Three Flint City Bucks players drafted into 2020 Major League Soccer

FLINT, Michigan—The Flint City Bucks have carried their success into the new year. Three of its players were drafted into the 2020 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, making the Bucks the only USL League Two club to have at least one player drafted for each of its 21 editions.


On Jan. 9, the MLS held the first two rounds of the draft, during which the three defensive specialists, Nyal Higgins, Patrick Nielsen, and Michael Wetungu, were named.


Nyal Higgins, a defender for the Bucks during parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons while playing at Oakland University before transferring to Syracuse for his senior season, was drafted in round one with the 19th overall pick. The Canadian native will be playing for Toronto FC, his home team.


Patrick Nielsen played with the Bucks for their 2018 and part of the 2019 seasons before being sidelined due to a leg injury. Apart from his time with the Bucks, Nielsen played for Michigan State, making a large contribution to the team’s 2018 College Cup appearance. He was drafted in the first round with the 23rd overall pick by Atlanta United FC.


Michael Wetungu, a center back for the Bucks during the 2017 and 2019 season as well as a student of former Bucks head coach Demir Muftari, was a close ally to Nielsen. The two players played a major role in maintaining tight defensive lines for both the Bucks and the Spartans. Wetungu was drafted with the 20th pick of the second round. The Michigan native will be playing for Real Salt Lake.


The three players add to the list of over 80 former Bucks to be drafted to the MLS since 1999. While the SuperDraft is over, more Flint City Bucks players will be accepting invitations to various MLS preseason training camps in the coming weeks.


The Bucks’ influence on amateur soccer is unmatched in its league. Over 200 former Bucks players have gone pro in more than a dozen countries since the team’s founding in 1996. Other accolades included four USL League Two titles with the fourth one being won last season in Flint and three USASA Hank Steinbrecher Cup.


The Bucks will return for their second season at Kettering University’s historic Atwood Stadium in May.


Read more articles by Santiago Ochoa.

Santiago Ochoa is a freelance reporter and communications student at UM-Flint. He is the project editor for On The Ground community reporting series and currently serves as The Michigan Times' Editor-in-Chief. Santiago has worked with publications and organizations like The New York Times, the Interamerican Press Association and Flint Beat. You can reach him @santi8a98 on Twitter and Instagram and email him at [email protected]
Signup for Email Alerts