Seattle Sounders FC selected former D.C. United defender Marc Burch with the first overall pick in Stage 2 of the Major League Soccer re-entry process Monday. Seattle players Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan officially left the franchise as they were chosen by the New England Revolution and L.A. Galaxy, respectively.
In an unrelated development, the Sounders announced that midfielder Erik Friberg had been transferred to Malmö FF of Sweden’s top flight. The Sounders did not disclose terms of the transfer. Friberg, 25, signed with Seattle in December 2010 and started 23 regular-season matches and appeared in 26. He scored one goal and contributed two assists.
Erik is starting a young family, and he feels it would be best to do so close to home,” said general manager Adrian Hanauer. “This move enables the couple to be near their families and have the proper support.”
The losses of Jaqua and Noonan came as no surprise since the Sounders had already declined contract options on each for next season.
Prior to the draft, Sounders FC swapped positions with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in return for Seattle’s third-round selection in the 2014 SuperDraft.
Burch, 27, comes to Seattle as a six-year veteran with 103 career appearances (81 starts). In 2011, he played in 17 matches, starting 11. A consistent starter on the defensive line, Burch made a career-high 28 appearances in 2008 and 25 starts in 2009. He has three goals and 10 assists in his MLS career and helped D.C. United win the Supporters’ Shield in 2007 and U.S. Open Cup in 2008.
A Maryland product, Burch was selected in the second round (24th overall) of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. After three appearances, Burch was traded to Sigi Schmid’s Columbus Crew team midway through the 2006 season, making seven appearances with five starts. He was traded to D.C. United in April 2008.
Burch played college soccer at the University of Evansville from 20022004, scoring seven goals and assisting on 22, and spent the summer months playing for the Cleveland Internationals in the amateur USL Premier Development League.
After the 2004 season, Burch transferred to the University of Maryland, where he became a member of the Terrapins squad that won the College Cup, scoring the game-winning goal in the championship against New Mexico.
Schmid likes Burch’s versatility.
“He can play the left side, either left back or left midfield, or center back,” said Schmid. “He helps us replace the loss of Tyson Wahl. I coached Marc in Columbus and I look forward to working with him again.”
Seattle Sounders FC Offseason News/Transactions
— Nov. 23: Lost defender James Riley to the Montreal Impact in the MLS expansion draft. Riley came to the Sounders in the 2008 expansion draft from the San Jose Earthquakes. After his selection, the Impact traded Riley to Chivas USA.
— Nov. 23: Accepted the resignation of lead broadcaster Arlo White, who took a position with NBC as its lead announcer on MLS coverage.
— Nov. 24: Traded defender Tyson Wahl to the Montreal Impact in exchange for allocation money. Wahl made 39 appearances for the Sounders in three seasons after coming to Seattle in the 2008 expansion draft from Kansas City, where he played three seasons.
— Dec. 2: Announced that defender Taylor Graham, a seven-year MLS veteran, and goalkeeper Terry Boss, both retired. They had been members of the Sounders since 2009.
— Dec. 6: Announced that the club would kick off its fourth season in MLS on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at home; time, opponent, and national broadcast information to be announced.
— Dec. 7: Signed Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurning as a replacement for Kasey Keller. Gspurning, 30, has been capped three times by Austria and played the past four seasons for Skoda Xanthi of Greece’s top flight.