United draft Van Sicklen, Merritt
MLS Cup 2004 champion D.C. United made only two selections at the 2005 MLS SuperDraft on Friday in Baltimore. Midfielder Nick Van Sicklen (Wisconsin) was the club's first choice as the 19th overall selection and defender Tim Merritt (North Carolina) was the final pick in the four-round draft (No. 48).
"We will work to make these players better, but at some point they need to make an impact in order for this to be a successful draft," said head coach Peter Nowak. "We aren't looking to make big changes, but we can always be better and we are looking for players who can come in and help us do that."
The club also executed several trades prior to the draft, sending its natural second-round pick in 2006 to Chicago in exchange for the Fire's third-round pick (No. 25) in this year's draft. United then sent that pick and this year's first-round pick (No. 12) to the MetroStars to finalize compensation for the trade that brought back Jaime Moreno to the Nation's Capital last season.
Van Sicklen, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound midfielder, sits atop the Wisconsin's all-time scoring leaders list with 76 points. In his senior year, he led the Big Ten with 12 goals and seven assists for 31 points.
"I'm so excited to be joining a great organization like D.C. United," said Van Sicklen, who was an All-Big Ten First Team selection in 2004. "They are the MLS champions, so for me it's a real honor to have an opportunity to be part of their team. D.C. has top national players on the team, so I'm real excited to get there and learn from those guys."
Merritt was a member of the Tar Heels' 2001 NCAA championship side and received All-ACC Second Team honors in both 2004 and 2003.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSNet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.