Gaschk on the SuperDraft
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The Seattle Sounders FC made Steve Zakuani the first pick of the 2009 SuperDraftOver the last 14 months since being introduced as the latest MLS expansion franchise, the Sounders FC have touted a desire to have an exciting team on the field. That theme continued with the SuperDraft Thursday in St. Louis.
They made a splash on the offensive side with their first pick in the 2009 SuperDraft by selecting Soccer America Player of the Year Steve Zakuani, a forward out of the University of Akron. The next three rounds saw the Sounders draft two defenders and a midfielder, though it still continued the Sounders FC efforts to build an attacking team.
“We feel like we strengthened our team yet again today. We had a great draft,” Owner/general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “In terms of some of the characteristics we’ve been looking for – speed, a good engine, exciting players, players that attack – we did extremely well.”
In the second round the Sounders FC selected Wake Forest defender Evan Brown, an attacking fullback from Raleigh, North Carolina. The third round saw the Sounders FC take left back Jared Karkas out of Azusa Pacific and midfielder Michael Fucito from Harvard in the fourth round.
But the story of the draft was first overall pick, Zakuani.
“Steve Zakuani has the potential to be a big star in soccer,” Hanauer said. “He’s got all the tools, a great pedigree, had a very good college career and we think has the potential to be very explosive and a very exciting player.”
The London, England, native who played with the Arsenal Youth program until he was 15 led the nation in goals (20) and points (47) as a sophomore last year for Akron. He was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy as the top NCAA soccer player in the country.
Brown followed with the 16th overall pick, first in the second round. The Wake Forest product notched 14 assists in his final two seasons from the right back spot and was compared by some coaches to Frankie Hejduk, whom Schmid coached with the Columbus Crew. Seattle went to the left side with their third round pick, 31st overall, with Karkas.
What is Generation adidas?
According to wikipedia, Generation adidas is a joint venture between Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer aimed at raising the level of young soccer talent in the United States. The program, sponsored by adidas, encourages early entry (without college graduation) of American players into MLS.
Generation adidas players do not count against the MLS senior roster and usually earn a salary not much higher than the league minimum. Entering into the program automatically classifies a player as professional and thus, disqualifies them from playing college soccer. As a result, Generation adidas players are also guaranteed scholarships to continue their college education should their professional career not pan out.
The final selection, 46th overall to lead off the fourth round, was Fucito, who tallied 32 goals and 24 assists in his Harvard career.
“He’s another dynamic, physically talented, left-footed player, which helps us in terms of getting covered on that side of the field,” technical director Chris Henderson said. “From that I think we’re able to get attacking players, attacking defending players, give ourselves cover on the flanks and also be able to pick up a special player which is always great.”
The four draftees will join the rest of the club for the start of training camp next week. The Sounders FC open the season against the New York Red Bulls March 19 at Qwest Field.
Notes: Henderson gave an update on Freddie Ljungberg’s recovery from recent hip surgery, saying the rehab is ahead of schedule. “We’re excited about his attitude and his willingness to get back on the field. He’s a guy who all these players will be able to feed off,” Henderson said. … The club also has reached a multi-year partnership with Bonneville Seattle Radio Group to broadcast all Sounders FC home and away matches on News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM, the team announced today. …University of Washington products George John and Raphael Cox also had good draft days. John went to FC Dallas with the 14th overall pick in the first round and Cox went to Real Salt Lake with the 54th overall pick in the fourth round.