BALTIMORE - D.C. United drafted midfielder Nick Van Sicklen and defender Tim Merritt in the 2005 Major League Soccer SuperDraft held today in Baltimore, Maryland. The team will gather Friday, January 28th to begin pre-season training in preparation for the 2005 MLS campaign.
"We are very pleased with the two players that we were able to acquire in Nick Van Sicklen and Tim Merritt at today's draft," said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. "Nick reminds us a lot of Josh Gros and quite frankly, we were astounded that Merritt dropped to the last pick in the draft. We think that Tim was the best passer of the ball coming out of the back line available in the combine. So overall, we are extremely pleased with our selections."
Van Sicklen, a product of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was selected in the second round (19th overall), a pick United acquired last year in a trade with the Colorado Rapids. The 6'1'', 165-pound midfielder ranks fourth in Wisconsin's all-time record book with 76 career points. As a senior in 2004, he led the Big Ten Conference with 12 goals and seven assists for 31 points.
"We felt like Nick would satisfy our primary need," said United Head Coach Peter Nowak. "There were a lot of good players at the combine, but we're excited to be working with Nick."
"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."
United also executed several trades prior to today's draft. The Black-and-Red dealt its natural second round pick in 2006 to Chicago in exchange for the Fire's third round pick (25th overall) in this year's draft. In turn, United sent this pick and this year's first round pick (12th overall) to the MetroStars to finalize compensation for the trade that brought Jaime Moreno last season back to the Nations' Capital.
In addition, United re-acquired its fourth round pick in 2005 (48th overall) from San Jose in exchange for the rights of a player to be named later. The Black-and-Red used this pick, the draft's final, to acquire Merritt.
Merritt is an attacking defender who played four years at the University of North Carolina, compiling 64 starts in 76 career appearances. The Hollywood, CA native was a member of the Tar Heels' 2001 NCAA Championship team and received All-ACC Second Team honors in 2004 and 2003.