SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose Earthquakes added four new players to the team's roster during the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft as they continue to prepare for the upcoming MLS regular season. All the Quakes draftees have ties to the Bay Area, as San Jose selected former Bellarmine Prep (Santa Clara, Calif.) star and Saratoga native Brett Rodriguez with the fifth pick of the first round out of Creighton University. The Quakes also added Stanford University goalkeeper Robby Fulton (18th pick), and two former De La Salle High School (Concord, Calif.) standouts - University of California-Berkeley defender Noah Merl (29th pick) and Chico State University midfielder Chris Wondolowski (41st pick).
The first-ever MLS Supplemental Draft consisted of four rounds, allowing MLS clubs to add to their rosters, which have been expanded to incorporate ten developmental players in addition to the 18 senior roster spots.
"These are four players we have had our eyes on who are either from the Bay Area or play locally," Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "Three of them were at our local combine and impressed the coaching staff, while Noah Merl has impressed us throughout his four years at Cal-Berkeley."
The Earthquakes selected Creighton University defender Rodriguez, 21, with the fifth overall selection. At Creighton, Rodriguez was part of one of the top defenses in the country, and he was named to the NSCAA/adidas Midwest Region First Team and All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team in 2004. He helped the Bluejays to a 14-4-2 record and a number 16 national ranking, as Rodriguez started and played in all 20 games in 2004, registering one assist.
With the 18th pick, the Earthquakes selected the acclaimed Fulton. In four years at Stanford, Fulton left his mark in the record books, setting the all-time record for lowest goals against average in a season (0.43 in 2002) and accumulating one of the best goals against averages (0.89) in Stanford history. Fulton, 22, was the Cardinal captain in 2004, starting 11 matches while being named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First Team and earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors.
The Earthquakes selected two former De La Salle High School teammates in the third and fourth rounds, getting Walnut Creek native Merl with the 29th pick and Danville native Wondolowski with the 41st selection. Merl, 21, was the captain for the Bears in 2004, helping Cal to a 13-4-3 record, a national ranking and a trip to their fourth straight NCAA Tournament. For the third consecutive year, Merl played in every game in 2004, scoring two goals and registering two assists while earning All-Pac-10 Second Team honors.
Wondolowski was named to his fourth-straight California Collegiate Athletic Association First Team in 2004, scoring five goals and registering two assists, as the midfielder completed a successful career at Chico State that saw him earn Second Team All-American honors in 2003 as Chico won the CCAA Championship.
The Earthquakes will continue their preseason training at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA through next week and then depart for Bradenton, FL on Friday, February 11. While in Florida, the Earthquakes will train at the IMG academy before returning to the Bay Area on Feb. 24. The Quakes then head to Southern California on March 2 to participate in exhibition games at the Home Depot Center. Finally, the Quakes will head to Charleston, South Carolina to play in the Carolina Challenge Cup from March 17-26. The Earthquakes open the MLS regular season at home on Saturday, April 2 against the New England Revolution at 7:00 p.m.
Earthquakes 2005 Supplemental Draft Picks
Brett Rodriguez (1st Round, 6th Overall)
Hometown: Saratoga, CA
Born: April 8, 1983
College: Creighton University
Robby Fulton (2nd Round, 18th Overall)
Hometown: West Linn, OR
Born: June 2, 1982
College: Stanford University
Noah Merl (3rd Round, 29th Overall)
Hometown: Walnut Creek, CA
Born: June 4, 1983
Chris Wondolowski (4th Round, 41st Overall)
Hometown: Danville, CA
College: Chico State University
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) -Earthquakes select D Brett Rodriguez (6th), GK Robby Fulton (18th), D Noah Merl (29th) and M Chris Wondolowski (41st) in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft.