19 NPSL Alums Selected in Three Rounds of 2021 MLS SuperDraft

19 players with NPSL experience were selected in three rounds of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft.  

Four players were selected in the first round, including forward Kimarni Smith (D.C. United, 4th overall), forward Daniel Trejo (LAFC, 14th overall), midfielder Nicky Hernandez (FC Dallas, 15th overall), and forward Josh Drack (LA Galaxy, 16th overall).  

Smith scored 26 goals and recorded 11 assists in 63 appearances (43 starts) for Clemson from 2017 to 2020.  In his final season in NCAA Division I in 2020, Smith scored eight goals and recorded three assists in 11 appearances (10 starts).  The Nottingham, England native earned several honors in his final season, including two TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Week selections, three TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week nominations, and three College Soccer News Player of the Week awards.  He was also named the MVP of the ACC Tournament.  

Trejo is a Mendota, CA native and played three years at Cal State, Northridge, tallying 26 goals and 15 assists in 58 matches (57 starts) for the Matadors.  As a junior in 2019, Trejo was named Big West Offensive Player of the Year, Second Team All-Region, and First Team All-Conference after finishing tied for first in the league with nine goals. 

Hernandez played three seasons at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  He recorded eight goals and nine assists in 52 overall appearances for the Mustangs.  Hernandez was named to the All-SMU Tournament Team in 2018 and AAC All-Tournament Team in 2019. 

Drack played at Grand Canyon University from 2017-18, scoring six goals and adding seven assists before transferring to the University of Denver for the 2019 season.  At Denver, Drack made 21 starts while scoring five goals.

Six players were selected in the draft’s second round, including defender Avionne Flanagan (FC Cincinnati, 29th overall), defender Josh Bauer (Atlanta United, 31st overall), defender Jackson Ragen (Chicago Fire, 33rd overall), defender Tom Judge (Nashville SC, 36th overall), forward Christian Pinzon (Chicago Fire, 47th overall), and goalkeeper Colin Shutler (FC Dallas, 48th overall).

Flanagan played three seasons at South Florida (2017-19), where he made 48 appearances, including 41 starts, scoring four goals and adding seven assists.  He was named to the AAC All-Conference First Team in 2019 following his junior campaign.

Bauer made 60 career appearances, all starts, for the Wildcats and scored 10 goals with 10 assists in his collegiate career.  He was twice named America East Defender of the Year in 2018 and 2019 while helping lead New Hampshire to back-to-back conference titles.

Ragen has played three years at the University of Michigan where he totaled 58 appearances (52 starts). An All-Big Ten selection in 2019, Ragen finished the year starting in all 21 matches and tallying two goals and four assists. 

Judge was named First Team All-Atlantic Region and First Team All-CAA during his junior season at James Madison University.  In his career, Judge played in 56 matches registering three goals and four assists for the Bulldogs.

Pinzon, a standout from California State University, Fullerton, has played three seasons at the collegiate level.  The Bellflower, CA native totaled 54 appearances (32 starts) with 14 goals and seven assists while being named to the Big West First Team All-Conference in 2019.  Pinzon started in all 20 games for the Titans in 2019, helping lead the team to their best start in program history (8-0).  He finished that year with a team-high 21 points. 

Shutler appeared in 45 matches at University of Virginia, where he recorded a 32-7-5 record.  He was named to the All-America First Team by the United Soccer Coaches, College Soccer News and Soccer America, All-South Region First Team, NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team, and ACC All-Academic Team in 2019.  He finished the 2019 season with a 0.59 GAA which was the country’s lowest career GAA among active players.

A total of nine players were selected in the draft’s third round, including defender Brandon Terwege (Houston Dynamo, 57th overall), midfielder Aiden McFadden (Atlanta United, 59th overall), forward Aris Briggs (Real Salt Lake, 61st overall), midfielder Paul Rothrock (Toronto FC, 64th overall), goalkeeper AJ Marcucci (New York Red Bulls, 67th overall), defender Mark Salas (FC Dallas, 76th overall), forward Giovanni Montesdeoca (FC Dallas, 79th overall), goalkeeper TJ Bush (80th overall), and forward Rene White (Real Salt Lake, 84th overall).

Terwege was selected after one season at Southern Methodist University.  The defender joined the Mustangs after two seasons at UCLA where he started in 35 contests at center back and outside back.  As a freshman he started in 16 matches and helped the Bruins post four shutouts.  He followed up his freshman season with 19 starts in 2018 and was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic Team.  Terwege finished the 2019 season with two goals and three assists in 19 games with SMU and helped the backline that finished with 11 shutouts, the most in the American Athletic Conference.

McFadden made 49 career appearances, 38 starts, for Notre Dame and finished with six goals and six assists. The West Chester, PA native broke through in his 2018 sophomore campaign, making 11 starts and playing in all 21 matches for the Fighting Irish.  That season he scored three goals and tallied one assist while helping Notre Dame reach the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals.

A two-time Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, Briggs scored 27 goals in 53 appearances for Georgia State, including 16 goals during his junior season.  He added five goals in his senior season, good for second most in the country.

Rothrock split his collegiate career between the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University.  As a sophomore at Notre Dame, he made 13 appearances and scored one goal.  Rothrock transferred to Georgetown University, where he made 24 appearances and registered four goals and seven assists for the Hoyas during their 2019 NCAA championship season.

Marcucci was a NCAA All-America First Team selection twice by the United Soccer Coaches and D3soccer.com.  He finished the 2019 season with a 0.58 goals against average, an .859 save percentage, and eight shutouts.

Salas appeared in 62 matches for the University of North Carolina backline. He helped anchor one of the best defenses in the country during his sophomore year, only allowing 10 goals all season. 

Montesdeoca recorded 13 goals and six assists in 37 matches for the University of North Carolina. 

Bush was a two-time First Team All-CAA selection for James Madison, where he appeared in 57 games over three seasons.  He allowed just 49 goals and compiled an impressive 30-13-5 record from 2017-2019, logging a 0.84 goals against average. 

White finished his career at NJIT with a school-leading 34 goals in 54 appearances.  For his offensive prowess he was named the 2019 Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year after finishing fourth in the nation with 17 goals.

Photo Credit: Paul Trafecanty/CSUN Athletic Communications, Kate Cote/Clemson Athletics, Vladimir Cherry, and Georgia State Athletics

 

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