By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
Patrick Vieira and his staff liked what they saw of draft pick Kwame Awuah so much that the 21-year-old Canadian is now a rookie.
New York City FC Monday signed the 16th overall pick of the 2017 Major League Soccer SuperDraft to a a contract.
Awuah, who can play left back or midfield, will be considered a domestic player as part of the Generation adidas Canadian initiative. The club is awaiting the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate.
“Going back to the MLS combine we saw something in Kwame that we believed was good enough to compete for a place in our first team and in preseason he’s just confirmed what we saw there,” Vieira said in a statement. “We’re happy to offer him a contract and we’re happy that he accepted that contract. He’s a young player who needs to develop some parts in his game but he’s a really exciting footballer who is full of energy and has an unbelievable willingness to learn.
“He’s excited by the training and his attitude has been good on and off the field. He’s a really good guy to have around the squad.”
A Toronto native, Awuah was City’s second choice of the draft as the club traded up to the 16th round, purchasing Seattle Sounders’ selection for $75,000 in General Allocation Money.
He started all 19 games for the University of Connecticut Huskies as a senior last fall, scoring two goals and assisting seven others.
“I’m glad to make it official and relieved,” Awuah said in a statement. “The guys have brought me in and welcome me and I already feel as though it’s my home. There’s a lot of experienced players here and I’m learning a lot from them. It’s my first time in a professional environment for this preseason and I think I’m doing well just trying to take on as much information as I can from the coaching staff and the veterans of the team.
“I always look forward to the next training session and the next game, so I’m just taking it day by day and learning as much as possible. Then, when the next opportunity arises hopefully I can show the fans and the coaching staff what I can do.”