The Vancouver Whitecaps added another piece to their deep attack Thursday, selecting forward Darren Mattocks with the second overall pick at the 2012 MLS SuperDraft in Kansas City, MO.
The speedy 21-year-old striker, who scored 39 goals in 47 games over two years at Akron University, provides another dangerous option up front for Vancouver.
"It’s going to be a pretty exciting challenge, so I can’t wait," Mattocks said about joining his new team. "I’m pretty fast, so hopefully I can use that to score goals in the MLS. Hopefully my attributes and my talents will speak volumes in Vancouver. I've got a competitive edge. I want to win."
“Darren has great pace and an ability to get behind the opposition,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said in a statement. “He has power, athleticism, and a good eye for the goal, which is always hard to find."
With the Montreal Impact selecting midfielder Andrew Wenger with the first overall pick — a player that Vancouver may have preferred positionally — the Whitecaps went with the next best player available.
The six-foot, 155-pound native of Portmore, Jamaica has a strong first touch and finish, and has been compared to fellow countryman Omar Cummings — a forward with the Colorado Rapids who scored 14 goals in 2010. This past season in the NCAA, Mattocks tallied 21 goals in 22 games, and was a semi-finalist for the Hermann Trophy as the top U.S. male college soccer player. A Generation Adidas player, he is also a member of the Jamaican U-23 Olympic team player pool.
"All the handwork has paid off so that's pretty good," he said. "That's my whole aim, that's my goal, to come onto this team and make an immediate impact straight away."
Last year, the Whitecaps selected another forward, Omar Salgado, with the first overall pick at the SuperDraft. In addition to Mattocks and Salgado, Vancouver's forward contingent includes Eric Hassli, Camilo Sanvezzo, Mustapha Jarju, Atiba Harris, Long Tan and Davide Chiumiento.
With their 21st overall pick in the SuperDraft, the Whitecaps selected 22-year-old defender Chris Estridge. The fullback had three goals and five assists in 22 games with Indiana University last season.