The Sounders Tuesday selected midfielders Stefano Rijssel (55th overall) and Fabio Pereira (77th overall) in the final two rounds of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The 21-year-old Rijssel is a veteran of five pro seasons in Trinidad and Tobago and his native Suriname, while the 22-year-old Pereira played four seasons at the University of Michigan.
Rijssel participated in the inaugural MLS Caribbean Combine in early January, where he earned a trip to the MLS Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Rijssel scored three goals in three matches for Trinidad’s W Connection in the 2013-14 season, and scored a career-high four goals in 13 appearances in the 2012-13 season. Prior to joining W Connection, Rijssel played for Inter Moengotapoe and SV Leo Victor in Suriname.
“Stefano is a young player that Ezra Hendrickson scouted at the Caribbean combine and we all saw at the MLS Combine,” said Sounders assistant Kurt Schmid. ”He showed good tactical sense as well as physical qualities. He can play wide in midfield but also has some versatility.”
Pereira graduated from Michigan ranked No. 2 in school history with 22 assists and ninth with 13 goals. He started 66 of 79 appearances at Michigan, highlighted by his junior season when he ranked second in the Big Ten with eight assists, adding a career-high six goals. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pereira was named team MVP in 2011 and earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors in 2010.
“Fabio has done well throughout his college career,” said Schmid. ”He’s a player we had a chance to work with closely at our Las Vegas combine. We like his soccer IQ and technical ability. Fabio can play all over midfield and has a good engine. Both players have the ability to compete for a spot on our roster.”
Sounders preseason training begins Jan. 25 at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. Seattle hosts MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City March 8 in the “March to Soccer Opening Match” at CenturyLink Field.