Rapids draft Hermann runner-up Akpan, take Virginia midfielder LaBauex next
The Colorado Rapids have drafted forward Andre Akpan of Harvard University with the 22nd overall pick of Thursday’s Major League Soccer draft. Akpan was taken in the second round with Colorado’s first pick of draft, and he was the first Ivy League player taken in the draft.
As a senior, the Grand Prairie, Texas, native registered 12 goals and 30 points in 19 games (all 19 were starts) for the Crimson. He’s listed as 6-foot-0 and 190 pounds by the school’s athletic department. His career total of 127 points is a Harvard record, as is his total of 33 career assists. He finished with 47 goals for Harvard, which is tied with Chris Ohiri for the best mark in school history.
He was Harvard’s captain and was the first runner-up for the Hermann Trophy, which was won by Akron’s Teal Bunbury. It marked the third consecutive season Akpan was a finalist for the award.
Here are some of Akpan’s accolades and achievements during his senior season:
Soccer America’s 2009 MVPs team, College Soccer News’ Team of the Decade, New England Soccer News’ Player of the Year, NSCAA All-America first-team, Ivy League Player of the Year, All-Ivy League first team, Nominees for Soccer News Net Player of the Year, Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Year, NSCAA All-Northeast Region first team, Academic All-Ivy League team, led the Ivy League in points and goals and was tied for first in assists, Ivy League Co-Player of the Week (Sept. 8), Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Week (Sept. 20), College Soccer News National Team of the Week (Sept. 20), Ivy League Player of the Week (Oct. 19), College Soccer News National Team (Nov. 2).
With the next pick in the draft, the Rapids took midfielder-forward Ross LaBaeux from NCAA Division I champion Virginia. LaBaeux is a Chicago native who is listed at the Cavaliers’ Web site as 5-foot-9, 150 pounds.
He appeared in 19 games for the Cavs, starting 17, and had two goals and four assists for eight points.
With the 40th overall pick in the draft, the Rapids took defender Chad Borak of California State-Northridge.
The senior from Palmdale, California, is listed at 6-foot-0 and 165 pounds. He played at Highland High School in Palmdale and was all-Golden League for three seasons (I mention this because, oddly, I covered Golden League soccer when I worked in Ridgecrest, California).
At Northridge, Borak was an All-Big West defender his senior season, the second consecutive year he earned all-conference honors. He scored the winning goal vs. UC-Riverside on Halloween and had an assist at Riverside two days earlier. He took 11 shots his senior season.
Here’s a link to Borak’s page on the Matadors athletics Web site. And does reading about the draft of Borak count as cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Colorado Rapids fans? Was that the first Borak-Borat joke in Colorado? Did I really just do that?
Anyway, with the 56th pick overall, the Rapids took forward-midfielder Chris Cutshaw of Bradley. The senior from Carmel, Indiana, is listed at 6-foot-0 and 164 pounds at the Bradley athletics Web site. Cutshaw scored 32 goals and added 10 assists in 83 games for the Braves. He finished his Bradley career in fifth place in career scoring.
Some of his accolades from 2009 include NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-Midwest Region second team, All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, CollegeSoccerNews.com National Team of the Week (9/7), Soccer America National Team of the Week (9/7), Missouri Valley Conference offensive player of the week (9/8), Busey Bank Kickoff Festival Most Valuable Player, Busey Bank Kickoff Festivall all-tournament team, Hotels at Grand Prairie Classic all-tournament team, Country Scholar-Athlete of the Week (9/9).
And that concluded the Rapids’ draft day.
To wrap things up, here is a list of all the picks in the first round of the draft:
1. Danny Mwanga, Philadelphia Union
2. Tony Tchani, New York Red Bulls
3. Ike Opara, San Jose Earthquakes
4. Teal Bunbury, Kansas City Wizards
5. Zach Loyd, FC Dallas
6. Amobi Okugo, Philadelphia Union
7. Jack McInerney, Philadelphia Union
8. Dilly Duka, Columbus Crew
9. Zach Schilawski, New England Revolution
10. Blair Gavin, Chivas USA
11. David Estrada, Seattle Sounders FC
12. Bright Dike, Columbus Crew
13. Corben Bone, Chicago Fire
14. Austin da Luz, New York Red Bulls
15. Collen Warner, Real Salt Lake
16. Michael Stephens, Los Angeles Galaxy
I hope you enjoyed reading about the Rapids draft picks … NOT! (Y’see, that was another Borat joke. … Folks, I got a million of ‘em.)