PHILADELPHIA -- A pair of Summit League men's soccer standouts were selected in the 2018 MLS Superdraft, presented by adidas over the weekend.
Denver's Graham Smith went in the first round (18th overall) to Sporting Kansas City, while Omaha's Xavier Gomez was selected by Minnesota United FC in the second round (41st overall).
At the end of the 2017 season, Smith was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Second Team. Following his transfer from Oregon State after his sophomore season, Smith played and started in 43 matches in his Denver career, finishing with 19 points on six goals and seven assists. Smith scored three game-winning goals in his career, including against Omaha and No. 16 Akron in his senior year. The Highlands Ranch, Colo., native split time at holding mid and center back in his senior campaign, but still finished second on the team in points with 10 on three goals and four assists.
In Franks' system, the converted centerback was a mainstay in the Denver defense for the last two seasons, helping lead Denver to the College Cup for the first time in program history in 2016. Smith sat in-front of a back-four in 2016 that finished third in the country in goals against average (0.520) and third in shutout percentage (0.580), while not allowing a shot on goal in five matches. In 2017, Denver's defense allowed just 54 shots on goal (2.84/game), and combined for a 0.711 goals against average that ranked 16th in the country.
Academically, Smith became Denver's 53rd CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2017, including its 18th First Team pick. Smith earned a 3.94 grade point average in finance at the University of Denver, and helped lead the Pioneers to the top grade point average in the country for the second-straight year in 2016-17.
A three-year starter, Gomez was a crucial part of Omaha's run to the 2017 Summit League Postseason Tournament title and the program's first berth in the NCAA Tournament. He was named First Team All-Summit League after providing a team-high eight assists and adding five goals. He ended the year ranked 25th in the country and led the Summit League in assists. The senior ranked in the top 10 in the league in points (18), goals (5) shots (36) and assists (8).
The Chicago native played in 68 career matches with 43 starts in his collegiate career. Gomez ended his career with 27 points on eight goals and 11 assists.
Smith and Gomez become the seventh and eighth Summit League student-athletes drafted in the MLS Superdraft in the last five years.
|2018||Graham Smith||Denver||1st||18th||Sporting Kansas City|
|Xavier Gomez||Omaha||2nd||41st||Minnesota United FC|
|2017||Reagan Dunk||Denver||1st||13th||Real Salt Lake|
|Sam Hamilton||Denver||1st||15th||Colorado Rapids|
|2016||Emir Alihodzic||Omaha||3rd||54th||Seattle Sounders|
|2015||Taylor Hunter||Denver||3rd||49th||Houston Dynamo|
|2014||Zach Bolden||Denver||4th||61st||Chicago Fire|
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.