With the 55th, 77th and 82nd overall picks in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, the Philadelphia Union selected a trio of internationals from the college ranks on Tuesday, two of whom are forwards and a third who was a central defender for a Division 2 power.
Syracuse forward Chris Nanco was the 11th pick of the third round. The Brampton, Ontario native scored 21 goals and collected seven assists in 84 career games with the Orange. Under new league rules, the former Canadian youth international would not take up an international spot if he were to make the Union roster.
The two fourth round picks, however, would require an international roster spot, which the Union don’t currently have room for on their first team roster. That doesn’t include unsigned second round pick Aaron Jones, who would also require an international spot the Union don’t have open (The seven available spots are occupied by Roland Alberg, Eric Ayuk, Ilsinho, Fabian Herbers, Jay Simpson, Giliano Wijnaldum and Josh Yaro).
Jack Elliott, a 6-foot-5 defender from London, England, made 65 appearances over four seasons at West Virginia while 5-foot-8 Spanish forward Santi Moar had 24 goals and 33 assists at Division 2 Pfeiffer over two seasons.
Both Nanco and Elliott were at the MLS Combine and Nanco was initially thought to be a potential late first round or early second round pick heading into the draft before slipping all the way to the third round.
The 21-year-old Nanco, who is listed at 5-foot-6 and 145 pounds, was part of a Syracuse team that made it to the College Cup for the first time in program history in 2015 and in his youth international days scored a goal that helped Canada qualify for the 2011 U17 World Cup in a win over Trinidad & Tobago.
In addition to his time in Morgantown, the 21-year-old Elliott played for PDL club South Florida Surf, coached by former Union U18 and first team assistant Peter Fuller. He made seven appearances for the Surf in their inaugural season last summer. Elliott was the 11th pick in the fourth round.
Moar, who will turn 24 in August, was part of an undefeated national championship team at Pfeiffer in 2015 and had eight goals and eight assists for Charlotte Eagles last summer in the PDL. He was the the 16th pick in the fourth round, which the Union acquired in December 2015 from NYCFC in the Ethan White trade.