Chivas takes two in the first round

Published Jan. 13, 2011 2:06 p.m. ET

January 13, 2011

CARSON, Calif.
- Chivas USA selected two players in the first round of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore, first taking Zarek Valentin, a defender from the University of Akron, with the fourth pick, followed by Ecuadorian forward Victor Estupinan with the 14th overall selection. Both players will be added to the Chivas USA roster, as they had previous signed contracts with MLS. Valentin and Estupinan, along with the club's final selection, midfielder John Okafor of Brown University (taken 40th overall), will join Chivas USA for preseason, starting late this month at The Home Depot Center in Carson.

"I'm really, really excited about [Valentin and Estupinan]," said Chivas USA Head Coach Robin Fraser. "Zarek is a proven winner, he's a leader, he's very vocal, has a very good understanding of the game, so I feel like he's an important part of what we're trying to do. With Victor, he's a little different than some of the other forwards we've seen. He does a lot of things that make us think that he has a lot of promise and a bright future ahead of him."

Zarek Valentin, a native of Lancaster, Pa., enjoyed a distinguished two year career at the University of Akron, where he helped the squad to consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division I national championship match, including a victory in 2010. He started all 50 matches that Akron played in his two seasons at the school, and earned numerous conference and national awards as he manned the center back position for the Zips. Valentin, whose brother Julian was a 2008 MLS SuperDraft pick by the LA Galaxy, is of Puerto Rican decent and is fluent in Spanish.

A forward from the youth system of LDU Quito in Ecuador, Victor Estupinan impressed coaches at the MLS Combine in Florida last week, and Chivas USA gave up allocation money to Real Salt Lake in exchange for the pick. Estupinan was the first international player selected in the MLS SuperDraft, and comes to the league coming off a season in which he led the Ecuadorian reserve league in scoring, and was part of the squad that helped LDU Quito to the national championship and a RecopaSudamericana championship.

Chivas USA's final pick in the MLS SuperDraft was used to take midfielder John Okafor of Brown University. In four years at Brown, Okafor played in 64 matches, scoring 14 goals and adding 12 assists. The 6'1" midfielder and native of Verona, N.J., led Brown to three NCAA tournament appearances in four years, and in his senior season ranked second on the team in scoring as he helped the team to a 12-4-4 overall record.

First Round: 4th overall (Natural 1st round pick) Zarek Valentin (University of Akron)
First Round: 14th overall (Acquired from RSL) Victor Estupinan (LDU Quito  Ecuador)
Third Round: 40th overall (Natural 3rd round pick) John Okafor (Brown University)

2nd Overall
Brad Guzan (University of South Carolina)
5th Overall
Sacha Kljestan (Seton Hall University)
7th Overall
John Cunliffe (Fort Lewis College)
9th Overall
Michael Lahoud (Wake Forest University)
10th Overall
Blair Gavin (University of Akron)
4th Overall
Zarek Valentin (University of Akron)
14th Overall
Victor Estupinan (LDU Quito)