Earthquakes draft -- breaking it down

January 12, 2012, 11:32 pm
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First round -- pick No. 6 -- Sam GarzaAge: 22
Ht: 5-11
Wt: 160
Projected position: Midfield
School: UCSB, University of Denver
Honors: 2008 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Newcomer of the Year (DU), 2010 Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year. 2010 First Team All-Big West, 2010 NSCAA DI Far West All-Region Team (UCSB)
Intangible: Versatility

An electric attacking talent, Garza often played as a forward in college, but has been projected by most analysts to play out wide in MLS. With Marvin Chavez and Shea Salinas already penciled in at right wing, though, he could see time on the left wing, where there is still some uncertainty, or he could stay up top, where there is no player on the roster in that position with comparable speed. Garza, who led UCSB in scoring in the 2010 season with nine goals and six assists for a total of 24 points, boasts a powerful right foot, good technique and could contribute immediately off the bench for the Earthquakes.

In addition to his college experience, Garza has played with the U.S. U-20 national team, where he was part of a group that finished second in CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualifying. He was then called to the U.S. squad for the 2009 U-20 World Cup, but had to pull out due to injury. Garza is also a Generation adidas player, meaning he has already signed a contract and will be immediately added to the Earthquakes roster, where he will not count against the salary cap until he graduates from his Generation adidas contract.Earthquakes GM John Doyle: We added another exciting, explosive player in Sam Garza, who we think will be a great addition to the team. We saw him a lot at UC Santa Barbara and were very impressed.
Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop: Sam has a very good pedigree having played with the U.S. U-20 team and for a very good college program. He is fast and skillful and every time we saw him with (UC) Santa Barbara, he was outstanding.
Second round -- pick No. 6 (No. 25 overall) -- Jacob Hustedt
Age: 21
Ht: 5-9
Wt: 170
Projected position: Midfield
School: Washington, Cal Poly-SLO
Honors: 2009 All-Big West Conference second team (Cal Poly), 2011 First-Team All-Pac-12 (Washington)
Intangible: Determination, work rateHustedt did not feature at the MLS Combine, but instead came to the attention of the Earthquakes staff at a private combine in San Jose. The Utah native had a breakout year in 2011 after transferring to Washington from Cal Poly, where he was ranked 97th in Soccer Americas Top 100 Pro Prospects in the preseason. During the 2011 season, he started 16 of 18 games for the Huskies and registered six goals and five assists. Though he is nominally a defensive midfielder, Hustedt could find himself in a more advanced position as he transitions to MLS. He is not afraid to get forward and take shots, while the Earthquakes have said that the coaching staff was impressed by his ability to take on defenders one-on-one. While he probably wont start right away, he could add depth to the roster and put some pressure on the Earthquakes midfield corps, which was not at its best in 2011. Doyle: Jacob (Hustedt) is a hard-working player that we saw at our local combine.
Yallop: "Jacob is a hard working, versatile player with great determination. He fits in well for what we're trying to do here in San Jose.
Second round -- pick No. 14 (No. 33 overall) -- Chris Blais
Age: 21
Ht: 6-4
Wt: 195
Projected position: Goalkeeper
School: University of South Florida, Michigan
Honors: 2010 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Tournament, 3x Big Ten All-Academic Team (Michigan)
Intangible: ConsistencyBlais was projected by most to be picked in next weeks Supplemental Draft, but a good showing at the Combine and a sterling college career were enough to convince the Earthquakes staff to take him in the SuperDraft. He has found success at both his colleges, and he led Michigan to the Final Four of the 2010 NCAA Division I mens soccer tournament, where the Wolverines fell 2-1 to eventual champions Akron. After transferring to the University of South Florida in 2011 he played every minute of every game as the Bulls made it to the final eight of the NCAA tournament. He boasts a big frame and has posted 12 shutouts in his last two college seasons, and finished the 2011 season with an impressive 0.81 goals-against average and allowing more than two goals on just one occasion, compiling a 13-4-4 record. If he is signed, he will likely become the third-string goalkeeper on the Earthquakes roster behind Jon Busch and David Bingham, but could put pressure on the latter.However, Bingham is expected to spend the end of March with the U.S. Olympic team, and the end of July and beginning of August competing in the London games should the U.S. qualify, meaning the Earthquakes will need a backup to Busch.Doyle: It was great to add a big goalkeeper like Chris (Blais).For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano.

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