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Friday, January 14, 2011 - 9:06pm
Omar Salgado returned home to El Paso Friday, just one day after living a dream. He's now a professional soccer player.
Omar Salgado, a 17-year-old forward on the U.S. Under-20 team, was selected by the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday with the first pick in the Major League Soccer draft and five players from NCAA champion Akron were among the top eight picks.
Salgado, who is from El Paso, Texas, spent 1½ years with Chivas Guadalajara, then signed with MLS and was loaned to Vancouver for three months last summer when the team competed in the U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2.
"We have had conversations over the exemption to be able to play in Canada, and just in general about how I had been doing, but they never told me I was going to go number one in the draft," said Omar. "It's awesome, it's the best, I never imagined it actually, but I can't believe it, it's amazing." Omar's Uncle, Yanco Lopez, said, "We are so proud of Omar and all of his accomplishments, this not only shows what wonderful a country it is, but it allows everybody who has a dream to achieve it."
Darlington Nagbe, a junior forward and midfielder who helped Akron win its first NCAA title, went with the No. 2 pick to the expansion Portland Timbers.
Perry Kitchen, a freshman defensive midfielder on the Zips, was taken by D.C. United with the third pick.
Chivas USA selected Akron defender Zarek Valentin with the fourth pick, and Philadelphia took Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
New England chose California defender A.J. Soares, Houston took Akron defender Kofi Sarkodie, and Vancouver, with a pick obtained from Toronto, selected Akron midfielder Michael Nanchoff.