On Friday, former UConn Huskies men’s soccer defender Jake Nerwinski and midfielder Kwame Awuah were both selected in the MLS SuperDraft, making them the third and fourth former UConn soccer players currently in MLS.
The Vancouver Whitecaps took Nerwinski 7th overall in the first round, allowing him to become the 13th UConn player to be taken in the first round. He spent four years at UConn and was one of the captains in both his junior and senior year.
Nerwinski made 75 starts while appearing in 81 games for the Huskies. He was a part of UConn’s defense that had 36 shutouts during his time on the pitch in Storrs. He also added five goals and 17 assists over his four seasons. In his senior year, the defense allowed less than a goal per game, allowing jut 0.77 goals per game.
Vancouver finished 8th in the 10-team Western Conference in the 2016 season, just seven points out of a playoff spot, posting a record of 10-15-9. The Whitecaps allowed 52 goals while scoring 45 for a goal differential of -7, something that the strong UConn defender should be able to help with.
Awuah was selected 16th overall in the first round by New York City FC who traded $75,000 of general allocation money to move up, a pick originally held by Seattle. He had an outstanding UConn campaign, as he joined Nerwinski as captain the past two years.
He started in 82 of the 83 matches he played in, scoring eight goals and adding 26 assists. His seven assists in his senior year was second in the American Athletic Conference and tops on the team. He also led The American in his junior year with 12 assists.
New York City FC finished second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 15-10-9, earning them a berth in the conference semifinals. They lost the two semifinal games to eventual MLS finalists Toronto FC by a combined score of 7-0.
Awuah can aid an already high-powered offense. The team scored 62 goals during the regular season to lead MLS, just beating out New York Red Bulls, who grabbed 61.
Awuah got some love from UConn Men’s Basketball center Amida Brimah after he was selected. The pair have been great friends since arriving on campus and you’d often see Brimah sitting behind the goal rooting on his friend as well as the team.