Huskies Send Four To MLS, Most Since 1998
Feb. 8, 2012
SEATTLE - The Huskies men's soccer team had four players drafted or signed by MLS teams this year, tying for the most ever drafted from the team in a single year, and the most since four players were also drafted in 1998. Brent Richards, Jacob Hustedt, Jamie Finch and Abdul Aman were all picked up by MLS clubs.
Before the MLS SuperDraft, Richards signed with the Portland Timbers as their first Homegrown Player, after three seasons with the club's development team, the Portland Timbers U-23s. Richards scored 26 goals with 12 assists in 37 games over three years with the U-23 team and became the team's all-time leading scorer. In 2010, he led the Timbers U-23s to the PDL Championship and a perfect 20-0-0, as the team became the league's first undefeated champion. Among other honors he received that year, he was named the league's MVP and finals MVP.
During his collegiate career at UW, Richards scored 31 goals with 15 assists in 72 games at Washington. He leaves UW as one of the most decorated men's soccer student-athletes both on and off the field. He led the team in scoring, goals, and game-winning goals during all four seasons, was a four-time all-conference honoree, a two-time all-conference first-team selection (2010-11), was named the 2011 Pac-12 Men's Soccer Student-Athlete of the Year, and was a 2011 First-Team Capital One Academic All-American.
"Brent Richards proved to be one of the top forwards in the country and the Portland Timbers made sure that he was going to be coming back to his hometown when they signed him as a `homegrown player'," Washington head coach Jamie Clark said. "This is a rule that lets teams that develop players have the first chance to sign them. Due to Brent's great skill and athleticism, he can play a lot of positions and that will [allow him to] be a player that can help the Timbers sooner rather than later."
Hustedt was the No. 25 overall selection in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft, drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes. Hustedt, a Sandy, Utah, native joined the Huskies in 2011 for his senior year after transferring from Cal Poly. He became a leader and a strong force on the team right away, as he was second on the team with six goals and tied for the team lead with five assists. He had 17 points, 25 shots on goal, two game-winning goals, and was one-for-one on penalty kicks.
Clark said, "Jake Hustedt transferred to UW for his senior year because he wanted the chance to show people that he was one of the top attacking players in the country. He was determined and made the most of his final season. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle before the combine, so [he] couldn't attend. I think he would have been a first round pick if healthy, but I have no doubt that once he gets healthy, he will show San Jose that they got a steal of a second round pick."
Finch, hailing from Bothell, Wash., was drafted by the Columbus Crew with the tenth pick in the second round of the MLS Supplemental Draft. He played all four years at UW and became one of the leading defenders in the Pac-12. In 2011 alone, he led a defense that recorded nine shutouts, was one of three team captains, and earned All-West Region and All-Pac-12 academic and athletic honors. The Columbus Crew (Columbus, Ohio) was one of the first 10 inaugural MLS clubs in 1994, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 13-13-8 record in 2011.
"Jamie Finch is a fantastic defender that also can get into the attack," Clark said. "He locked down his side of the field all year for us at UW, shutting down some of the best attacking players in the country. If he can continue to be this good of a defender at the pro level then he will have a really good career. He is physically ready to defend against the best pro players and I think that the Columbus Crew will be happy with him."
Aman, who also joined the Huskies in 2011, was picked with the 15th pick in the third round by the Seattle Sounders. In 2011, Aman, originally from Seattle, scored two goals and had 17 shots. In 2011, the Sounders finished second in the Western Conference with a 18-9-7 record.
"Abdul was drafted by the Seattle Sounders, but is hoping that the NCAA will grant him a sixth year of eligibility," said Clark. "We certainly hope to have him back in a Husky uniform next year as he is an exciting attacking player with the ability to pull off the unexpected and surprise defenses with his mix of speed and tricks. Time will tell what happens with Abdul, but it speaks to his talent level that the Sounders drafted him."
In 1998, four Huskies were also drafted, setting the school record. Jason Boyce was drafted by the Colorado Rapids, Joe Franchino by the LA Galaxy, Bill May by the Tampa Bay Mutiny, and Chad McCarty, also by the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
Head coach Jamie Clark also had the honor of participating in the 2012 adidas MLS player combine. The annual player combine was held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Jan. 6-10 this year and Clark was chosen as one of four coaches to coach upcoming draft prospects during the combine. The combine brought together 52 of the nation's top college seniors from 31 Division I schools to showcase some of the best talent before the MLS draft.
"The MLS combine brings together most of the top seniors in college soccer," Clark said. "It was great getting to know them and helping them as they transition to the professional game."
"In a self-interested way, it's also good to see the level of the top college players in each position and then compare those players to our own team. It's my hope that we will be placing a few players in the combine each year and, knowing the quality we have on our roster, I believe we will do this."
Clark coached Team Prime (green), Princeton head coach Jim Barlow coached Team AdiZero (blue), Yale head coach Brian Tompkins coached Team AdiPure (white), and University of Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski coached Team AdiPower (red).
Thirteen of seventeen players on Clark's Team Prime were drafted either in the MLS SuperDraft or MLS Supplemental Draft this year, including Darren Mattocks, a forward from Akron, who was drafted No. 2 overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps.