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Earthquakes Select Siad Haji Second Overall in 2019 MLS SuperDraft

January 11, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - San Jose Earthquakes News Release

CHICAGO, Ill. - The San Jose Earthquakes selected Siad Haji (sy-EED HAH-jee) with the second overall selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago on Friday afternoon. Haji is a member of the 2019 Generation adidas class, which is comprised of players signed to MLS contracts before the SuperDraft and do not count against MLS teams' salary budget.

The Quakes also drafted Seattle University midfielder Sergio Rivas and Simon Fraser University forward Mamadi Camara in the second round with the 26th and 46th overall selections, respectively, but will need to sign them to contracts before they are placed on the roster.

"It was a great experience," said Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda. "It was also a good opportunity to see the players, the coaches and the directors of the other clubs. It was a great team effort by all of the coaches and everybody involved to select players that show promise and players that we want to continue to develop."

Haji, 19, was the second-youngest player eligible for selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft (12/1/1999). As a freshman at New England College in 2016, he scored a team-leading nine goals in 14 games and led the Pilgrims to their first North Atlantic Conference men's soccer championship. Haji then transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where he tallied seven goals and 18 assists in 37 appearances across two seasons. As a junior in 2018, he was named First Team All-Southeast Region, First Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference, and the Atlantic 10 Conference Midfielder of the Year after recording five goals and 10 assists in 18 starts.

"It's like a dream come true," said Haji soon after being drafted. "I'm so excited for this opportunity and I'm excited to meet the coaches, players and fans. I'm really ready to work hard."

Haji is a product of the United States Youth National Team system, where he's played for the U-15s, U-17s, U-19 and U-20s. He competed with the U.S. U-20s as recently as May of 2018, participating in two friendlies against Honduras.

A native of Kakuma, Kenya, Haji and his family were granted asylum in the United States when he was four years old.

"We got exactly the players that we wanted to select," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. "These are the players that Matias, our coaching staff, and Ian Russel from Reno felt strongly about, which was also supported by the scouting work of Bruno [Costa]. We walk away believing we reinforced our talent pool."

Rivas, 21, was a four-year starter at Seattle University. From 2015-18, Rivas made 85 appearances and totaled 19 goals and 27 assists, the latter of which ranked second all-time in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) history. A decorated player all four years, he earned honors such as First Team All-Far West Region (2018), Second Team All-WAC (2017, 2016) and WAC Freshman of the Year (2015).

Born in Mexico, Rivas moved to the United States with his family at seven years of age to pursue a better and more prosperous life.

"I feel very excited," said Rivas. "I don't even know what to think. I'm tired, I'm excited, I'm anxious. Everything. I can feel every emotion. I'm very excited to play under Matias Almeyda."

Camara, 23, played four years at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. He finished with 29 goals and 20 assists in 65 appearances. He was selected as a United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2018 after tallying nine goals and 13 assists as a senior.

Born in Guinea, Africa, Camara holds Canadian citizenship.

The final two rounds of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft will be held via conference call on Monday, Jan. 14.

Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) - Earthquakes select VCU forward Siad Haji (No. 2 overall) in the first round, and Seattle University midfielder Sergio Rivas (No. 26) and Simon Fraser University forward Mamadi Camara (No. 46) in the second round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

Siad Haji

Pronunciation: sy-EED HAH-jee

Position: Forward

Height: 5-8

Weight: 150 lbs.

Born: Dec. 1, 1999 in Kakuma, Kenya

Hometown: Manchester, N.H.

Preferred Foot: Right

College: Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

Sergio Rivas

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5-11

Weight: 150 lbs.

Born: Oct. 3, 1997 in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico

Preferred Foot: Right

Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.

College: Seattle University

Mamadi Camara

Position: Forward

Height: 6-3

Weight: 180 lbs.

Born: Feb. 25, 1995 in Guinea, Africa

Preferred Foot: Right

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

College: Simon Fraser University


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