BALTIMORE, Md. - Akron men's soccer sophomore Richie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario (Canada)) became the 11th Zip to have his name called during the first round of the MLS SuperDraft with his selection seventh overall in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, Jan. 14, by Orlando City Soccer Club.
"We are very happy for Richie to be selected by Orlando City at No. 7," Akron head coach Jared Embick commented. "It is a great place for him to start his professional career. It is a soccer crazy city and he fits that team very well. We're looking forward to watching him play."
"It was an amazing feeling," said Laryea on his selection by Orlando. "I'm coming in and ready to work hard."
"I have to give a big thank you to Jared (Embick), the soccer and support staffs and all of my teammates for all their support during my time at Akron. Without them we couldn't have been as successful as we were. I also need to thank Anne (Jorgensen) for her guidance in helping me along the path with my academic success here at the University of Akron."
A 2016 Generation adidas class member, Laryea started all 22 contests he appeared in for the Zips this fall en route to earning third-team NSCAA All-America and first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors. He registered a team-best 11 goals, while rating second on assists (7), points (29), shots (61), shots on goal (27) and game-winners (3).
Laryea started all 42 games he appeared in during his Akron career, recording 12 goals and nine assists on the strength of 85 shots, including 34 on goal.
Laryea became the 11th Zip to be drafted during the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. Akron had a league record five selections in the first eight picks in 2011 following the Zips' national championship season.
The University of Akron men's soccer program, which owns the highest winning percentage in the nation since 2006, has developed into a perennial contender for the NCAA title since capturing the school's first team national championship in any sport in 2010. While incorporating a style of play that is attractive and attack-oriented, yet effective on both sides of the ball, the Zips reached the NCAA final in 2009 and 2010 while advancing to the College Cup this past season.
Additionally, developing players for the next level has become commonplace for the Akron staff as now 27 Zips have gone on to play professionally either in Major League Soccer, USL or overseas since 2006, including No. 1 overall pick Steve Zakuani in 2009, and No. 2 overall picks Darlington Nagbe in 2011 and Darren Mattocks in 2012. Nagbe was part of a draft class that set MLS draft day records for most players drafted from a single school in the first round (5) and overall (8).
Zakuani was the program's first No. 1 overall draft pick at the 2009 SuperDraft. The Hermann Trophy finalist and nation's leading scorer (20 goals in 23 matches) in 2008 was the first ever pick of the then-expansion Seattle Sounders. Since then, the Zips have had two players drafted as high as the No. 2 overall pick. Darlington Nagbe, who was the school's second straight Hermann Trophy winner, earned the distinction in 2011 when he was drafted by Portland and Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks followed suit in 2012, going to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Teal Bunbury, the 2009 Hermann Trophy winner, would be the first of three Zips taken at the 2010 draft when Sporting Kansas City made the athletic striker with Canadian roots the No. 4 overall pick. Adding to the list that season were teammates Blair Gavin (No. 10) and Ben Zemanski (No. 47), who were each drafted by Chivas USA.