Kimani Stewart-Baynes reels away after scoring for Vaughan Azzurri in the Men's U19 Reserve Division Final
The Major League Soccer SuperDraft took place Tuesday afternoon and saw four former League1 Ontario players picked from an eligible list of nearly 400 players.
Colorado Rapids had the fourth pick of the draft and selected Kimani Stewart-Baynes from the University of Maryland. The forward developed in Vaughan Azzurri’s ranks, where the likes of Canadian internationals Alistair Johnston and Kamal Miller played before being picked in previous drafts.
Stewart-Baynes starred in Vaughan’s Men’s U19 Reserve Division campaign in 2022, notching a brace in the title decider against Rush Canada and helping his side to a convincing 3-0 victory. He netted 17 goals in 14 appearances for the Azzurri that year, and ran out three times for their U21 side.
Later in the first round, Sigma’s Marcus Caldeira was selected 20th overall by Minnesota United. The forward won the Men’s Premier Division Young (U20) Player of the Year award having made 12 appearances in 2023 and averaged a goal every other game across the season. He was also awarded All-Southeast Region status while at West Virginia University.
Syracuse University defender Olu Oyegunle was picked 33rd overall by Chicago Fire. Oyegunle has been a stalwart for Sigma over three seasons. He first played for the club in L1ON in 2019, featuring 13 times across the regular season and playoffs, before making his professional debut in the Canadian Premier League with Forge FC later that year. He then returned to Sigma for the 2022 Men’s Premier Division, playing 14 full matches and a further 300 minutes in 2023.
Caldeira and Oyegunle join an illustrious list of Sigma FC L1ON graduates who have gone on to star in MLS competition, most notably Cyle Larin, Richie Laryea, and Tajon Buchanon.
As the 39th overall pick, Malik Henry was selected by CF Montréal. He had played 10 matches in Hamilton United’s 2022 Men’s Premier Division season, scoring once in a 5-1 win against Scrosoppi. The midfielder had shone at the University of Akron, and joins the ranks at one of Canada’s three MLS clubs.
Congratulations to all of the draftees, and good luck in your new homes in professional soccer.