November 22, 2005 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New York Red Bulls
SECAUCUS, NJ (Tuesday, November 22, 2005) - The MetroStars announced today that they have acquired the rights to the 2005 A-League Defender of the Year Taylor Graham from the Kansas City Wizards in exchange for the MetroStars natural third round pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. After acquiring his rights, the MetroStars signed Graham. Per Major League Soccer Policy, terms of the agreement are undisclosed. In 2005 Graham anchored the backline of the United Soccer Leagues First Division Champions, the Seattle Sounders.
"Taylor is a smart player and a smart man, and we're looking for men with both brains and brawn," said MetroStars President and General Manager Alexi Lalas. "He had a great year with Seattle and we look to forward to seeing all 6 foot 4 of him in a MetroStars uniform."
"I have said before that I want big, tall defenders in the middle, and I am pleased that we were able to get a player that fits that mold in Taylor," said MetroStars Head Coach Mo Johnston. "In addition to his physical attributes, he brings a winner\'s mentality after winning a championship with Seattle this year. Hopefully he will help us do just that here with the MetroStars next season."
Graham, a Stanford University graduate, was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards with the 33rd overall pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. He spent 2003 and 2004 with the Wizards, seeing action in two games his first year. In 2004 he was more active however, as he made 17 appearances (starting seven) and tallied one goal.
"I am excited to come to New York and play for one of the classiest organizations in the league with some of the best and most passionate fans," said the 25-year-old Graham. "After playing in Kansas City, I know Mo Johnston\'s reputation first hand, and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with him. I have also played with Tony Meola, and I am thrilled to be once again be working with the best goalkeeper in American history. This situation couldn\'t be a better fit."
He was waived by the Wizards on March 1, 2005 (under league rules, Kansas City retained his MLS rights after he cleared waivers) and then signed with the Seattle Sounders, of the United Soccer Leagues First Division, where played every minute of every game (2520) for Seattle in 2005, and notched two goals. He was the centerpiece of a defense that finished third in the league in goals allowed (25). The Sounders went on to win the USL First Division Championship over the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, October 1, 2005 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.
On September 30, 2005 Graham was named Defender of the Year in the First Division of the United Soccer Leagues, beating out Gabriel Gervais of the Montreal Impact and Scot Thompson of the Portland Timbers.
Name Note: When referencing the MetroStars in any print or broadcast media, please note that the team name no longer includes "New York/New Jersey" or "NY/NJ". The team should be solely referred to as the "MetroStars". In addition, if you would like to abbreviate the name, please do so as "Metros" not "Metro".