Careers of three young Ghanaian soccer players were given a major boost during the 2018 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft held in Philadelphia on Friday.
Members of the 2018 Generation adidas, Francis Atuahene and Emmanuel Twumasi were selected by FC Dallas for their first ever professional contracts.
Atuahene of Michigan University was picked 4th overall while Wake Forest’s Twumasi was the 11th overall pick by Dallas.
Dallas traded $200,000 of General Allocation Money to the Montreal Impact for Atuahene (4th overall pick) and latter settled on Twumasi (11th overall pick) as their second pick.
Atuahene, 21, played three seasons at the University of Michigan. The forward scored 24 goals and had 11 assists in 49 matches for the Wolverines from 2015 to 2017.
The 20-year-old Twumasi scored 16 goals and had 11 assists in two seasons (47 games) at Wake Forest University.
Atuahene and Twumasi who are both Generation adidas players from the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana were full of praise to all those who contributed to their success stories.
“Where I come from in Ghana, not everyone has an opportunity. Back in my village, there were kids that were even better than me that did not get this opportunity,” Atuahene said.
“For me, part of being a professional player, part of having an education is making a difference in other people’s lives. That is what I plan on doing. There is a lot talent in the world but people just don’t have the opportunity. I want to give opportunities to people. Being in Dallas, I will be able to help do that while also focusing on giving my best on the field”, elated Atuahene noted.
In a related development, Columbus Crew SC’s insatiable love for Ghanaian players was on display again as they settled on another young Ghanaian talent in the second round of the draft.
University of Virginia forward Edward Opoku, also a member of the 2018 Generation adidas class, caught the eyes of the handlers of the Crew with the ninth pick in the Second Round (32nd overall).
Just like Atuahene and Twumasi, opoku, 21, was born in Konongo, Odumasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana and came to the US through the Right to Dream Academy.
He attended the University of Virginia from 2015-2017, making 53 appearances (all starts) while registering 16 goals and nine assists. Opoku was named to the USC Second Team All-American in 2016 and 2017, as well as to the USC First Team All-South Region in 2016. Prior to attending the University of Virginia, went to high school at Millbrook School and was named the MVP of the 2014 High School All-American Game.
The third and fourth rounds of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be held via conference call on Sunday, January 21.