0

Chicago drafts Kinney, Johnson

The only two Gwinnett products in Thursday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft are now teammates.

Norcross grad Steven Kinney and Brookwood grad Sean Johnson were both selected by the Chicago Fire, giving both good shots at pro soccer careers. Gwinnett has sent just three players to MLS previously, all three from Parkview -- Josh Wolff and brothers Jason and Justin Moore.

Chicago took Kinney, who recently finished a standout career at Elon, in the third round with pick No. 45. Six picks later, the Fire drafted Johnson at the beginning of the fourth round.

Both players participated in the MLS Combine, which concluded Tuesday. The showing there really helped elevate the status of the 22-year-old Kinney, who had solid defensive showings in two games.

He started at center back in his first game, playing the full 90 minutes and scoring the game-winning goal on a diving header. He played both right back and center back in his second game.

Kinney was the only Southern Conference player at the combine, as well as the only Elon player ever to receive an invitation.

Thursday's draft was slow on goalkeepers as no team took one until the first pick of the fourth round, when UCLA's Brian Perk was selected. Two picks later, the Fire nabbed Johnson.

The 20-year-old left Central Florida early when he was chosen as one of 12 players to the 2010 class of the MLS feeder Generation Adidas, which signs promising players (who don't count against MLS teams' salary budget) and gives them grants to continue their college education.

Johnson also has been playing recently with the U.S. under-20 national team.