D.C. United selects five in 2009 MLS SuperDraft

Washington, D.C. (January 15, 2009) – D.C. United selected five players in today’s 2009 MLS SuperDraft, held at the St. Louis Convention Center in St. Louis, MO. With the sixth and seventh picks overall, United selected defender Rodney Wallace and forward Chris Pontius in the first round. In the second and third rounds, the Black-and-Red followed up with three more picks – goalkeeper Milos Kocic, defender Lyle Adams and midfielder/forward Brandon Barklage.

“We knew in the first round we were going to come away with two players we were very happy with,” said United General Manager Dave Kasper. “There were eight or nine players we felt that with any two of them we’d be happy. In the second round we got a keeper with a big upside and Lyle Adams, who has been a big part of Wake Forest for the last several years. We also feel Barklage could be a dark horse to earn a contract.”

A local product from Rockville, MD, Wallace spent two years at the University of Maryland before signing a Generation Adidas contract with MLS. During the 2008 season, Wallace registered three goals and three assists in 25 games (all starts) for the NCAA champion Terps. In 2007, Wallace started all 21 games for the Terrapins, and was second on the team on goals scored (seven) and tied for best on game-winners (three). Wallace, who was born in Costa Rica, comes from a soccer-playing family – his uncle Harold Wallace is a Costa Rican international who played for the “Ticos” in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.

“We’re happy in the fact that we were able to get some young talent in Rodney and we feel like he’s got a huge upside,” said United Head Coach Tom Soehn. “He’s athletic, he’s a good soccer player and he’s a winner. We’re very excited with his potential.”

Pontius ranks fifth in UC Santa Barbara’s history for career goals with 29. During his senior year, the California native led UCSB with 14 goals and was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, while being named to College Soccer News All-American Second Team and the First Team All-Far West. In 2007, he led the Big West conference with 11 goals and was honored as the Big West Offensive Player of the Year. He appeared in 23 of the Gauchos’ 25 matches as a sophomore, recording a goal and two assists. During his freshman season, Pontius played in 20 matches (five starts) and notched three goals and an assist.

“We thought Pontius was the best forward in the draft,” Soehn added. “He really carried himself well and it gives us another option up top. Big kid, athletic, good feet and he’s got a nose to score goals. He showed that in college and at the combine.”

Second-round selection Kocic, a Serbia native, redshirted the 2005 season at St. Johns before transferring to Loyola College in Maryland. He saw limited minutes in 2006 but played all 2,098 minutes in goal for Loyola during the 2007 season, collecting a school-record 17 shutouts. In 2008, he started 20 of 21 games played and recorded a 0.66 goals against average.

Adams spent four years at Wake Forest University, earning a starting spot during his freshman year. In 2008 he tallied three goals and three assists and earned ACC Player of the Week honors. Adams finished his college career with 11 total goals and six assists.

United’s final draft pick was Barklage, a midfielder/forward from St. Louis University. Barklage started all 22 games he saw action in as a senior, notching seven goals and 10 assists. In 2007, he had 19 appearances (all starts) and scored three goals and five assists. Prior to playing at St. Louis, he attended the University of New Mexico for two years.

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Doug Hicks, dhicks@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5448,
Boris Flores, bflores@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5452,
Kyle Sheldon, ksheldon@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5450 or
Cristina Cruz, ccruz@dcunited.com, (202) 587-5440