Lower draft picks mean Sounders FC unlikely to get players who make immediate impact

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Sounders FC’s low position in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Being placed near the bottom of the draft order is, of course, an indication of success in the previous season.

“We’d like to have the last pick in the first round every year,” quipped sporting director Chris Henderson, referencing a position reserved for the MLS Cup winner.

But holding the 16th and 35th overall picks in the two-round draft does have certain implications, notably that Seattle probably won’t acquire players who can have an immediate starring role in the upcoming season.

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Henderson said the team will more likely be drafting players that need time to develop, much like the team’s first-round pick in the 2010 draft, David Estrada, who blossomed at the start of his third season.

Exciting? Maybe not. But such is the hit-and-miss nature of the MLS draft due to a lack of high-end prospects in the college game.

The strength of this year’s draft class, according to Henderson, is at center back, which corresponds with one of Seattle’s needs after the offseason trade of Jeff Parke, the team’s two-time Defender of the Year.

Walker Zimmerman of Furman and Andrew Farrell of Louisville are among the best available, but the Sounders would likely have to trade up for a top-five pick to select one — something Seattle officials have discussed with teams atop the draft order.

Forward could be another option with Fredy Montero close to going on loan to Colombia’s Millonarios for the 2013 season.

“The conversation at our number — at No. 16 and 35 — is, ‘Are you looking for best player? Are you looking a positional fit?’ It’s depending on what’s on the board,” Henderson said.

Even before the draft, the Sounders have already acquired a top talent from college. The team last week signed homegrown product DeAndre Yedlin, a sophomore defender from national power Akron.

The Sounders were able to circumvent the draft to sign Yedlin, a Seattle native, since the 19-year-old came up through the team’s youth development program.

“For me,” Henderson said, “DeAndre would’ve been probably a top-three pick in the draft.”

Reign FC gets

No. 7 pick in draft

The National Women’s Soccer League will hold a four-round college draft at 6 a.m. Friday, and Reign FC will pick seventh out of eight teams.

The draft order is in reverse to the perceived strength of national-team player allocations last week, as determined by a third party. Seattle was allocated goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielder Megan Rapinoe, two stars from the U.S. women’s team, among others.

The draft order goes: Chicago, Washington, Kansas City, New York/New Jersey, Boston, Western New York, Seattle, Portland.


• The Sounders Women have hired Lesle Gallimore, the longtime coach of the University of Washington’s women’s team, as technical director. Gallimore, who will retain her job with the Huskies in the fall and winter, isn’t allowed by NCAA rules to coach the Sounders Women, who are without a head coach and general manager.

• Sounders FC will hold open tryouts on March 23-24 at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. The tryouts will be organized and run by the staff of the U-23 team. Registration for players 16 and older is $50 and open at SoundersU23.com.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com

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