PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—Dreams came true today for a trio of Duke men’s soccer players as they were selected in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas in Philadelphia. Brian White was taken with the 16th overall pick and Carter Manley capped the first round selections as the No. 23 choice. Markus Fjørtoft rounded out the Duke picks at No. 45.
White, a striker, returns to his hometown squad New York Red Bulls, while Manley joins Minnesota United FC after it acquired the pick from Toronto FC via a trade of $50k of TAM and 5th pick in 2nd round. Fjørtoft was chosen by the Seattle Sounders with the 22nd pick of the second round and the 45th pick overall.
White and Manley are the fourth and fifth Blue Devils to be selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft since the inaugural one was held in 2000. It is also the first time Duke has had two players go in the opening round.
A native of Flemington, N.J., White will join the Red Bulls after a breakout summer with their PDL squad in which he led the league in goals with 17 in just 14 games. His efforts him both the PDL Golden Boot Award as the top scorer as well as the league’s Player of the Year honor.
He carried that success into his senior season with the Blue Devils, leading the team with a career-best 10 goals and two assists for 22 points. White, an All-ACC second-team pick, became the 33rd Blue Devil to earn All-America honors, capturing third-team accolades.
White recorded his first career multiple-goal game against Fordham this past August and finished 2017 with tallies in nine games overall. He netted the game-winning goals against Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Appalachian State. For his career, White registered 23 goals and 10 assists for 56 points. He played in 73 games overall with 63 starts.
He will join former Blue Devil start Sean Davis, who is a starter for the Red Bulls, after he was signed to a homegrown contract in 2014.
Manley, a stalwart outside back, joins Minnesota United FC, which is beginning its second year in MLS. In its inaugural season in the league, Minnesota posted a 10-18-6 overall record and finished ninth in the Western Conference standings. It will be looking to shore up its defense after registering a minus 23 goal differential in 2017.
A native of Elkridge, Md., Manley was a crucial piece to Duke’s defense the past three seasons and one of the toughest defenders to beat in the ACC. Arguably Duke’s most versatile and best one-on-one defender, he collected his first all-region award after helping anchor a strong year for the Blue Devil defense. A starter in all 20 games this season, Manley was superb as a right outside back as Duke posted seven shutouts en route to a fourth-place finish in the ACC and a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
An attacking-minded defender, Manley is highly effective in going forward and had a team-best five assists in 2017. For his career, he played in 58 games with 52 starts and had a goal and 12 assists for 14 points.
The quintessential team captain and leader on and off the field, Fjørtoft has been a key cog for the Blue Devils for the past four seasons. A starter in all 73 of the games he played in his career, Fjørtoft was a staple as a center back. He garnered All-ACC third team recognition in 2017 and was crucial in Duke finishing fourth in the ACC and earning the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Championships. He missed just 181 minutes in the 73 games he appeared in in his four seasons. In the past four seasons, he helped Duke to 14 shutouts, including seven this season.
An aerial threat for the Blue Devils on set pieces, the Norway native also has seven goals and two assists to his name, including the game winner at Syracuse this season. He also had the tying goal in a 3-2 win over High Point earlier in the year. His senior season has been his best, captaining Duke to seven shutouts and a 1.01 goals against average and scoring three goals.
The Asker, Norway native will be reunited with former Blue Devil Zach Mathers of the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders finished as the runner-up in the 2017 MLS Cup, falling 2-0 to Toronto FC.
This senior trio, of which White and Manley earned their degrees from Duke in December and Fjørtoft is pursuing his master’s degree, led the Blue Devils back to the national stage as Duke returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 as the No. 6 seed. It was the first time Duke had been seeded since 2006. Duke finished the year with a 13-4-3 overall record, making a six-win improvement from the previous season. The six-game improvement from a year ago matched the best one-year turnaround in Duke history, while the 13 wins are the second-most under Kerr. Duke, ranked 13th in the final national poll, advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 before falling in heartbreaking fashion in penalty kicks to Fordham.
Duke First-Round Draft Picks
2001 – Ali Curtis (2nd)
2012 – Andrew Wenger (1st)
2017 – Jeremy Ebobisse (4th)