Ghanaian countrymen and Generation adidas players, Francis Atuahene and Ema Twumasi solidify FC Dallas’ flanks
PHILADELPHIA – FC Dallas selected Francis Atuahene (Michigan, 4th overall), Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest, 11th overall), Mauro Cichero (SMU, 29th overall) and Chris Lema (Georgetown, 34th overall) during the first two rounds of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, which was held today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
The day began early for FC Dallas, who traded $200,000 of General Allocation Money to the Montreal Impact for the No. 4 overall pick. FCD used the selection to draft forward Francis Atuahene from the University of Michigan.
Atuahene, 21, played three seasons at the University of Michigan. The forward scored 24 goals and had 11 assists in 49 matches for the Wolverines from 2015 to 2017.
“My game is a very, very fast-paced style,” Atuahene said. “I make a lot of runs and get up and down the field. I am always cutting and trying to make moves in the final third. That is something FC Dallas fans are going to like. I’m going to bring that exciting game of mine to the team. Just work hard every day and adapt to the system.”
FC Dallas landed a second player born in Ghana’s capital city of Accra with the team’s natural No. 11 selection – forward Ewa Twumasi. Twumasi, 20, scored 16 goals and had 11 assists in two seasons (47 games) at Wake Forest University.
“I didn’t expect to have him available at No. 11,” said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “It was a luxury to get him. He can complement well with the players we have and they can help each other. [Francis and Ema] developed together when they were young. They will feel more familiar being close to one another. Those things are positives for FC Dallas.”
Both Atuahene and Twumasi are Generation adidas players from the Right to Dream Academy in West Africa.
“Where I come from in Ghana, not everyone has an opportunity,” said Atuahene. “Back in my village, there were kids that were even better than me that did not get this opportunity. For me, part of being a professional player, part of having an education is making a difference in other people’s lives. That is what I plan on doing. There is a lot talent in the world but people just don’t have the opportunity. I want to give opportunities to people. Being in Dallas, I will be able to help do that while also focusing on giving my best on the field.”
FC Dallas selected SMU forward Marco Cichero with the 29th overall selection. The 22-year-old forward scored 22 goals and had 17 assists in 51 matches for the Mustangs from 2015 to 2017.
“We did our homework on Mauro Cichero,” said Pareja. “We have had a lot of contact with SMU. It’s an organization that is tied to our heart. Mauro showed very well during the college season. Unfortunately he had an injury. For sure, I believe that it is not going to separate him from the game. [An ACL injury] is something that has happened to many players around the world that have founds ways to get back to being their best. We will wait for Mauro. There isn’t any rush for us to have him preforming. We wait for Mauro and when he recovers we can see what he brings to the table.”
The club added midfielder Chris Lema with the 34th overall selection. The 21-year-old was a four-year starter at University of Georgetown from 2014 to 2017, where he scored five goals and had 12 assists.
“We saw a lot of technique there,” Pareja said. “I saw a lot of composure on the ball and a player who is very smart to glue people together in the middle. We are overloading the middle, but we can find other programs where we can place these guys and let them mature. We’ll see if one of them can excel and then bring them to the first team. For me, to see a player that we believe can excel is more important than just bringing a guy to camp.”
The third and fourth rounds of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be held via conference call on Sunday, January 21. FC Dallas holds the No. 57 and 80 overall selections.
Name: Francis Atuahene
Drafted: 1st Round, No. 4 Overall
Connect with Francis: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
DOB: June 8, 1996 (21)
Birthplace: Accra, Ghana
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Name: Ema Twumasi
Pronunciation: Ee-ma Two-ma-See
Drafted: 1st Round, No. 11 Overall
Connect with Ema: Instagram | Twitter
DOB: May 18, 1997 (20)
College: Wake Forest
Birthplace: Accra, Ghana
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Name: Mauro Cichero
Drafted: 2nd Round, No. 29 Overall
Connect with Mauro: Twitter
DOB: August 1, 1995 (22)
Birthplace: Norman, Oklahoma
Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma
Name: Chris Lema
Drafted: 2nd Round, No. 34 Overall
Connect with Chris: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
DOB: August 5, 1996 (21)
Birthplace: Ridgefield, NJ
Hometown: Ridgefield, NJ