For 77 young soccer players, next Thursday will be a day to remember as their names are called in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.
Sounders FC forward Eriq Zavaleta and defender Dylan Remick remember very well what that time was like, having gone through the process themselves just one year ago. However, to say that they remember the days leading up to the draft with fondness would be a bit of a misrepresentation.
“It’s a nerve-wracking feeling for sure,” said Zavaleta.
“It’s stressful and anxious. It’s a whirlwind of emotions,” Remick agreed. “You could potentially have a job or a team to try and earn a spot for a job. The excitement and nerves and stress were all part of it.”
Zavaleta had just finished winning a national championship in his sophomore season at Indiana University when he was offered a Generation adidas contract. Remick finished his four-year career at Brown University and both went to the MLS Combine in Florida in hopes of adding to their impressive college resumes.
Both were also then faced with an unfamiliar scenario in front of them. Whereas Zavaleta and Remick chose where they would attend college, they wouldn’t have much input as to where they would be selected in the SuperDraft.
When the 10th selection came up and Toronto was slated to choose, Sounders FC pounced on the opportunity to move up in the draft order, sending the 16th overall pick and allocation money to Toronto FC to select Zavaleta, easing the tension for the then-20-year-old.
“The best feeling you get is when you hear your name called. Up until that point, it’s not quite as fun, but once you hear your name called, it’s all worth it,” he said. “I was fortunate to go to such a great soccer city and such a great organization. Whether or not I was able to help them in the first year, I was able to learn.”
Remick watched from home and had to wait a bit longer to hear his name. Picks ticked away in the second round until finally Seattle selected him 35th overall.
“It didn’t matter where I went, as long as I went somewhere that I would be able to play soccer a little bit longer,” he said. “Fortunately, I landed in arguably the best soccer city in the country. So I was really ecstatic when I heard Seattle drafted me. It’s an unbelievable organization with an unbelievable fanbase.”
Though the weeks leading up to the draft may have been filled with uncertainty and stress, Zavaleta and Remick will always remember the day they were drafted by Sounders FC. In a matter of days, that memory will be made again for another crop of players.
The MLS SuperDraft is scheduled for January 16 at 9 am PT. Sounders FC holds the 13th, 21st, 55th and 77th overall picks.