In the post SuperDraft conference call this afternoon, the Sounders braintrust said the predictably good things about draft picks Andrew Duran and Babayele Sodade. However, they also cautioned that these picks could also have a tough time making the 2012 Sounders roster, which general manager Adrian Hanauer said is good and intriguingly implied could get better from some deals that seem close to fruition.
Here are the highlights:
SIGI SCHMID on first-round pick Duran: We felt he’s a player who’s very two-footed: He’s comfortable playing on the left side of the center on the back … He also played on little right back. At the combine here he was one of the few, if not the only, defender to get a goal. He had an assist when he played 45 minutes at right back. He’s a player that we like because he was very comfortable on the ball, he was very steady, and he was the main defender on the team that was the best defensive team in the country last year. He’s got to be doing something right.
SCHMID on second-round pick Babayele Sodade: Sodade is a big body. He’s a big presence up front. He’s got good pace. Obviously for us, one of our concerns as we go into this coming season is the recovery of O’Brian White. We’ve got some forwards who can run and move and we’ve got Ochoa, but Sodade’s different: He’s much bigger than that. He showed well at the combine. He’s had a good career at UAB. And he’s the kind of player who could be a surprise guy, kind of like (Kansas City’s) C.J. Sapong was this past year.
HANAUER on the state of the club with these draft picks in hand: Clearly we were very comfortable with our team coming into the draft. I think by virtue of the fact that we were picking 15 and 34 – although it’s always a little more difficult at the draft, ultimately that’s where you want to be because it means you’re winning a lot of games during the regular season. So it’s going to be a battle, and Duran and Sodade have to come in and work hard coming out of this draft. We have a very deep and strong team. And we hope that they prove to us that they belong on the roster and then hopefully they’re going to earn minutes and have an impact on the team. But with Chris doing a great job and going out and locking up (Adam Johansson and Christian Sivebaek) with the signing of (goalkeeper Michael Gspurning), some of the other deals that are possibly pending or getting close, we’re very, very comfortable that we’re going to have a very good team.
Here is the club release on draft day:
The Seattle Sounders FC selected Creighton University defender Andrew Duran with its top pick (15th overall) and University of Alabama-Birmingham forward Babayele Sodade with its second selection (34th overall) in Thursday’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
“We are excited about the draft,” said Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson. “We put in a great amount of time following the players and we are very pleased with both players we came out with.”
“Andrew is a player that we like,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “He is a player that’s very two-footed. He’s comfortable playing on the left side of the center in the back as well as the right side. He was the main defender on the team that was the best defensive team in the country last year so he’s got to be doing something right.”
Duran, a 22-year-old defender from Creighton University, was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and NSCAA All-American Second Team in 2011. He made 59 appearances with 48 starts in his five seasons at Creighton, including injury-shortened seasons in 2008 and 2010. He made a career-high 24 starts as a senior and earned College Soccer News All-American First Team honors. He helped lead Creighton to one of the best defensive performances in 2011 with a 0.2 goals against average and 19 shutouts, one shy of the NCAA record.
Duran, a native of Mokena, Ill., graduated from Creighton in December 2011 with a degree in marketing and has worked at a camp for children with cancer, Co-ho-lo, outside of Omaha for the past two years.
“I was overjoyed when I was picked by Seattle,” said Duran. “This organization does a great job with everything top down-from the ownership to everything that goes on there. I’m just overjoyed that I’m going there.”
With its second pick (34th overall) Seattle selected University of Alabama-Birmingham forward Babayele Sodade (pronounced Bah-bye-elle-EE Sho-Dahd-DAY). The 6-3, 195-pound forward scored 13 goals with five assists as a senior and was named to the All-Conference USA First Team. Sodade, 21, made 73 appearances with 29 goals and 11 assists in his four years at UAB. The native of Ontario, Canada was invited to the Canadian Olympic team camp in 2010.
“Sodade is a big presence up front, he’s got good pace,” said Schmid. “He showed well at the combine. He’s had a good career at UAB and he’s the kind of player who could be a surprise guy like [Sporting Kansas City forward] C.J. Sapong was last year.”
Andrew Wenger of Duke University was chosen No. 1 overall by the expansion Montreal Impact. Federal Way native Kelyn Rowe, a sophomore midfielder at UCLA, was taken with the No. 3 overall pick by New England. University of Washington midfielder Jacob Hustedt was selected by San Jose with the sixth pick of the second round.
The MLS Supplemental Draft, consisting of four rounds, will be held via teleconference on Tuesday. Preseason training begins January 19 at the Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Wash.
All SuperDraft selections are expected to report to Seattle for preseason training. Sounders FC will begin its fourth MLS season by hosting Toronto FC on March 17 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC 2012 MLS SuperDraft Selections
1st Round, 15th Pick, 15th Overall
Hometown (Citizenship): Mokena, Illinois (USA)
College: Creighton (2007-2011)
High School: Lincoln-Way East HS
2nd Round, 15th Pick, 34th Overall
Hometown (Citizenship): Windsor, Ontario (Canada/USA)
College: University of Alabama-Birmingham (2008-2011)
High School: Holy Names HS
Pronunciation: Bah-bye-elle-EE Sho-Dahd-DAY