KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Senior Luis Silva was selected fourth overall by Toronto FC during Thursday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft making him the highest draft pick in UC Santa Barbara history. Teammate junior Sam Garza – who signed a Generation adidas contract – went two picks later to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Silva will join former Gauchos Eric Avila (2005-07) and Andy Iro (2004-07) in Toronto. Garza, meanwhile, is the second Gaucho to be drafted by the Earthquakes, current assistant coach Greg Curry was drafted by the club in the 2008 Supplemental Draft.
Silva and Garza are the first UCSB players to be picked in the SuperDraft's First Round since Chris Pontius went seventh overall in 2009. This marks the second time in program history that UCSB has had more than one player selected in the first round; the first time was in 2008 when Ciaran O'Brien and Iro went fifth and sixth, respectively.
Silva completed one of the most exemplary careers in program history this past fall. He garnered 2011 All-American First Team honors from College Soccer News and the NSCAA, was named a Soccer America MVPs First Team pick, an ESPN Los Angeles All-Area team honoree, an All-Far West Region First Team pick, Big West Midfielder of the Year, and placed on the All-Big West First Team. He finished the season ranked third in the nation in total points (44), fifth in points per game (2.00), sixth in goals (17), eighth in assists (10), ninth in goals per game (0.77), and 15th in assists per game (0.45).
The Los Angeles, Calif. native made his dent in the UCSB record book and ranks in the top-10 in nearly every category. He is tied for first in points in a season (44) and career matches played (88), third in career minutes (7,146), fourth in career points (79), tied for fourth in goals in a season (17), fifth in career shots (198), sixth in career assists (23), and tied sixth in career goals (28) and shots in a season (79).
Garza, who transferred to UCSB from Denver as a sophomore, had two standout seasons in the blue and gold. While playing with the Gauchos, he compiled 17 goals and 10 assists for 44 total points. His 157 career shots rank ninth in the program's all-time top-10.
The dynamic forward garnered 2010 Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors, is a two-time All-Big West First Team pick and a two-time All-Far West Region honoree. This past season, Garza was second on the squad – behind Silva – with 20 points (eight goals, four assists).
Including Silva and Garza, UCSB has had 20 players drafted to the MLS, with 12 being picked up in the SuperDraft.
While the MLS SuperDraft was completed today after two rounds and 38 picks, four additional rounds will be conducted on Tuesday, Jan. 17 during the Supplemental Draft. Senior defenders James Kiffe and Tim Pontius will wait until then to see their MLS fate. Last year, UCSB defender Michael Boxall was the first overall pick in the Supplemental Draft and the eighth Gaucho to be selected in the supplemental rounds.