The Kansas City Wizards bolstered their roster for the upcoming season adding four players in today's 2005 MLS SuperDraft, including two standout forwards, a versatile midfielder and one of the top college goalkeepers available. The team also acquired veteran midfielder Sasha Victorine in a trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"I think the draft went well for us and we got a good mixture of players," said General Manager Curt Johnson. "We wanted to get some offensive help and with Scott Sealy we got someone who was one of the ACC's best players and also showed well at the Combine against the top players in the country. Ryan Pore was the leading scorer in the NCAA last year and one of the top scorers the year before and Chris Sawyer can certainly help round out our goalkeeper group and develop into a valuable asset for us."
"We feel we did okay today," said Head Coach Bob Gansler. "The main thrust was to make us a better attacking team, and by that we mean 11 attacking players on the field, and we addressed that. We addressed it with two decent forwards, but it is just as important to get help out of midfield and out of the back. We did not get anyone today that can help us out of the back, but the Discovery mechanism is still there to address that as well."
With their first selection of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, the 11th overall pick, Kansas City selected Wake Forest forward Scott Sealy. Sealy, 23, hails from Chaguanas, Trinidad and finished his collegiate career as the second all-time scorer in Wake Forest history with 43 goals and 108 points. He has led the Demon Deacons in scoring each of the past two seasons and helped guide them to the top seed heading into the NCAA tournament this past season. Sealy has appeared six times for the Trinidad & Tobago National Team, scoring in his debut appearance, a World Cup Qualifying match against the Dominican Republic on June 20, 2004.
Less than 24-hours before today's draft, the Wizards executed a trade with the Colorado Rapids, acquiring the 16th overall pick in exchange for two late-third round picks (33rd and 36th overall). The Wizards used the 16th pick to select another forward in Tulsa striker Ryan Pore. Pore, 21, led the Nation in scoring in 2004 as a junior. He scored 22 goals and added 11 assists for 55 points in 23 games played while leading his team to the Quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
With their final two selections, Kansas City selected goalkeeper Chris Sawyer from Notre Dame in the second round (24th overall) and finished the day picking midfielder John Minagawa-Webster from Michigan State in the 4th round (47th overall). Sawyer led the country with a 0.46 GAA in 2004, guiding the Fighting Irish to a 13-2-3 record and to a #5 seeding in the NCAA tournament. Minagawa-Webster was a versatile midfielder at Michigan State and helped the Spartans win their first ever Big-10 Championship in 2004 and a berth in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.
Earlier in the day, Kansas City acquired veteran midfielder Sasha Victorine from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for the Wizards 2nd round pick (15th overall). The Wizards acquired that selection from FC Dallas last season as part of the draft-day trade that brought defender Shavar Thomas to Kansas City.
"In Sasha Victorine we got someone who can come in and help us out right away," said Johnson. "He is a five-year starter in this League. He has scored some goals, he can play as a defender or a midfielder, he is a very effective and versatile player."
Victorine adds a proven left-sided starter to the Wizards lineup. The 26-year-old was a first round pick by the Galaxy in 2000 and has played a large part in the Galaxy's success over the last five seasons. Victorine was a member of the Galaxy squads that won the 2000 Champions' Cup, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and 2002 MLS Cup Championships. He has appeared four times for the U.S. National Team and has also been a part of the U.S. U-23 and U-20 National Teams.
"You go into any draft and think about getting at least one guy that can help you immediately and hopefully a little bit more," added Gansler. "Sasha has shown that he can not only compete but can also excel in this League and we feel good about that. The experiences we have had with trading on draft day, getting Josh (Wolff), Diego (Gutierrez) and Jimmy (Conrad) set a good precedent for us. We know we got at least one guy who can for sure help us right away."
The 2005 Kansas City Wizards will convene for training camp on February 1st in Kansas City. Their first match of the year will take place on Wednesday, March 9th as they host Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa at Arrowhead Stadium in the first leg of the 2005 CONCACAF Champions' Cup. They will play the return leg in San Jose, Costa Rica on March 16th.
Kansas City will kickoff the 2005 MLS season on Saturday, April 2nd when they host former Western Conference rivals the Colorado Rapids at Arrowhead Stadium, with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. CT. The reigning Western Conference Champion Wizards will begin their first season in the Eastern Conference, as MLS welcomes two expansion teams, Real Salt Lake and CD Chivas USA, to the Western Conference.
Wizards 2005 Season Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the Wizards office at 816-920-9300. Individual tickets for all MLS home games will go on sale in March 7th. For more information, log on to www.kcwizards.com or call 816-920-9300.
Born: June 4, 1981
Place of Birth: Petit Valley, Trinidad
Hometown: Chaguanas, Trinidad
College: Wake Forrest
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round (11th overall) of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft
Born: September 23, 1983
Place of Birth: Mansfield, OH
Hometown: Mansfield, OH
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round (16th overall) of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft
Born: October 20, 1982
Place of Birth: Denver, CO
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, CO
College: Notre Dame
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round (24th overall) of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft
Born: August 12, 1982
Place of Birth: Lansing, MI
Hometown: Michigan State
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round (47th overall) of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft
Born: February 3, 1978
Place of Birth: Santa Ana, CA
Hometown: Corona, CA
Last Club: Los Angeles Galaxy
Acquired: From the Los Angeles Galaxy for a 2nd round pick (15th overall) in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft