Michigan State defender Patrick Nielsen was selected in the first round, 23rd overall, by Atlanta in the MLS SuperDraft Thursday.
Nielsen, who played briefly this summer for the USL League 2 national champion Flint City Bucks, was one of three Michigan college players taken in the annual draft.
The Dane was joined by Spartan backline partner Michael Wetungu, who went to the Real Salt Lake in the second round (46th overall). Michigan forward Jack Hallahan was selected by LAFC with the 50th overall pick.
Nielsen, who missed seven matches due to injury, appeared in 10 games this season as a redshirt junior for the Spartans where he earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors. The 6-foot-4, 187-pound defender was named First Team All-Big Ten during MSU's College Cup run in 2018, scoring the team's lone goal in a 5-1 national semifinal loss to Akron.
The Copenhagen native was on the preseason Hermann Trophy watch list.
Wetungu (Rochester Hills/Adams) started in 12 and appeared in 17 matches for the Spartans, who finished 3-12-3. Wetungu had a goal in a 3-1 victory over Ohio State.
Wetungu, who also appeared in a couple of matches for Flint City this summer, started 68 games for MSU during his four-year college career.
Hallahan notched 26 goals and 21 assists in 79 appearances during his career with Michigan. In 2018, the Redditch, England native was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and earned United Soccer Coaches' Second Team All-American honors. Hallahan played this
The third and fourth rounds of the MLS SuperDraft will take place Monday by conference call.