Opting for defensive depth, SoundersFC drafted Andrew Duran, named the Missouri Valley Conference’s defender of the year at Creighton University, with the 15th pick in the first round of Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft Thursday in Kansas City.
The 6-1, 160-pound native of Illinois was named first-team All-America by College Soccer News, as well as first-team all-MVC for the powerhouse program in Omaha, which has seen 24 players taken in the SuperDraft. He was also named national high school player of the year in 2006 by the national coaches association.
With their second-round pick, 34th overall, the Sounders selected forward Babayele Sodade (Bah-bye-elle-EE Sho-Dahd-DAY) of Alabama-Birmingham.
“We put in a great amount of time following the players,” said Sounders technical director Chris Henderson, “and we are very pleased with both players we came out with.”
Duran, 22, started all 24 games his senior year, finally putting behind him a series of health problems. His junior year was cut to five games with a knee injury. In his sophomore year, he tore tore his ACL after 14 games. His freshman year was compromised by mono-like symptoms.
“I was overjoyed when I was picked by Seattle,” said Duran, who graduated last month with a degree in marketing. “This organization does a great job with everything — top down from the ownership to everything that goes on there. I’m just overjoyed that I’m going there.”
He helped lead Creighton to one of the best defensive performances in 2011 with a 0.2 goals against average and 19 shutouts, one shy of the NCAA record.
“He is a player that’s very two-footed,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’s comfortable playing on the left side of the center in the back as well as the right side. He was the main defender on the team that was the best defensive team in the country last year so he’s got to be doing something right.”
Sodade, a 6-3, 195-pound forward, scored 13 goals with five assists as a senior and was named to the All-Conference USA first team. He made 73 appearances with 29 goals and 11 assists in his four years at UAB. The 21-year-old native native of Ontario, Canada was invited to the Canadian Olympic team camp in 2010.
“Sodade is a big presence up front, he’s got good pace,” said Schmid. “He showed well at the combine. He’s had a good career at UAB and he’s the kind of player who could be a surprise guy (as was Sporting Kansas City forward) C.J. Sapong was last year.”
With the third pick in the first round, New England selected Kelyn Rowe of Federal Way, the Pac-12 Conference player of the year at UCLA. Andrew Wenger of Duke University was chosen No. 1 overall by the expansion Montreal Impact. University of Washington midfielder Jacob Hustedt was selected by San Jose with the sixth pick of the second round.
The four-round supplemental draft, done by teleconference, will follow Tuesday, when Seattle holds the 33rd and 34th selections.
Three current Sounders FC players were selected in last year’s SuperDraft, including defender Michael Tetteh (second round, 20th overall), midfielder Servando Carrasco (second round, 27th overall) and goalkeeper Bryan Meredith (second round, 29th overall). Goalkeeper Josh Ford was also acquired in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft (first round, 11th overall).
Four other players — Steve Zakuani, Mike Fucito, David Estrada and Michael Seamon — were selected in the club’s first two SuperDrafts.
Preseason training begins Jan. 19 at the Starfire Sports in Tukwila.