Amobi Okugo's decision to leave the UCLA men's soccer team after his freshman season has paid off.
On Thursday, Okugo was selected by the Philadelphia Union with the sixth overall pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. UCLA teammates Kyle Nakazawa (33rd overall) and Brian Perk (49th) were also taken by the Union, the league's new expansion team.
Earlier this month, Okugo forfeited his final three years of collegiate eligibility by signing with the MLS as part of Generation adidas. The decision came after Okugo, 18, was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
The most impressive thing? Okugo earned the award without actually putting up big offensive numbers. He started at midfield in every game for the Bruins and ranked third on the team in total minutes played, yet never managed to find the back of the net. He only had two assists.
Regardless, Okugo is a steady defensive midfielder with solid passing and ball-possession skills. Ultimately, that's what got him drafted so high.
Two fellow Bruins join Okugo in Philadelphia.
Nakazawa, a senior midfielder, earned first-team All-American honors this past season after leading UCLA with 12 goals and seven assists. The M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalist plays smoothly and seems to almost glide across the pitch. It's not tough to see why he lists surfing as one of his hobbies.
Perk, the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. national team in the U-20 FIFA World Cup last August, is vocal and fiery. He posted a 0.87 goals against average (13 goals in 15 games) last season.