The New England Revolution played pre-draft poker Friday, dealing a portion of the Clint Dempsey allocation for LA’s fifth overall selection (as well as a conditional second-round pick in ’08) in order to draft Wake Forest midfielder Wells Thompson as their first selection. Less than an hour later, the Revs drafted Santa Clara midfielder/defender Amaechi Igwe with their original twelfth slot selection, giving them two first-round picks this year.
The Revs later completed their slew of picks (overall 23rd, 38th, 48th, and 51st) by adding M Ryan Solle, M Bryan Byrne, F Adam Cristman, and D Kyle Helton, respectively.
Thompson scored seven goals – five of which were game-winners – and three assists during the 2006 campaign. He was the model of durability for Wake as well, starting 24 of a possible 25 games this year. He is the highest SuperDraft selection (5th overall) to come out of Wake Forest.
Igwe, a member of the Under-20 Men’s National Team and Generation adidas as well, scored five goals and chipped in three assists for Santa Clara this year, and started 20 out of a possible 23 games for the Broncos. His contributions helped lead his squad to the West Coast Conference championship this year.
Solle, joined fellow Wake midfielder Thompson in New England after setting the school record for assist in a season (13) in 2005, and finished with 27 career assists, 2nd in school history.
Byrne, co-captain of the 2006 NCAA National Champion UC Santa Barbara squad, scored three goals and added ten assists for the Gauchos in ’06. The speedy Irish midfielder was also a First Team All-Big West choice in 2006.
Cristman scored ten goals and added five helpers in 2006 for Virginia alongside fellow draftee and Coventry, RI, native Nico Colaluca. The Cavalier midfielder finished his collegiate career with 34 goals and 15 assists in four years at Blacksburg.
Helton will join fellow Blue Devil Jay Heaps on the Revs defense in 2007. In 2006, Helton was a member of a superb Duke defending corps that recorded nine shutouts, which helped put Duke at number one in the nation before falling to UCLA in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
-With the off season departures of midfielders Clint Dempsey and Jose Cancela, it was quite evident that the Revs took to addressing their immediate needs for this season by drafting four midfielders and a forward.
-A testament to the strength of Atlantic Coast Conference soccer: The first six picks were all culled from the ACC. Additionally, four of the six Revolution picks played in the ACC last year.
-With the additions of Thompson and Solle, the Revs now have four Demon Deacons on their roster, in addition to veterans Michael Parkhurst and James Riley.
-Kudos to ESPN for giving SuperDraft the same feel as their NFL and NBA Draft productions. Included was Eric Wynalda’s “Best Available” list, much like the one assembled by Mel Kiper, Jr., during the NFL Draft.
-ESPN Analyst Rob Stone on Wells Thompson’s selection: “Wow, not many people had Wells Thompson that high on the board. Wow, is that a shocker!” He later gave Nicol & Co. a “free pass” given their overall success in previous drafts.
-With SuperDraft’s Indianapolis, IN locale, there were large numbers of Crew and Fire fans on hand for the festivities.