ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 14, 2016 – Orlando City SC has selected University of Akron and Generation adidas midfielder Richie Laryea with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft. In addition, following a trade with D.C. United, the Lions selected University of Central Florida and Orlando City U-23 forward Hadji Barry 13th overall in the first round in exchange for Targeted Allocation Money and the team’s 12th pick in the second round.
Per Club and league policy, additional terms were not disclosed.
“The entire coaching staff and I are delighted with today’s first round,” said Founder and President Phil Rawlins. “We had three targets going into today, and we managed to get two of those which is great. Richie is a player that we’ve been watching for quite some time. He’s obviously an ex-colleague and teammate of Cyle Larin, who knows him really well. We think he’s a very exciting player who has a lot of upside. For Hadji, it was a big advantage having him on our doorstep all this time, as we’ve been able to watch him consistently. He had a good showing at the Combine as well, so he stood out to us. We think he’s another player with tremendous upside.”
“We’re very pleased with both of our selections in the first round of today’s draft,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “Both players have a lot of the tools that we look for in their respective positions, so we look forward to working with them and helping them maximize their potential. Last year’s draft turned out to be very promising for us, and we hope to replicate that success in 2016.”
“This is amazing. Orlando’s the team that I really wanted to go to, so I’m very happy that I get to go there,” added Laryea. “Cyle (Larin) has been my best friend ever since I’ve been nine years old so it’s going to be great. I know Orlando has a great fan base and it’s a great city to live in so I can’t wait to get started.”
In 2015, Laryea made 22 starts for the University of Akron, playing a crucial role in the team’s impressive 18-3-3 regular season record as they advanced to the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament, finishing just shy of a College Cup appearance. In his sophomore season with the Zips, the speedy and skillful midfielder recorded 11 goals and logged seven assists to finish second on the team in points (29).
As a freshman in 2014, Laryea stated all 20 matches in which he appeared for Akron and was named to the All-Mid-American Conference team.
Prior to attending the University of Akron, the 21-year-old Toronto, Canada, native featured on the international stage for the U-18 Canadian Men’s National Team and was also a product of Sigma FC – the same youth club that produced current Orlando City SC striker Cyle Larin, who was named 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year in his inaugural top-flight campaign.
In his senior season with UCF, Barry led the team in goals and points, finding the back of the net 11 times to accumulate 25 points. In 2014, Barry started 16 matches for the Knights, recording his debut goal against Memphis University with a strong effort from inside the box.
Prior to joining UCF, Barry played for two seasons with Monroe Community College, earning Region II Player of the Year, Championship MVP and First Team honors.