Real Salt Lake selected University of North Carolina defender Boyd Okwuonu with the 27th overall pick in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. RSL acquired the pick in a trade with Seattle Sounders FC, sending the 16th overall pick to Seattle in exchange for the 27th overall pick and allocation money.
“I’m so excited to join the Real Salt Lake family. I’m thankful for the team to give me the opportunity to prove myself. There are a lot of good guys I can learn from,” said Okwuonu, whose brother William played football at Weber State University. “I’m so happy to be in a place like Real Salt Lake that has been such a good club on and off the field. I’ve tracked them for so long and it’s always been a dream for me to play for them. It really is a dream come true for me.”
Okwuonu started 89 matches over four years at UNC, helping the Tar Heels to a top-15 defense in the country all four years. He was a three-time All-ACC First Team selection, a two time NSCAA All-America Second Team pick and was the 2013 ACC Defender of the Year.
“He’s a good athletic player that’s versatile. He can play wide and is also comfortable in the middle,” said RSL Technical Director Craig Waibel. “He is a connecting player that plays the style of soccer that we like. He keeps the ball on the deck and connects the majority of his passes. He’s got a simple pass selection process and that’s what drew us to him.”
As a youth player, Okwuonu played with the FC Dallas Academy. He also was a member of the U.S. National Team at the U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-18 levels, playing in the 2011 Northern Ireland Milk Cup with the U.S. U-18 squad.
Okwuonu will join the team to start training camp next week. Real Salt Lake has two picks in the third and fourth rounds of the SuperDraft, 57th and 77th overall, which will take place on Tuesday via conference call.
Name: Boyd Okwuonu
Weight: 170 lbs.
Birthdate: February 24, 1993
Hometown: Edmond, Okla.
College: University of North Carolina
Acquired: Selected in the second round (27th overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 15, 2015