Carrieri, drafted first overall by the San Jose Earthquakes, becomes just the fourth former Tar Heel selected No. 1 in a major professional league's draft.
Basketball players James Worthy and Brad Daugherty were the first selections in the NBA draft in 1982 and 1986, respectively. Baseball player B.J. Surhoff went No. 1 in 1985.
"Being picked No. 1 overall, that just overwhelms me with happiness," Carrieri said in a statement released by UNC. "I'm extremely excited about playing in San Jose for the Earthquakes. I know a lot is expected of me, and I look forward to the challenge."
Carrieri led the nation in scoring as a junior during the 2000 season, scoring 25 goals in 24 games (a UNC record) for the 21-3 NCAA quarterfinalists.
He forfeited his final year of collegiate eligibility Jan. 17, when he signed with Project-40, a joint venture of MLS and U.S. Soccer aimed at providing extensive professional experience to players with eligibility remaining.
Also drafted Monday were former Tar Heels Eddie Robinson (20th overall by San Jose) and Caleb Norkus (50th overall by D.C. United).
Carrieri and Robinson will now make their home in the Bay Area, an area that has not been kind to the local MLS club. The 'Quakes -- known from 1996-99 as the Clash -- have made the playoffs only once in club history.
Last season, San Jose finished at the bottom the MLS standings with a record of 7-17-8 (29 points). The 'Quakes also had the worst offense in the league, scoring 35 goals throughout the 32-game season.
That San Jose picked last season's most prolific goal scorer in collegiate soccer is not all that surprising.