Seven From Akron In SuperDraft
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
Steve Zakuani's former college teammates with Akron Zips won the NCAA title and now will take over the SuperDraft.
Not since Sigi Schmid’s UCLA teams and Bruce Arena’s teams at Virginia has a college soccer team been as celebrated as the Akron Zips this year.
The 2010 NCAA champions went 22-1-2 en route to a 1-0 national championship win over the Louisville Cardinals last month. However, the accolades don’t end there. Five Zips were signed to Generation adidas contracts and will ply their trade in MLS next season. Couple that with the two seniors who are also expected to be selected early in the draft and the SuperDraft will have a decidedly Akron feel to it next Thursday.
Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani has a lot of familiarity with those seven players, having played at Akron in 2007 and 2008 before coming to the Sounders with the first overall pick in the 2009 SuperDraft. He has seen first-hand the success of head coach Caleb Porter’s team and knows quite a bit about the players.
Here is Zakuani’s take on the five Generation adidas players from Akron:
Forward Darlington Nagbe (pictured right) – “Darlington is a very good friend. I used to hang out a lot with him and Teal Bunbury when I was in college. He’s probably the one most people are looking at right now. He’s a good player – everyone can see he’s got quality.”
Defender Kofi Sarkodie – “Kofi has always had a professional mentality. He was always going to play at the next level, we just didn’t know when.”
Defender Perry Kitchen – “I don’t know much about him, but he scored an unbelievable goal in the Final Four.”
Defender Zarek Valentin – “He’s only lost one or two games in two years … that’s pretty impressive.”
Midfielder Michael Nanchoff (pictured bottom right) - “Nanchoff is one of my good friends away from soccer. We took a lot of classes together.”
Zakuani had this to say about the two seniors:
Midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong – “Ampai and I roomed together on the road in my sophomore year. He’s a good player. In my freshman year, he carried the team a little bit. I think he’s going to do very well.”
Defender Chris Korb – “He doesn’t have the name of the other guys, but he started every game for us after he transferred to us from Xavier. He’s done a great job there.”
Zakuani added, “From what I’ve seen since I’ve been here, there’s no team like these guys. It’s going to be fun to see so many guys in the league now and at the same time we hope that they don’t suffer as a team for losing so many guys. They lost me and they got better. They lost Teal Bunbury, Blair Gavin and Ben Zemanski and they got even better. If they get better after losing seven guys, I don’t know what we can do.”
The SuperDraft starts Thursday, January 13 at 9 am Pacific. The Sounders FC pick 11th in the first round and also hold the 21st, 27th and 29th overall picks in the second round after trades with DC United and the Chicago Fire. SoundersFC.com will be covering the draft with a live blog from the Baltimore Convention Center.