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The Colorado Rapids acquired the No. 3 overall pick in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft to select Clemson midfielder Philip Mayaka on Thursday afternoon.
Mayaka was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick as one of the top players in the draft by many soccer outlets.
Seeing a chance to nab him, the Rapids completed a trade with the Houston Dynamo to acquire the No. 3 pick, sending back the No. 6 pick along with $200,000 in 2021 General Allocation money with potential for another $50,000 in 2022, as first reported by Ives Galarcep of SBI soccer.
The Rapids received the No. 6 pick in a trade with the Chicago Fire for $125,000 in allocation money.
Mayaka, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, spent two seasons at Clemson before leaving and signing his Generation Adidas contract. The 5-foot-7 midfielder was the ACC freshman of the year and first team all-ACC as a freshman. He was a preseason All-American heading into the 2020 season and was named to the 2020 all-ACC tournament team.
The scouting report on mlssoccer.com describes him as, “A rangy, box-to-box midfielder, Mayaka would have been a top pick in the 2020 edition of the draft had he signed a Generation Adidas deal at that point. The Kenya native can cover ample ground and is effective on the ball in tight spaces. He’s got a good range of passing and contributes on both sides of the ball.”
As a Generation Adidas athlete, his salary will not be charged against the Rapids’ annual salary budget until he signs a senior player contract. The program was created to incentivize underclassmen to leave school early to play in MLS.