PHILADELPHIA – 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 Willie 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.
The general public sale for 2015 season tickets is ongoing, and kicks off with signing up for the 2015 RSL STH wait list at //www.realsaltlake.com/content/2015-season-ticket-waiting-list; new customers will be processed in the order dictated by wait-list registration. The Rio Tinto Stadium box office is open Mon.-Fri., 10a-6p; more information can be found online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or via the Fan Relations Hotline at 801-727-2702.
All of the club's 2015 20-game packages include every RSL regular-season game and additional events, which historically have included MLS Cup Playoffs matches, CONCACAF Champions League participation and/or Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup contests. For more information about the venue's numerous premium seating options - 100 Lions Club, suites, club seating, field-level or ledge boxes, and the new "200 Club" - please call (801) 727-2700 and ask for Patti, Phil or Tara. 2015 season tickets can also be ordered the RSL website: www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets.
Real Salt Lake has enjoyed a pronounced home-field advantage since building its permanent home in Sandy, boasting an 88-17-29 mark on Utah soil since the beginning of 2008. RSL owns the longest active playoff streak in MLS, at seven seasons, and in 2014 posted a league-record fifth consecutive campaign of 15+ wins and 50+ points. RSL concluded 2014 with 16 consecutive sellouts at Rio Tinto Stadium, 18 overall in 20 home games last season and 23 capacity crowds in its last 28 games going back to August, 2013.
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