UPDATED: Austin FC Trades Nate Jones for General Allocation Money in MLS SuperDraft

UTRGV’s Bryant Farkarlun selected in second round

Updated: Austin FC traded the draft rights to Nate Jones, the player it selected 5th overall in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for $250,000 in General Allocation Money. Austin also swapped second-round picks with Colorado, moving up from 34th overall to 31st overall.

With the 31st pick, Austin FC selected Bryant Farkarlun, a 5-7 forward from UT Rio Grande Valley. The 22-year-old, originally from Liberia, scored five goals in 12 matches his senior year with the Vaqueros and was named an All-WAC First Team selection.

Original story:

With the first draft pick of the Rodolfo Borrell era, Austin FC selected Nate Jones, a left-footed center back from the University of Washington, fifth overall in Tuesday’s 2024 MLS SuperDraft.

Jones was a two-year starter for a UW program known for producing top center back prospects. The 6-3 defender from Gig Harbor, WA helped the Huskies win a PAC 12 championship in 2022, and was named First Team All-Conference in 2023. At No. 5 overall, he was the first defender taken in the draft.

It’s not the first time Austin FC has plucked a UW center back in the first round of the SuperDraft. Back in 2021, the club used its second first-round pick (No. 11 overall) on former Husky Freddy Kleemann, who went on to make just three appearances in Verde. Borrell and company will certainly hope Jones’ future in Austin is much more fruitful.

Though Austin FC’s senior roster is thin at center back with just Julio Cascante, Matt Hedges, and Leo Väisänen manning the position, the likeliest first stop for Jones in his pro career will be with Austin FC II. “FCito” won the MLS NEXT Pro championship in its first-ever season in 2023, but lost its starting center back, Kipp Keller, when Austin FC traded his contract rights to FC Cincinnati earlier in December. Jones could slot into the space vacated by Keller to begin the 2024 campaign.

The SuperDraft has yielded mixed results for Austin FC since the club joined MLS in 2021. That year, Austin held the first overall pick and took Dani Pereira, a literal day-one starter for the club and one of the most impactful players to come out of the SuperDraft in recent memory. The following season, El Tree took Keller with the fifth overall pick, who in two seasons in Austin failed to latch on with the senior team. Then, a year ago, ATXFC used the 13th pick on CJ Fodrey and the 20th pick on Valentin Noël, who both helped Austin FC II win the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro championship.

For more Austin FC news and analysis, visit The Austin Chronicle's Austin FC hub. Follow “The Verde Report” columnist Eric Goodman on Twitter: @goodman.

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