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Alexandre sees SJ trade as chance to jumpstart career

The San Jose Earthquakes added another piece to their 2012 roster puzzle on Thursday, trading their first-round pick in the 2012 Supplemental Draft for Real Salt Lake midfielder Jean Alexandre.

The Quakes might have waited for Monday’s Re-Entry Draft to try and snatch up Alexandre, whose option was declined by RSL, but coach Frank Yallop wanted to ensure San Jose got the Haitian international.

“He’s the one who stood out for me on the [Re-Entry] list,” Yallop told MLSsoccer.com. “One way to guarantee no one else gets him is to take him before the whole thing starts. We want to get players we like. To make sure we got him was important.”

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Given that the Supplemental Draft comes after the two-round SuperDraft, the deal represented a value bet, in poker terms: The Quakes essentially gave up a third-round draft choice for a powerful worker who had been picked 12th overall in the 2009 SuperDraft but played sparingly in three years at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“It’s definitely a new challenge for me,” Alexandre told MLSsoccer.com. “On arrival, I want to make an immediate difference on the team. I think I will bring something different, hopefully something better.”

Alexandre, 25, was a high-scoring forward coming out of Lynn University’s Division II program, but RSL recast him as a holding midfielder. That meant the man who tallied 34 goals in 69 appearances for the Fighting Knights spent a lot of time on the bench watching Kyle Beckerman play rather than contributing himself.

It’s no wonder that, although Alexandre has nothing but good things to say about RSL, he sees the trade as a chance to jumpstart his career.

“It’s an opportunity for me to be able to go to a new team and play a lot more,” Alexandre said. “I have great respect for Kyle Beckerman — he truly is a one-of-kind player — but it was definitely tough [to sit]. I kept my head up, worked hard and still put in the effort.”

Alexandre got a chance to move up top during 2011, when RSL saw their forward ranks depleted by injury and national-team duties, and even scored his first career goal in MLS play. But Yallop said he sees Alexandre more in the mix in central midfield, joining holdovers Sam Cronin and Brad Ring in that spot.

“His versatility is good, but in the middle of the field is where I see him,” Yallop said. “I liked him all the way back in the [2009 SuperDraft] combine. I thought he played well this year and think he’s becoming a solid individual.”

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes