VWFC add wingers Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado in 2013 MLS SuperDraft

2013 draft group

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – With the fourth overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Vancouver Whitecaps FC today selected Generation adidas striker/winger Kekuta Manneh from Austin Aztex of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (USL PDL) and with the fifth overall selection, Vancouver selected striker/midfielder Erik Hurtado from Santa Clara University.

Kekuta Manneh – striker/winger
-   Member of The Gambia’s U-20 national team
-   Last season, scored 12 goals and added nine assists in 13 appearances with Austin Aztex
-   Scored 58 goals in the last two USSDA seasons

Erik Hurtado – striker/winger
-   Scored 15 goals and added seven assists as a senior with Santa Clara University
-   Scored 33 goals and added 20 assists in four years at college
-   All-West Coast Conference team member in 2010, 2011, and 2012
-   Was a member of US U-18 national team

“Kekuta brings great pace out wide and is a natural goalscorer,” said Rennie. “He is a versatile player with a natural ability to play on the left or on the right, which isn’t easy to find. I’m very pleased that we were able to move-up in the draft to select Kekuta.”

Manneh, 18, joins Whitecaps FC after last playing for Austin Aztex. The native of Bakau, The Gambia, was named to the 2012 USL PDL All-Central Conference team after leading the Aztex with 12 goals and nine assists in 13 matches.

Prior to playing in Austin, Manneh scored 23 goals for Lonestar SC U-17/18 in the 2011-12 United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season. In the 2010-11 season, the 5-foot-9, 140-pound striker scored 35 goals in 23 games for USSDA club Texas Rush AJ Auxerre U-15/16.

To start his career, The Gambia U-20 national team member played for Steve Biko in the Gambian top flight, where he scored 17 goals in 12 matches in his lone season with the club.

This past December, the young African was in Vancouver to train with Whitecaps FC. Previously, Manneh trained with MLS clubs Colorado Rapids, LA Galaxy, and Portland Timbers, as well as clubs in Germany and England.

“Erik is powerful and quick, and holds the ball well under pressure,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “He brings a solid goalscoring record during his time at Santa Clara and was a standout at the Combine. We are very excited that we were able to select Erik today.”

Hurtado, 22, joins Whitecaps FC after four outstanding seasons with Santa Clara University. As a senior, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward scored 15 goals and added seven assists in 19 matches with the Broncos. As a result of his efforts, he was named to the NSCAA All-Far West Region First Team and was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year.

During his four years at Santa Clara, the resident of Beaverton, Oregon, scored 33 goals and added 20 assists in 77 appearances. During his final three seasons, he was named a member of the All-West Coast Conference team.

In the summer of 2012, Hurtado played for Portland Timbers U-23 in the USL PDL, scoring six goals and recording one assist in 10 matches.

Early today, Whitecaps FC acquired the fourth overall pick from Toronto FC in exchange for tenth overall pick and allocation money.

Kekuta Manneh
Pronunciation: keh-KOO-tuh MY-nay
Position: Striker/winger
Twitter: @kekuta16
Height: 5-09
Weight: 140 lbs.
Date of Birth: December 30, 1994 in Bakau, The Gambia
Hometown: Bakau, The Gambia
Citizenship: The Gambia, United States (Permanent Resident Card)
Last Club: Austin Aztex (USL PDL)
How Acquired: Selected fourth overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft by Whitecaps FC on January 17, 2013

Erik Hurtado
Position: Striker/winger
Height: 5-09
Weight: 180 lbs.
Date of Birth: November 15, 1990 in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Hometown: Beaverton, Oregon
Citizenship: United States
Last Club: Santa Clara University Broncos
How Acquired: Selected fifth overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft by Whitecaps FC on January 17, 2013.