Major League Soccer just sent out photos of players taken in today's SuperDraft. But they didn't include a picture of Sounders' top pick David Estrada. Apparently the league was as unprepared for the pick as was Estrada himself.
"I did not expect it at all," he said today in a conference call. "If I was taken in the third round, I was going to be happy with it. Fourth round I was thinking maybe I should go back to school."
And when he heard first round?
"I ran outside to my back year screaming my lungs out," he said.
There was a time when Estrada's high selection wouldn't have seemed so surprising. He dominated his high school team, and set UCLA freshman goal-scoring records. But he fractured his foot before his disappointing sophomore year. By his disappointing junior year, he said he was "fit as anyone can be, but mentally I was weak. I put too much pressure on myself. I thought I had to do it all." But he said he thinks he's grown since then. "I know what it takes to be successful," he said. "But I know that sometimes you’re going to hit some downhill slopes."
What he may not have known was Sounders coach Sigi Schmid -- a UCLA coaching legend -- was watching all the while. And the organization was impressed with Estrada's skill and work ethic, his fitness and his ability to run off the ball.
The Sounders project him as a wide midfielder, a role he says he likes and has played at both UCLA and the scouting combine.
Finally, he seems to know a little bit more about Seattle fans than most Seattle fans woke up this morning knowing about him.
"I just know they have a great fan base," he said. "They did really well for their first year. Their attack is awesome: Fredy Montero and Freddie Ljungberg are awesome players."
I'll try to be back later with some quotes from Schmid and technical director Chris Henderson on the Sounders' day. But for now, here's the entire SuperDraft list.