David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: email@example.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Sounders staff comment on MLS draft choices
The 2009 Major League Soccer SuperDraft is over and in less than a week the Seattle Sounders will begin training camp. The club picked Arsenal-trained striker Steve Zakuani number one overall, and followed up with some defensive choices. Evan Brown and Jared Karkas are defensive backs that play on opposite sides. Seattle's last pick was mifielder / forward Michael Lucito from Harvard.
Other news: Freddy Montero to join Sounders training camp next week, and club announces radio deal.
Here are a few post-draft comments from GM Hanauer and Head Coach Schmid.
Adrian Hanauer: "We feel like we had a great draft. Again, I’ll probably let Sigi [Schmid] and Chris [Henderson] speak more to the playing attributes, but in terms of…some of the characteristics that we’ve been looking for—speed, a good engine, exciting players, players that attack—we feel like we did extremely well. Obviously, Steve Zakuani as the number one pick, just to speak a little bit about him, has the potential to be a big star in soccer. He’s got all the tools, a great pedigree, grew up in the Arsenal youth system, obviously had a very good college career and we think has the potential to be very explosive and a very exciting player. Also, a very good young man. I’ll talk a bit about Evan Brown and then maybe open it up again: just a good, quality soccer player, very—I would say—balanced, a great engine, he gets up and down the line, defends well one-on-one, also great in the attack. That was very important. Sigi may speak more to it, but having attacking defenders…is very important. So, I’ve been generalizing, but we did extremely well. We got players that we were interested in, and ultimately, it depends how they all fit into the system and whether we produce results in the end, but it was a good day for Seattle Sounders FC.”
Sigi Schmid: "I’m very happy with how things went and what we accomplished. I think Steve Zakuani—starting with him—I think he has a huge upside: he’s got qualities that you can’t teach. Players are either comfortable on the ball or they’re not. They have an ability to run at people with the ball. He’s got these abilities. He’s got some goal-scoring experience. He’s comfortable coming left to right, which you don’t always find. A lot of forwards are more comfortable coming the other way sometimes. He’s got the potential to be very, very special. When you have a chance to nab a player like that, that’s something you definitely have to do. Evan Brown is an attacking right back. I think in his last two games at Wake Forest playing on the right back position, he had 14 assists. As his coach at Wake Forest said to me, he’s got an engine similar to Frankie Hejduk and I think Frankie’s had a pretty good career. So if we can see some of that engine and see him getting forward, that’s going to make us a much more entertaining team, and also a much more difficult team to defend. Jared Karkas is a player that I know and is sort of a left-footed version of Evan Brown. He’s another player…who’s very attacking-minded, played very well in the PDL summer league where he was going against Division I and all kinds of players, and he was good enough to play in the middle of the back. He’s left-footed, but he’s another player who’s very attack-minded when he plays outside back, which is good. Mike Fucito—I heard the question before about the Harvard education—my last question to him was, ‘Is this something you’re excited about doing?’ and he goes, ‘Expletive yes!’ [Laughs.] So I think he’s into it. He knows a guy in the league by the name of Cory Gibbs who came out of Brown. He’s done fairly well in soccer and that’s the world that he went into, so again, talking to coaches that I knew that knew him, talking to his old coach at Harvard, John Kerr, he had nothing but the highest praise for him, and he’s coached him since he was 14 years old. My question to John Kerr was, ‘Would he have started for you at Duke?’ and he said, ‘Without question he would’ve started.’ He’s another very dynamic, physically-talented, left-footed player, which helps us in terms of getting cover on that side of the field. From that, I think we were able to get attacking players, attacking defending players to give ourselves cover on the flanks and also be able to pick up a special player, which is always great.
“There’s still one more phase to come, and that final phase, there’s still some international signings that we’re working on, that we want to add to this group as well. That’s sort of the final phase of it. Then, looking at it on paper, we don’t feel there’s any holes, but once you get out there and the day-to-day grind of training, once you see how the chemistry is, how it works together—that’s when you’ll be able to see, and the coaching staff will be able to determine, ‘We need a little bit more here, we’ve got a little bit too much here.’…Or maybe there’s an additional player that we need to try and sign. But right now, when we look at the balance of our team at the positions that guys—we think—play best at, I think we’ve got pretty good cover, pretty good balance. I think if we walked into training tomorrow, and with 22 players, played 11 v. 11, I think we could field two good 11 v. 11 sides that have all the positions covered.”