McLaws, Ryden, Rocha taken in MLS SuperDraft

Photo courtesy Coastal Carolina Athletics.

Three more players with Oklahoma ties were taken in the third and fourth rounds of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Tuesday afternoon, with Connor McLaws of Edmond, Kalen Ryden of Norman and Tony Rocha of the University of Tulsa being selected.

McLaws was selected by New York Red Bulls with the 17th pick of the third round and 59th overall. A solid contributor over the last four years for the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina, McLaws is the reigning two-time Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-South Region selection in his senior campaign. The Red Bulls are currently working on creating a United Soccer Leagues Pro team, the third division of the US Soccer pyramid, and it is likely he will be sent down to that level to develop.

Kalen Ryden, a Norman native, was picked with seventh pick of the fourth round and 69th overall by Columbus Crew SC. Ryden began his career at Oral Roberts in Tulsa, starting 35 games and recording three goals and six assists before transferring to NCAA Division II Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, Texas. He sat out the 2012 season before starting 27 of 28 games for the Mustangs while collecting a goal and two assists in his senior campaign. The last Division II player selected in the SuperDraft was Tesho Akindele of the Colorado School of Mines by FC Dallas, who was selected as the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2014.

Rocha was picked up by Sporting Kansas City with the 11th pick of the fourth round and 73rd overall. Rocha started 55 of his 56 games for the Golden Hurricane as a defender, collecting six goals and nine assists in his collegiate career. He has a good chance to feature locally for the Oklahoma City Energy as a result of an affiliation agreement between the OKC-based club and Sporting KC.

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