The San Jose Earthquakes made a major trade at the 2005 MLS SuperDraft as they acquired former Rookie of the Year finalist Ricardo Clark from the MetroStars in exchange for a youth international slot and a portion of the allocation the team received for Landon Donovan. San Jose now has two youth international slots available, down from the maximum three allowed under league rules.
"Obviously, with Richard Mulrooney departing we needed to find someone to play in the central midfield, and Ricardo Clark is a player that I have always respected and had my eye on for some time," said Earthquakes Head Coach Dominic Kinnear. "We immediately liked him at the combine [in 2003] and hoped that we would be able to get him in that draft. Since then, we have watched his progress with the MetroStars from afar, and have always liked the way he plays. I am excited to be able to bring him to San Jose and I believe he is really going to be able to help this team."
Clark, 21, is entering his third season in MLS after making a big impact in his first two seasons while with the MetroStars. A Rookie of the Year finalist in 2003, the defensive midfielder has appeared in 54 matches in his career and notched four goals and recorded two assists. As a rookie, he became an instant starter and played in 28 games as the MetroStars put together a solid season that saw them qualify for the playoffs with 42 points. He scored three goals and notched one assist, while also setting the club record by starting 27 consecutive games in his first year.
Last season Clark continued to develop, helping the MetroStars to a second consecutive playoff appearance while appearing in 26 matches and scoring one goal and notching one assist.
A good distributor and ball winner, Clark has also excelled at the youth national team level. In 2003, the former Furman star appeared in every match at the FIFA World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), helping the United States to the quarterfinals of the tournament. He was also expected to be part of the U.S. Under-23 national team for Olympic Qualifying, but hernia surgery kept him out of the qualifying tournament.
Prior to turning pro, the Atlanta native had a standout career at Furman University. In his final season in college, he led Furman to a 19-3-1 record and a third round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He scored three goals and had three assists, while being named a first-team NSCAA All-American and a first team All-South Region selection.