Jan. 18, 2008
BALTIMORE, Md. - Two more members of UC Santa Barbara's 2006 National Championship team will be joining the Major League Soccer ranks, as Eric Avila was selected in the second round by FC Dallas and Brennan Tennelle went to Real Salt Lake in the third round of Friday's MLS SuperDraft.
UCSB's big day continued with Avila going with the 19th overall selection and Tennelle chosen at No. 37 overall, joining teammates Ciaran O'Brien and Andy Iro, who were drafted in the first round earlier in the day. Colorado selected O'Brien at No. 5 and Columbus claimed Iro at No. 6 to make the pair the two highest draft picks to ever wear the blue and gold.
Along with UCLA, Santa Barbara was one of two schools to have two players taken in the Top 10 and UCSB joined Santa Clara as the only two schools to have four players taken overall.
Avila scored four goals and dished out eight assists in 2007 to help the Gauchos reach the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year. A preseason All-American and Hermann Trophy Candidate, the midfielder went on to earn his third consecutive All-Big West First Team selection at the end of the regular season.
The San Diego native was named to the All-College Cup Team as a sophomore in 2006 after scoring the game-winner in UCSB's 2-1 victory over UCLA in the national championship match in Saint Louis. Avila earned Second Team All-American distinction from the NSCAA after leading the Gauchos with eight goals during their championship season.
A three-year letterwinner, Avila played in 66 career games in the blue and gold -- starting all but two -- and finished with career totals of 15 goals and 18 assists. The midfielder elected to forego his senior year with the Gauchos and signed with Generation adidas earlier this month. Avila has also been training with the U.S. Under-23 National Team in Bradenton, Fla.
Tennelle finished his career at UCSB in style, tallying a career-high two goals and three assists on the way to his first All-Big West selection in 2007. Also a San Diego native, Tennelle appeared in 60 career games for the Gauchos, making 45 starts and totaled five goals and five assists. The midfielder was a critical piece of UCSB's defense over the last four seasons.
Tennelle joins former teammate and goalkeeper Kyle Reynish in Salt Lake. RSL took Reynish with the 43rd pick in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft.