Minnesota United chose to give their pocketbook and their defense a boost with their third and final pick in the SuperDraft’s first two rounds. They traded their original 25th overall pick to the Philadelphia Union for $50k in 2018 general allocation money and the 42nd pick. The Loons selected defender/midfielder Thomas de Villardi, a Frenchman playing for the University of Delaware.
#MNUFC selects Thomas De Villardi of the University of Delaware with the 42nd pick of the 2017 @mls SuperDraft.— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) January 13, 2017
De Villardi has had an interesting journey to Major League Soccer, with his beginnings in France. He played with a couple of youth clubs during his childhood and caught the attention of Guingamp at age 14. He spent four years at the Ligue 1 club’s training center, but grew bored with his work and needed a change of scenery.
A partnership between MLS and the FFF (French Football Federation) allowed the de Villardi to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he immediately began play. He made 27 appearances for the Dukes, scoring 2 goals while racking up 7 assists during his 2 seasons. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team his freshman year and was made a captain in his sophomore year.
De Villardi transferred to the University of Delaware after his sophomore season and had successful junior and senior campaigns for the Blue Hens, scoring two goals and assisting on three more as a midfielder. He was named to the Colonial Athletic Association First Team in both of his seasons.
Thomas de Villardi was drafted by United despite the fact that he was not invited to the 2017 MLS Combine. It should also be noted that de Villardi has American papers and will not take up an international slot for the Loons.