Terps left back is taken with 17th pick
D.C. United went further to get the MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis than it did to find the player it chose with its only pick, taking Maryland defender Taylor Kemp with the 17th overall selection.
After four years in College Park, the 22-year-old from Highlands Ranch, Colo., will provide depth at left back, where United called upon multiple players in 2012.
"I don't know about his impact on opening day," United coach Ben Olsen said. "But I think he's somebody that can be a real piece for this club in the future. We view him as maybe the best college left back in the country, and I think when you can get that at the 17th pick, you did OK."
Kemp had interest enough from Major League Soccer to turn professional following his junior season with the Terrapins but decided to return after Maryland was knocked out in the third round of the NCAA tournament. United's choice surprised him because he hadn't heard about their interest and didn't meet with the coaching staff during the league player combine in Florida.
"I was shocked but couldn't be any happier," Kemp said. "Playing in Maryland, D.C. was the team that I'd always kind of hoped that I would end up going to but didn't ever want to let myself get too excited about it."
Kemp was limited to 12 games (10 starts) as a senior because of a sports hernia but returned in time for Maryland's final two NCAA tournament games.
"He came back and showed a lot of guts and lot of character and commitment," Terps coach Sasho Cirvoski said. "Those are all qualities you want in your backs, and his ability to get forward is something everyone who has seen him play knows is special and I think fits into D.C.'s style."
Maryland midfielder and Oakton native John Stertzer was selected 12th overall by Real Salt Lake, while Georgetown had three players chosen. Center back Tommy Muller went 15th overall to San Jose, midfielder Ian Christianson was taken by New York with the 22nd selection and defender Jimmy Nealis was chosen by Houston with 37th pick.