The 20-year-old was a first-team All-American last season as a junior, when he shifted from midfield to the back line.
Farrell, son of a missionary, lived most of childhood in Peru. His family later moved to Kentucky where he played youth soccer and intergrated to soccer’s physical play in America.
"They rely more on technical ability as opposed to the physical," he said of his Peruvian days. "Combining both of those in my game was huge."
The New England Revolution obtained the No. 1 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft from Toronto FC for the fourth pick and allocation money.
It was the highest pick for the Revolution, who missed the playoffs in each of the past three years. In 2002, the team picked Taylor Twellman, who retired as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.
Farrell said he wasn’t expecting to go No. 1 in the draft but was thrilled about the opportunity to play in New England.
"You never know until they call your name," he said. "I’m grateful for that. But I didn’t know. Obviously, there’s a lot of top guys here."
Connecticut midfielder Carlos Alvarez was taken by Chivas USA with the second pick. From East Los Angeles, Alvarez was with the U.S. Under-20 team in 2008 and Mexico’s Under-20 team the following year.