Seattle Sounders FC selected University of Washington standout midfielder Cristian Roldan with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Seattle traded its 27th pick and future considerations to Real Salt Lake for the 16th pick of the First Round to take Roldan, a two-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection.
The Rave Green added two more players in the Second Round, selecting Northwestern goalkeeper Tyler Miller 33rd overall and New Mexico midfielder Oniel Fisher with the 40th pick. Sounders FC acquired the 33rd selection via trade with the New England Revolution in exchange for future considerations.
As a member of the 2015 Generation adidas class, Roldan is being added to the Sounders FC roster immediately, whereas Miller and Fisher are currently unsigned SuperDraft selections.
“Today has been a rewarding experience for our technical staff and we’re pleased with the outcome,” said Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “I thought we communicated well throughout the whole process, especially in a high-stress environment. I think that bodes very well for our future of working together, and I believe we made good decisions collectively while considering different viewpoints. We had a plan coming in and we followed it, but we were able to tweak that plan to find value where we saw it, which is what we uncovered in Cristian, Tyler and Oniel.”
Roldan, a 19-year-old California native, was a two-year starter at the University of Washington, where he started 38 of his 41 appearances, accumulating 10 goals and seven assists. In addition to First Team All-Pac-12 honors in 2014, he was named to the 2014 NSCAA All-America Third Team, the TopDrawerSoccer.com Best XI and the NSCAA All-Far West Region Team in his second season with the Huskies. As a freshman in 2013, Roldan was the Soccer America Freshman of the Year, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and an All-Pac-12 First Team selection.
“We’re happy to be able to get a deal done and get Cristian Roldan. He’s a guy who we’re familiar with having played at the University of Washington, so I thought that was a big plus,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “He’s very good technically, he’s got good vision and is a strong passer of the ball. He knows our team inside and out and he can’t wait to learn from our veteran players.”
Roldan earned 2013 Gatorade National Player of the Year honors as a senior at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, California, leading his team to the Southern Section Division III title with a 29-2-1 record. He recorded 54 goals and 31 assists as a senior to go along with his 21 goals and 21 assists as a junior.
“I’ve been familiar with Seattle Sounders FC for two years now; I’ve practiced with the club and Seattle is my second home,” said Roldan. “You just never know what’s going to happen on draft day. It was honestly worth it because Seattle is one of the best cities in the country — it’s a soccer city and Sounders FC is a championship-caliber team.”
Miller, 21, was a four-year starter at Northwestern University, three-time All-Big 10 First Team selection and the school’s all-time leader with 36 career shutouts. As a senior, he led the Big Ten Conference in goals against average (0.56), save percentage (.853) and shutouts (9) en route to a unanimous choice for 2014 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year. Miller was named to the NSCAA All-Midwest Region First Team and All-America Second Team, making him the only player in the nation this year to earn All-America and Scholar All-America honors, as well as an invite to the MLS Combine.
Fisher, 23, spent two seasons at the University of New Mexico, where he started 34 of 39 appearances and recorded four goals — all game-winners — and three assists. He started 16 of his 17 appearances as a senior, scoring three goals and assisting on another. As a junior, he was part of a Lobo squad that advanced to the National Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, finishing 14-6-2 and recording 11 shutouts. He netted the game-winner in New Mexico’s 2-0 Sweet 16 win over Penn State, then assisted the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Washington in the Elite Eight.
“We thought Tyler Miller was a very, very good young goalkeeper, and for him to still be on the board at that time we were very pleased with that,” added Schmid. “Oniel Fisher is another player I felt was probably the best outside back at the combine.”
Expansion sides Orlando City SC and New York City FC held the first and second overall picks, respectively, in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Orlando made University of Connecticut forward Cyle Larin the first overall selection, while NYCFC took Oregon State forward Khiry Shelton.
The 2015 SuperDraft concludes with the Third and Fourth Rounds on Tuesday, January 20, via a teleconference call. Sounders FC holds the sixth selection of the Third Round (48th overall), as well as the 13th and 18th selections of the Fourth Round (75th and 80th overall).
Name: Cristian Roldan
Born: June 3, 1995 in Artesia, Calif.
Hometown: Pico Rivera, Calif.
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Selected in the First Round (16th overall) in 2015 MLS SuperDraft
Name: Tyler Miller
Born: March 12, 1993
Hometown: Woodbury, N.J.
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Selected in the Second Round (33rd overall) in 2015 MLS SuperDraft
Name: Oniel Fisher
Born: November 22, 1991 in Portmore, Jamaica
Hometown: Portmore, Jamaica
Acquired: Selected in the Second Round (40th overall) in 2015 MLS SuperDraft