RENTON, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC selected midfielders Stefano Rijssel (55th overall) and Fabio Pereira (77th overall) in the final two rounds of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Tuesday.
Rijssel (REE-sell), 21, participated in the inaugural MLS Caribbean Combine in early January, where he earned a trip to the MLS Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He has played five professional seasons in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname. Rijssel has scored three goals in three matches for Trinidad’s W Connection in the 2013/14 season, and scored a career-high four goals in 13 appearances in the 2012/13 season. Prior to joining W Connection, Rijssel played for Inter Moengotapoe and SV Leo Victor in his native Suriname.
“Stefano is a young player that we all saw at the MLS Combine,” said Assistant Coach and Scout Kurt Schmid. “He showed good tactical sense as well as physical qualities. He can play wide in midfield but also has some versatility.”
Pereira, 22, was a four-year starter at the University of Michigan, where he graduated second in program history with 22 career assists and ninth with 13 goals. He started 66 of his 79 appearances at Michigan, highlighted by his junior season when he ranked second in the Big Ten with eight assists, adding a career high six goals. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pereira was named team MVP in 2011 and earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors in 2010.
“Fabio has done well throughout his college career,” said Schmid. “He’s a player we had a chance to work with closely at our Las Vegas combine as well. We like his soccer IQ and technical ability. Fabio can play all over midfield and has a good engine. Both players have the ability to compete for a spot on our roster.”
Sounders FC preseason training begins on January 25 at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Wash. Seattle hosts MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City on March 8 in the March to Soccer Opening Match on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC 2014 MLS SuperDraft Selections
3rd Round, 17th Pick, 55th Overall
4th Round, 20th Pick, 77th Overall
Hometown (Citizenship): Sao Paulo, Brazil (Brazil)
High School: South Kent (Conn.)