BOSTON- Pierre Omanga isn't your typical college draft pick.
First off, he's 25 years old. And he's one of the few Division II players to enter the MLS Combine and get selected in the Superdraft. But age and collegiate competition can be subjective measures for a new player.
"He's very mature," said Southern New Hampshire University Head Coach Marc Hubbard of Omanga, who was last year's Division II player of the year. "He's a very experienced player. He's not going to be nervous or scared."
On Tuesday, the Revolution drafted Omanga 50th overall in the third round of the Superdraft. He was their only pick of the day.
Omanga is expected to join the Revolution for training camp, which begins on Jan. 25. And he's expected to bring with him all of his prowess as a goalscorer, hold-up player, and sharp-shooter as he fights for a professional contract and a spot on one MLS' most offensively creative teams.
His record as a collegiate player shows that he may have a bright future ahead. Omanga helped lead the Penmen to a National Championship last year, scoring 21 goals and adding three assists. He's a right-footed player, but is capable with his left and can play out wide even though his preferred position is striker.
That repertoire should suit Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps just fine if he chooses to stick with the hybrid 4-1-4-1 formation in 2014. And even if he doesn't, the Revolution still need a deep group of forwards that knows how to score goals.
"He's a very opportunistic goal scorer," said Hubbard via a phone interview on Wednesday morning. "He can score with both feet, his head, he's comfortable and composed in the box. He times his runs correctly. He's dangerous in the final third. Dangerous."
"He's a poacher," Hubbard continued. "He has the vision and the ability to find another guy, but if he sees a window he'll take it himself from any angle."
Most of Omanga's characteristics are in demand by the Revolution, particularly after the official loss of Juan Agudelo to Stoke City. Whether Omanga's hold-up play and shooting translate to the MLS level remains to be seen. Nevertheless, his college coach says Omanga's confident and ready for the challenge.
"He'll have a chance to prove himself. He'll be seen every day. I'm not surprised [the Revolution] selected him. He got himself into the Combine and did relatively well."
Omanga is originally from Paris but moved to the United States for college. He originally attended the University of Montevallo in Alabama, but transferred to Southern New Hampshire in 2013 for academic reasons. The fact that Hubbard and the Penmen were looking to win a National Championship was a bonus.
Omanga netted the game-winner in the title game against Carson-Newman, sealing up a 2-1 victory by converting from the penalty spot. Though the goal didn't come from the run of play, Omanga was satisfied with his performance and that he scored-- especially since he was disappointed in his play during the semifinal leg against Rockhurst.
"He's his own harshest critic," added Hubbard. "He's very focused. He's a very likeable person and gets along with everyone. He'll pick his moments to laugh and joke but he's very serious. He'll stick to himself and focus on what he does best. He lets his playing do the talking."
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