The San Jose Earthquakes landed former University of North Carolina standout Billy Schuler in a weighted lottery on Tuesday, giving the club another forward to add to its strike corps.
The Quakes beat out Real Salt Lake for the 23-year-old's services, with 95.7 percent chance of winning the lottery based on their performance over the club’s last 34 regular-season matches. San Jose and RSL were the only clubs who opted into the lottery for Schuler, who signed with MLS last week after spending the past two years at Swedish club Hammarby.
Schuler signed a Generation adidas deal and was projected to be the No. 1 pick at the 2012 MLS SuperDraft after a standout college career at UNC. He helped lead the Tar Heels to the NCAA national title in 2011 and scored 16 goals and had five assists during a campaign in which he was named an NSCAA First Team All-American.
Instead of joining MLS, he was lured to Europe by then Hammarby manager and current Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter, who is also a UNC alum. Injuries limited Schuler in Sweden and he struggled to find his scoring touch, notching two goals in 26 appearances over two seasons. He also spent time on loan with Nacka FF, Hammarby's developmental team.
“Billy is a talented young player and we are looking forward to working with him,” Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson said in a statement. "He adds to a deep group of forwards that we have on the roster."
San Jose have now won three weighted lotteries since 2011, including goalkeeper David Bingham in 2011 and midfielder Marcus Tracy (who has since been released) in 2012. They also opted into last week's lottery for Brian Span, which was won by FC Dallas.
The Quakes will now not be able to participate in another weighted player lottery this season unless all teams have taken a player via the process, or have waived their option to participate in the lottery.
Players made available through weighted lotteries include Generation adidas players signed after the MLS SuperDraft, or draft-eligible players to whom an MLS contract was offered but who failed to sign with the league prior to the draft.