LOS ANGELES –Two Huskies were selected in the first round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft on Friday afternoon at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Jake Nerwinski was picked seventh overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps and fellow co-captain Kwame Awuah was taken 16th overall by New York City FC.
Nerwinski and Awuah become the 13th and 14th Huskies taken in the first round of the MLS Draft. UConn has now had 36 players drafted by an MLS club since the league began in 1997. The two first round selection marks the fourth time that UConn has had multiple players drafted in the first round (2002, 2012, 2015).
Nerwinski had a superb combine leading up to the draft, placing in the top five in all three performance tests; the speed test (30-meter dash), agility test (5-10-5 shuttle) and the power test (vertical jump). Out of the 71 players at the combine, Nerwinski was one of just two players to finish in the top five in all the tests.
I’m so proud and happy for Jake, he epitomizes what a UConn player should be, said head coach Ray Reid. “He gave his heart and soul to the program for three and a half years. I’m so pleased he went so high in the draft.”
Nerwinski (Lawrenceville, N.J.) was an All-Conference member for three seasons with the Huskies, including his First Team All-Conference selections the past two seasons. He was a two-time captain at UConn and contributed on both ends of the field. Defensively, Nerwinski was part of 34 shutouts, while also dishing out 17 assists in his Huskies career.
Kwame Awuah also participated in the combine this past week and was rewarded with a first round selection.
“It is fantastic that Kwame was picked 16th by New York City Football Club, said Reid. “This will be a great environment for him to grow and develop as a young professional. His ability to play multiple positions will come in real handy at the next level. I am so happy that he realized his dream to be become a professional today.”
Awuah (Toronto, Ont.) started in 82 of a possible 83 games in his Huskies career, contributing on both the offensive and defensive ends. In 2016, Awuah was selected to the American Conference First Team for the second consecutive year, contributing two goals and seven assists. His seven helpers ranked second in the conference. Awuah was honored in 2015 as the American Athletic Conference Co-Midfielder of the Year, after leading the conference with 12 assists.