Coastal’s Uzo selected by Orlando City in MLS draft

ccusoc-23Coastal Carolina forward Tobenna Uzo, a 2015 first team All-Big South selection, was drafted Tuesday with the 68th overall selection by Orlando City SC in the 2016 Major League Soccer Superdraft.

Uzo, a native of Houston Texas, by way of Lagos, Nigeria, was selected by Orlando City with the seventh pick of the fourth round of the annual MLS amateur draft. Uzo will join fellow selections Richie Layrea (Akron), Hadji Barry (Central Florida) and Antonio Matarazzo (Columbia) for the start of preseason training at the end of the month.

Orlando City, which features former Chanticleer All-American Pedro Ribeiro and world-renowned great Kaká, finished the 2015 season with a 12-14-18 overall record, earning 45 points in the MLS standings. In addition to MLS play, the club advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, oldest ongoing competition in American soccer.

Uzo is the 12th Chanticleer to be drafted by an MLS club since 2004 and sixth in as many seasons. Defender Shawn McLaws was drafted 59th overall in last year’s draft, midfielder/forward Pedro Ribeiro was selected 15th overall by the Philadelphia Union in 2014 Superdraft, while Ashton Bennett was the 20th overall selection by Toronto FC in 2013’s Supplemental Draft, center back Cyprian Hedrick was the 30th overall selection by Sporting Kansas City in the 2012 Superdraft and Joe Anderson, a forward, was taken first overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the 2011 Supplemental Draft. In addition to the Chants’ recent draft selections, netminder Scott Angevine (2008-11) earned a free agent contract with Sport Kansas City in 2012 season and spent much of the season as a MLS League Pool goalkeeper.

Uzo played in 18 of Coastal’s 20 matches during the 2015 season, leading the Chanticleers to a 13-3-4 record and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In addition to his first team All-Big South nod, Uzo was twice named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week (Oct. 26, Nov. 2).

Uzo led the Coastal attack with six goals, including three game winners, and six assists for 18 point, all of which paced the Chanticleers. He recorded braces in wins over VCU and Longwood, while also assisting on three game-winning goals, including in 88th minute against No. 22 Hofstra. He scored the eventual game-winner and assisted on CCU’s first two goals to give Winthrop its only Big South loss via a 3-2 score line.

Prior to his time in Conway, Uzo played two seasons at Houston Baptist University where he amassed 14 goals and three assists. In 2013 he was named a Western Athletic Conference second team selection, the WAC Freshman of the Year by CollegeSportsMadness.com and the 36th-best freshman in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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