Sporting Kansas City selected 19-year-old midfielder Mikey Lopez out of the University of North Carolina with the 14th overall selection in the first round of Thursday’s 2013 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas in Indianapolis, Ind.
VIDEO: Sporting KC selects Lopez at No. 14 overall
“He fits our ideal situation at the moment,” Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. “We have time that we can bring him along, which is a great thing. I think he has a place where he can grow and develop. We’re excited about the pick.”
A Generation adidas signing, Lopez has been added to Sporting Kansas City’s roster and will occupy an off-budget roster spot. Generation adidas is a joint program between MLS and adidas that identifies top domestic underclassmen and youth national team players, while providing educational stipends for its professional players.
“It’s a great team. I'm glad to be going to Sporting Kansas City,” Lopez said. “I feel like I can do well with this team and fit in, and hopefully break into the lineup quickly. So I'm glad that I got chosen by them and that they feel the same way about me. It's a match made in heaven.”
VIDEO: Lopez reaction and highlights
Lopez is an active member of the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team and will join Sporting KC teammate Jon Kempin with the U.S. U-20 squad in Puebla, Mexico tonight for their training camp. Among the 20 players selected by head coach Tab Ramos for the camp, Lopez leads the roster with 17 caps at the U-20 level. He has appeared in international competitions including the 2012 Northern Ireland Milk Cup in July and the 2012 Marbella Cup in Spain in October.
In his two-year collegiate career at North Carolina, Lopez appeared in 46 games with five goals and five assists. He was named ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011 after helping the Tar Heels secure their second-ever NCAA national championship, and was named an NSCAA All-American this season.
MLSSoccer.com rated Lopez the top holding midfielder in this year’s draft class in the midst of a strong showing at the MLS Combine last week. Lopez becomes the third North Carolina player drafted by Sporting KC in club history, along with current assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin and former defender Michael Harrington.
ARCHIVE: Sporting KC all-time draft history
Following Thursday’s SuperDraft, Sporting Kansas City will next participate in the four-round 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft via conference call on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Sporting Kansas City will hold their first training session of the 2013 season on Friday at the Kansas City Chiefs Indoor Practice Facility, located west of Arrowhead Stadium at the Truman Sports Complex. All media are encouraged to attend for video, interview and photo opportunities and will be allowed to enter the facility at 10:45 a.m. CT. Media members are asked to please park in the extended portion of the player lot on the west side of the practice facility and enter through the doors on the side of the practice field.
Please note: Friday's training will be the only media availability in Kansas City for Sporting KC players and coaches before the team departs for Tucson, Ariz. on Sunday for the first leg of their pre-season. All media members planning to attend Friday's practice are encouraged to contact Alice Schroeder (913-302-1565) of the Sporting Kansas City communications department in advance for assistance in facilitating media access.
Mikey Lopez – 14th Overall (1st Round)
College: University of North Carolina
Hometown: Mission, Texas
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas