The Seattle Sounders used their first pick in the MLS SuperDraft Thursday, No. 10 overall, to select Eriq Zavaleta, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward from the University of Indiana. The Sounders originally owned the 16th choice, but made a trade with Toronto FC to move up and select Zavaleta.
In the second round, with the 35th pick, the Sounders selected Dylan Remick, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound defender from Brown University.
“We’re pleased and very excited to get both players,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “We had Eriq Zavaleta in the top four and we were excited to get him where we did. He is very versatile and has a good soccer IQ, and obviously he’s a winner. Dylan Remick is a left back and he can also play center back. We liked him at our combine in Las Vegas. He’s steady and simple and a very good athlete.”
Zavaleta started all 24 of his school’s games in 2012 and scored 18 goals to lead the Big 10. He was a unanimous selection as Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and a first team All-Big Ten selection. Zavaleta was also named to Big Ten All-Tournament team and College Cup All-Tournament team.
He scored 18th goal of the season in win over UNC in an NCAA quarterfinal round and assisted on the game-winning goal in 1-0 win over Georgetown in NCAA College Cup Final.
Zavaleta was also selected first-team All-America by College Soccer News and Soccer America.
In the 2011 season, Zavaleta started all 22 games and led the the Big Ten in goals scored (10), points (25) and points per game (1.14).
Zavaleta spent his sophomore and junior years as a member of the U.S. Soccer U-17 National Team residency program in Bradenton, FL. He helped the U.S. advance to the round of 16 at the 2009 U-17 World Cup and won the Copa Macae in Brazil with the U-17s. He is a member of the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team pool.
“I’m looking forward to playing for such an incredible team and such an awesome fan base,” said Zavaleta. “The fan base in Seattle is unmatched by any MLS club and to be able to be a part of that is going to be an honor.”
In order to move up six picks and select Zavaleta, the Sounders surrendered the 16th overall pick and allocation money.
Zavaleta can play both forward and center back and Seattle needs help at both positions. The club is on the verge of loaning forward Fredy Montero to Colombia’s Millonarios for the 2013 season and has already traded Jeff Parke, a two-time club Defender of the Year.
Seattle’s most successful SuperDraft selection so far has been David Estrada, the team’s first-round pick in 2010. After two years of development, Estrada blossomed this past season and even led the team in goals before suffering an injury.