Jan. 28, 2008
NEW YORK - UC Santa Barbara senior forward Tino Nuñez was drafted by Real Salt Lake and defender Greg Curry was selected by the expansion San Jose Earthquakes in the 2008 Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft last Friday. Nuñez was taken in the second round with the 17th overall pick and Curry went in the third at No. 29.
UCSB's record-shattering year in terms of the draft continued last week as Nuñez and Curry became the fifth and sixth Gauchos to be drafted by an MLS side in 2008. They join former teammates Ciaran O'Brien, Andy Iro, Eric Avila, and Brennan Tennelle in the professional ranks to complete the largest draft class in program history. On January 18 O'Brien and Iro became the first players to come out of UCSB to go in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. O'Brien was chosen by Colorado with the fifth overall pick and Iro went to Columbus at No. 6. Avila then went to F.C. in the second round with the 19th overall selection and Real Salt Lake claimed Tennelle in the third round at No. 37.
Prior to this year's draft, a total of five former Gauchos had been selected in the SuperDraft, with Memo Arzate and David McGill the only two players to go in the same year (2004). Nuñez and Curry are the sixth and seventh players from Santa Barbara to be chosen in the Supplemental Draft.
A transfer from Compton Community College, Nuñez joined the Gauchos before the start of the 2004 season and made an immediate impact, finishing with two goals and six assists to help UCSB reach the national title game. After a torn ACL forced him to miss the 2005 season, Nuñez finally returned healthy in 2007 and went on to have a career year. The Long Beach, Calif. native started all 21 games and scored a career-high five goals while dishing out five assists. Nuñez appeared in 63 career matches, starting 34, and tallied eight goals and 11 assists.
Curry has been as solid a defender as UCSB has had during his time in Santa Barbara, starting 20 matches during his first year on campus in 2003 and guiding the Big West's top-ranked defense to a 1.02 goals against average. After redshirting the 2005 season, the Sacramento, Calif. native led a Santa Barbara defense that posted 12 shutouts and a goals against average of 0.86 during its run to the program's first national title in 2006. With Curry on the field, the Gaucho defense allowed one goal during the College Cup. For his career, the defender appeared in 62 matches and started 51.
Tennelle and Nuñez join former teammate Kyle Reynish in Salt Lake, looking to improve the fortunes of a club that finished last in the Western Conference standing at 6-15 last season. The former goalkeeper was selected by RSL with the 43 overall pick in the 2007 Supplemental Draft. All three players were members of UCSB's national championship team in 2006.