Toronto FC announced today that the club has selected defender Nyal Higgins (No. 19-overall) and midfielder Ifunanyachi Achara (No. 25-overall) in the first round of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
Higgins, who will turn 22 on Jan. 19, is a Toronto-native who recently joined Syracuse University in his senior year. He started 19 matches for the Orange last season, adding one goal and one assist while providing stability at the back.
Described as consistent by his Oakland University men’s soccer team coach— the school he attended prior to transferring to Syracuse—Higgins says he closely watches Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti.
“He’s very smart, he’s an all around player at his position, and he does things that normal people wouldn’t imagine doing on the soccer field,” Higgins said. “He will also step up to the plate and help his team in many ways.”
The Reds also selected midfielder Achara before the conclusion of the first round. A highly-touted prospect, the dynamic midfielder was hampered by injuries last year. He still managed to appear in 15 games for Georgetown, scoring six goals and adding five assists.
Having grown up in Nigeria, Achara was invited to be part of the U-17 Nigerian national team setup—the team that would eventually go on to win the U-17 World Cup—but was cut shortly prior to the tournament. He eventually moved over to the States in an attempt to further develop his soccer career, however, injuries over the course of his early NCAA years hindered any serious exposure for the well-regarded prospect.
You can find an extended highlight package of the box-to-box midfielder here.
With the 33rd-overall-pick, TFC then took 24-year-old Clemson University defender Malick Mbaye to kick off their second round.
They followed that up by taking another defender in Simon Waever out of Indiana University with the 51st-overall selection to round out their picks for the day.
The the third and fourth rounds will take place on Monday. You can follow the rest of the draft on the league’s draft tracker.