It might not have been the most traditional route to professional soccer, but Wyatt Omsberg made the most of the journey.

Omsberg, a Belgrade native and 2014 Scarborough High School graduate, made history Friday when he became the first Maine native to be selected in the opening round of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

Minnesota United FC took Omsberg — a central defender who played two seasons at Messalonskee before transferring to Scarborough — with the 15th selection.

Omsberg, who graduated from Dartmouth College last month, is also the first Ivy League player to be selected in the first round of an MLS draft.

Omsberg watched the draft live Friday when his name was called. Members of the Minnesota coaching staff called shortly after.

“It’s been a whirlwind of a day,” said Omsberg, who helped the Red Storm win Class A state titles in 2012 and ’13. “I’m really excited about it. To be honest, it’s always one of those things where as a little kid you think it would be super-cool to play professional soccer someday.”

The MLS SuperDraft features four rounds. Omsberg was Minnesota’s second selection in the first round — it selected forward Mason Toye of Indiana University at No. 7.

According to an ESPN.com story, the average MLS player salary in 2016 was $ 316,777.33, although multi-million dollar contracts given to ex-European stars inflate that figure. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick — Minnesota striker Abu Danladi — is making $125,000 per year, according to mlsplayers.org. Colorado’s Sam Hamilton, a midfielder, was chosen at No. 15 overall last year and makes $65,000 annually.

After graduating from Scarborough, Omsberg enjoyed a standout career at Dartmouth, earning Ivy League’s Defender of the Year honors in 2016 and 2017. He was also a three-time All-American and led a defensively-dominant Big Green squad to the NCAA Tournament last fall — it posted nine shutouts and a 0.73 goals against average.

“I probably didn’t seriously start thinking about (being drafted) until the end of freshman year, my sophomore year of college,” said Omsberg, who scored six game-winning goals out of the back during his college career. “With being a kid from Maine, and the expectations, you don’t really know how realistic it is. My coaches started talking more that this could really happen for me.”

Omsberg added he felt overlooked after his high school career, as friends and teammates were entertaining scholarship offers from big NCAA Division I programs. But landing at Dartmouth proved to be a good fit.

“I have been really blessed, really,” he said. “With all the help from everybody in Maine, a little bit of luck has probably gotten me here. I kind of flew under the radar for a lot of teams coming out of Maine, and it maybe took me longer to develop than most players, but I think that put a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. It made me work a little harder.”

Omsberg’s father, Eric, thought his son had a chance to go even higher in the draft, but Minnesota traded away its No. 5 overall pick to Chicago. Omsberg was the eighth defender of the first 15 players to be drafted in the opening round.

“We’re ecstatic,” Eric Omsberg said. “They loved him at (the MLS Player Combine in Orlando), talking him up all week and he really showed well on the field. … Minnesota is an absolutely perfect fit for him. He’s got a really good chance to play and start right away. He’s really excited.

“Belgrade community soccer, the (Waterville) NOVAS, Tom Sheridan at Messalonskee — they’re all responsible in some way for Wyatt’s development as a player.”

Sheridan only coached Omsberg for two seasons at Messalonskee, but he recognized he had a special player.

“Super kid and a fantastic player. I think this is just awesome news,” Sheridan said. “His soccer IQ was phenomenal, even as a freshman and sophomore.”

Omsberg was a central midfielder for the 2011 Messalonskee team that played in the Class A state final. That season marked the lone regional soccer title for the program.

“He was a huge part of that,” Sheridan said. “He was offensively and defensively minded. He controlled the tempo of games, even at a young age.”

Wyatt Omsberg acknowledged he doesn’t know much about Minnesota, but he’s heard that it resembles Maine. He said he expects to learn more details of what the next couple of weeks will hold over the weekend.

“From what I can tell it’s a lot like Maine,” Omsberg said. “I’m lucky to be going to a place that will remind me of home.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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