Vancouver selects Salgado first in MLS draft
BALTMORE – Omar Salgado, a 17-year-old forward on the U.S. Under-20 team, was selected by the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday with the first pick in the Major League Soccer draft and five players from NCAA champion Akron were among the top eight picks.
Wayne Rooney’s younger brother John was taken by the New York Red Bulls on the second round.
Salgado, who is from El Paso, Texas, spent 1 1/2 years with Chivas Guadalajara, then signed with MLS and was loaned to Vancouver for three months last summer when the team competed in the U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2.
Unless FIFA grants special permission, he will be ineligible to play for Vancouver’s first team until Sept. 10, when he turns 18. FIFA bars players from transferring to clubs outside their country until their 18th birthday.
Darlington Nagbe, a junior forward and midfielder who helped Akron win its first NCAA title, went with the No. 2 pick to the expansion Portland Timbers. Nagbe won the Hermann Trophy last week as the top men’s college soccer player.
Perry Kitchen, a freshman defensive midfielder on the Zips, was taken by D.C. United with the third pick.
Chivas USA selected Akron defender Zarek Valentin with the fourth pick, and Philadelphia took Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
New England chose California defender A.J. Soares, Houston took Akron defender Kofi Sarkodie, and Vancouver, with a pick obtained from Toronto, selected Akron midfielder Michael Nanchoff.
Having already signed with MLS, John Rooney worked out for scouts last week in Florida and was taken by the Red Bulls on Thursday.
John is a 20-year-old midfielder who has played for Macclesfield Town in England’s League Two. He joins a roster that includes Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez.
Wayne Rooney is a star forward for Manchester United and England’s national team.