program.
Orlando City won the right to the top pick in the SuperDraft over fellow 2015 MLS newcomer New York City FC during the Expansion Priority Draft last year.
Larin becomes the second straight UConn player selected first overall in the MLS SuperDraft and the third in school history, following Phiadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake in 2014 and defender Chris Gbandi, who was taken by Dallas in 2002.
Prior to Larin’s selection, the highest pick ever used on a Canadian international was in 2013, when Toronto FC selected midfielder Kyle Bekker third overall.