Jan. 19, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara senior midfielder Eric Frimpong was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards and goalkeeper Kyle Reynish was selected by Real Salt Lake in the 2007 Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft, it was announced Thursday. Frimpong was chosen as the 30th overall pick, while Reynish was taken at No. 43 to become the ninth and tenth Gauchos drafted by an MLS team in the last five years.
Frimpong and Reynish are the second and third Gauchos to join the MLS professional ranks after UCSB claimed the program's first-ever national championship in December. They follow senior midfielder Bryan Byrne, who was drafted by the New England Revolution in the third round with the 38th overall pick in last week's Superdraft.
Frimpong played in 24 of the Gauchos' 25 games this season, starting 18, and finished with two goals and one assist. The native of Sunyani, Ghana netted the game-winner in Santa Barbara's final regular season contest, a 4-0 victory over UC Riverside to clinch the Big West title and advance to fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament. In his two years at UCSB, the talented midfielder appeared in a total of 45 matches, scored four goals and tallied five assists. Excellent with the ball, Frimpong was a cornerstone of one of the nation's most talented midfields during the Gauchos' unbelievable run to the national championship.
Reynish spent every minute between the posts for the Gauchos over the past two seasons and leaves UCSB third on the all-time shutout list with 24. A 2006 All-Big West Second Team selection and the conference's co-goalkeeper of the year, the Valencia, Calif. native led the league in saves (102), save percentage (.823), and shutouts (12). Reynish was tremendous during UCSB's title run, especially durint the College Cup. He made five tremendous saves in the semifinal against No. 2 seed Wake Forrest, forcing overtime and eventually a penalty kick shoot-out. The senior keeper followed that with a tremendous performance against UCLA in the final, recording four saves to preserve the Gauchos' lead. During his career, Reynish played in 57 matches and allowed 42 goals. He has a career goals against average of .80 with 180 saves and record of 33-13-4.
The 2006 class of Byrne, Frimpong, and Reynish joins Memo Arzate (2004), Rob Friend (2004), David McGill (2004), Danny Kennedy (2005), Tony Lochhead (2005), Drew McAthy (2005), and Ivan Becerra (2006) in the elite class of players to be selected by an MLS squad coming out of UCSB.