The Seattle Sounders traded their top pick -- No. 15 overall -- in today’s MLS SuperDraft to the Chicago Fire for left back Joevin Jones.
In the second round, the team picked left-footed central defender Tony Alfaro of Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills and midfielder Zach Mathers from Duke.
Here’s an overview from general manager Garth Lagerwey:
“We’re excited to have added a couple of players to our team: a young centerback. On an organizational basis we really wanted to get deeper at the centerback position, from academy to S2 to first team. We got a left-footed centerback, which is a little bit harder to find, a kid with good feet, good size, and real potential. We’ll see how he develops. We got Zach Mathers, a kid from Duke, a very smart soccer player, again a very good technical player who played a little bit father forward in college than we might project him to play a little bit deeper in midfield as a pro. So we’ll see how that shakes out, but another guy that we think long-term can develop and will definitely get some experience with S2 and hopefully use that as a vehicle to improve and get better.
“The one other move that we made was a trade to get a potential starter at a positon of need. (Jones is) a player that we’re really excited about from Chicago. We’ll leave it at that.”
With the acquisions -- especially the trade -- Lagerwey said there isn’t a lot left to do with the Seattle roster.
“I think we’re pretty close to full now,” he said. “I think you’ll see us add more bodies in midfield potentially, but I believe we have a potential starting lineup intact. But I want to stress that we want competition for positions everywhere all over the field. No one’s been handed anything. But I’ll say this. I think we have some guys with the potential and the capability of starting, going forward on February 23 against Club America. I think we’re pretty much covered on a positional basis all over the field.”
Here’s the club press release on Jones:
Seattle Sounders FC today acquired defender Joevin Jones from the Chicago Fire in exchange for the 15th selection in today's MLS SuperDraft and general allocation money. Jones, a 24-year-old Trinidad & Tobago international, made 28 appearances in his first MLS campaign last season, logging 2,257 minutes for the Fire. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, additional terms of the trade are not being disclosed.
"We are excited to add a player of Joevin's caliber to our roster," said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. "Making our roster younger and faster has been a priority for the club this offseason, and acquiring a player like Joevin fits that bill."
Jones signed with Chicago prior to the 2015 season following a five-year career in Trinidad & Tobago and Finland. He started 26 of 28 appearances for the Fire last season, recording one goal and one assist, including the opening strike in a 3-2 win over Toronto FC on April 4. Jones made his professional debut at age 17 with W Connection of Trinidad & Tobago's TT League after spending two seasons with the club's youth program. He went on to play in 55 league matches for the Savonetta Boys from 2009-2014, leading his club to Pro League titles in 2011 and 2013 and scoring 26 goals. His 14 tallies in 2013 ranked second in the TT League. He was loaned to HJK Helsinki of the Finnish top division in 2014, making six appearances.
"Joevin is a player with speed and versatility that can come in and help our team," said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. "He played well for Chicago this past season and we look forward to seeing what he brings to our roster."
Since making his international debut with Trinidad & Tobago on September 7, 2010, Jones has been a consistent presence for the Soca Warriors, logging 37 career appearances. In 2012, Jones helped his country earn qualification to its first CONCACAF Gold Cup in six years after finishing second in the Caribbean Cup. He recorded his first career international goal in the Group Stage of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Guatemala.
"We're excited to bring him into our group for the upcoming season," said Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson. "As a young, athletic and versatile player, we expect Joevin to make a strong impact on our team throughout 2016."
Aside from the Jones deal, Sounders FC acquired two additional players in Thursday's 2016 MLS SuperDraft: Tony Alfaro from Cal State Dominguez Hills with the 27th overall selection and Zach Mathers from Duke University with the 35th pick.
TRANSACTION: Seattle Sounders FC acquires defender Joevin Jones via trade from Chicago Fire in exchange for First Round pick in 2016 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money.
Name: Joevin Jones
Born: August 3, 1991 in Carenage, Trinidad & Tobago
Hometown: Carenage, Trinidad & Tobago
Citizenship: Trinidad & Tobago
Acquired: Acquired via trade from Chicago Fire in exchange for Sounders FC's First Round pick (15th overall) in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money
Previous Experience: Chicago Fire (2015); HJK Helsinki (2014); W Connection (2009-2014)
Here is the club release on the two draft picks:
Seattle Sounders FC selected Cal State Dominguez Hills defender Tony Alfaro and Duke midfielder Zach Mathers in the Second Round of today's 2016 MLS SuperDraft. After sending its First Round pick (15th overall) in a trade to the Chicago Fire in a deal to acquire defender Joevin Jones, Seattle selected Alfaro 27th overall and Mathers 35th, respectively.
"I'm excited to draft two talented players today," said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. "On an organizational basis, we really wanted to get deeper at the centerback position from the Academy to S2 to the First Team. We got a left-footed centerback in Tony Alfaro, which is a little bit harder to find - a kid with good feet, good size and real potential. Zach Mathers, a kid from Duke, is a very smart soccer player. Again, he's another very good technical player who we think can develop long-term."
Alfaro, 22, was named a First Team All-American by the NSCAA and a Division II CCA Second Team All-American after starting all 21 of his appearances as a senior. As team captain and the California College Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year in 2015, Alfaro led the Toros with 1,954 minutes to along with six goals. The Santa Barbara native started 71 of his 75 appearances in his collegiate career and was a four-time All-CCAA selection.
Mathers, 21, was a three-time All-ACC selection at Duke, including a First Team nod as a senior in 2015. The Keller, Texas native led the Blue Devils last season with eight goals, eight assists and 64 shots, completing a collegiate career in which he started 69 of 71 appearances and recorded 14 goals and 18 assists.
Earlier in the day, Sounders FC traded its First Round selection (15th overall) along with general allocation money to the Chicago Fire in exchange for defender Joevin Jones. The 24-year-old Trinidad & Tobago international made 28 appearances in his first MLS campaign last season, logging 2,257 minutes for the Fire.
The 2016 MLS SuperDraft concludes with the Third and Fourth Rounds on Tuesday, January 19, via a teleconference call. Sounders FC holds the 13th selection of the Third Round (54th overall), as well as the 15th selection of the Fourth Round (76th overall).
Name: Tony Alfaro
Born: June 15, 1993
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Selected with the seventh pick of the Second Round (27th overall) in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft
Name: Zach Mathers
Born: April 14, 1994 in Fort Worth, Texas
Hometown: Keller, Texas
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Selected with the 15th pick of the Second Round (35th overall) in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft