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United On the Clock at 2003 MLS SuperDraft

January 14, 2003 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - D.C. United News Release

CHANTILLY, VA (January 14, 2003) – D.C. United’s technical staff will travel to Kansas City this week for the 2003 MLS SuperDraft with high expectations. United currently owns eight picks, including the first overall selection and four of the first fourteen picks, in the event to be held on Friday, January 17th at 3:30 p.m. ET in Kansas City, MO. The Black-and-Red acquired the fifth pick in the first round from the MetroStars in last month’s blockbuster deal that included the arrival of All-Star defender Mike Petke and a 2003 allocation selection in exchange for defender Eddie Pope, forward Jaime Moreno, and midfielder Richie Williams. In addition to holding the first pick in the second round (11th overall), United obtained the fourteenth overall selection from the Chicago Fire in exchange for Orlando Perez in a deal executed last July. The SuperDraft will be broadcast live at HYPERLINK ""

“Based on performances at the 2003 adidas MLS Combine and having scouted extensively this off-season, I believe this draft to include a solid group of players,” said D.C. United Technical Director Dave Kasper. “We look forward to adding several talented players to our roster on Friday.

The following is a partial list of some of the top talent available in Friday’s 2003 MLS SuperDraft, including a short bio featuring the accomplishments of each player during their soccer-playing career. The list includes three college seniors whose college eligibility expired after the 2002 season and five players who have signed MLS/Nike Project-40 contracts and will forego any remaining or potential collegiate eligibility.

Ricardo Clark- M, Furman University, Sophomore: Clark, one of American soccer’s best up-and-coming talents, has decided to forego his final two years of eligibility at Furman University and join Major League Soccer via the Nike Project-40 player development program. In 2002, the feisty 5-10, 140-pound sophomore defensive midfield earned first-team NSCAA/adidas All-American honors while anchoring a Paladins defense that allowed a mere 0.67 goals per game. Clark is also a regular starter for the United States U-20 squad that qualified for the FIFA World Youth Championships, scheduled for this March. Clark started in two of three matches for the U-20s during their successful run through the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Charleston, S.C., in November.

Todd Dunivant- D, Stanford University, Senior: Dunivant capped off his four-year stint at Stanford by helping the Cardinal to back-to-back College Cup Final Four appearances, including a run to the Championship Finals last month. The 6-0, 174-pound senior was a first-team NSCAA/adidas All-American in 2002 and a two-time All-Pac-10 first-team selection in 2001 and 2000. Dunivant was a three-year starter and played in 80 overall contests, placing him fifth on Stanford’s all-time games played list. Dunivant was a fixture in a backfield that allowed only 16 goals in 25 games last season, but he also showed his versatility and touch on the ball by finishing tied for fourth on Stanford’s all-time assist list with 28, including a career-high 11 in 2002.

Alecko Eskandarian- F, University of Virginia, Junior: Despite playing only three seasons, Eskandarian made a compelling argument as one of the finest players to ever don a Cavalier uniform. Eskandarian proved he was more than ready to turn pro after winning numerous accolades in 2002, including the MAC Hermann Trophy Award, given to the top collegiate player in Division I. Eskandarian was named to the NSCAA/adidas All-American first-team in 2002 after placing on the second-team in 2001 as a sophomore, and was an All-ACC first-team selection in each of his three seasons. The 5-9, 160-pound striker led the Cavaliers in goals all three seasons, including his freshman season in 2000 when he exploded onto the collegiate soccer scene by scoring 16 goals, which helped him garner ACC Rookie of the Year honors. The 20-year-old from Montvale, N.J. left a sizable dent in the UVA record books, finishing in the top six in several categories, including goals scored (50- 4th), points (113- 6th), shots (272- 3rd) and game-winning goals (15- 3rd). Eskandarian also had one of the program’s best individual years in 2002, scoring a single-season Cavalier record 25 goals and finishing the year with 54 points, tied for the second most in a single season. Eskandarian, whose father Andranik was a defender for the storied New York Cosmos of the NASL, made a name for himself even before attending the University of Virginia by being named the 2000 Gatorade National Player of the Year while at Bergen Catholic High School. His talent has also garnered him attention in the international ranks through his many stints with the United States Youth National Teams. Most recently, Eskandarian has spent his time in the Red, White and Blue with the U.S. Under-23 squad that is preparing for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The dynamic forward netted a team-high six goals for the U-23’s in 2002 in the squad’s various competitions.

Guillermo Gonzalez- M, Project-40/U.S. Under-17 National Team: After just turning 17 on January 4th, Gonzalez could become the next in a line of talented teenagers drafted by D.C. United. Gonzalez, known to his teammates as “Memo,” is an intelligent central midfielder who makes the smart, quick decisions that keep an attack flowing. Gonzalez is also adept at finishing the attack, as he led the U.S. Under-17 National Team in 2002 with 21 goals in 45 matches. The wiry 5-11, 145 pound talent from Paramount, CA has spent the last three semesters at the U.S. Soccer Full-Time Residency Program in Bradenton, FL. The predominantly left-footed Gonzalez has been a part of the U.S. National Team program since 2000, when he played for the U-14 squad.

Pat Noonan- F, Indiana University, Senior: As a two-time runner-up for the Hermann Trophy, Noonan has shown his continued ability to put the ball in the back of the net against quality competition. The talented striker from Ballwin, MO found himself in the starting eleven for Indiana in his first game and never left the spot, starting in all 91 of his career appearances for the Hoosiers. Last season marked the second consecutive year that Noonan was named an NSCAA/adidas All-American first-team selection and the Big Ten Player of the Year. The senior forward led the Hoosiers in scoring in each of his last three seasons and helped lead the Hoosiers to three consecutive appearances in the Men’s College Cup Final Four from 1999-2001, including the Hoosiers’ fifth national championship his freshman year in 1999. Noonan leaves Indiana as one of the most successful players in the program’s storied history, finishing with 48 goals (7th all-time), 31 assists (11th) and 127 points (6th).

David Stokes- D, University of North Carolina, Junior: Stokes is another young talent that has decided to leave college early and sign with MLS and the Project-40 program. A local product from Dumfries, VA (Hylton H.S.), the physical junior defender started in all of the Tar Heels’ contests the last three seasons for a defense that allowed only 60 goals in 71 contests. The 6-3, 195-pound Stokes earned Defensive MVP honors at the 2001 NCAA College Cup, helping the Tar Heels to their first-ever national title. Stokes, a finalist for the 2002 MAC Hermann Trophy, is also a regular starter on the United States U-23 National Team that will compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Shavar Thomas- D, University of Connecticut, Sophomore: Thomas was a fixture in the UConn backfield since setting foot in Storrs, starting all 36 games he appeared in for the Huskies. The 21-year old Thomas earned All-Big East first team honors in 2002 and was named to the NSCAA/adidas All-American second team. The Kingston, Jamaica native originally committed to the Huskies for the 2000 season, but Thomas sat out that season in order to compete for the Jamaican National Team during CONCACAF qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The 6-1, 195-pound defender has earned six CAPS for the “Reggae Boyz,” and has represented Jamaica on its Olympic and U-17 National teams. Diego Walsh- M, Southern Methodist University, Senior: Walsh will become the latest in a series of talented Mustangs that have made their mark in MLS. Walsh finished third in the voting for the 2002 Hermann Trophy and became the fifth SMU player to be named a first-team NSCAA/adidas All-American twice (2001-02). Walsh was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2002 and 2000, the MVC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2001 and was an All-MVC first-team selection three times (2000-02). The Brazilian-born Walsh finished his SMU career as the program’s all-time leader in assists with 39, and in addition finished in the top 5 in goals (39, T-5th) and points (117, 4th). The crafty midfielder helped lead the Mustangs to the round of 16 in the Men’s College Cup in all four of his years, including a trip to the Mustangs’ first appearance in the National Championship match. Walsh was also named to the Verizon Academic All-American first team in 2002 and 2001 thanks to his 3.40 GPA while majoring in Finance.

D.C. United will reconvene Tuesday, January 21st to begin preparation for the 2003 Major League Soccer season. Official training begins as the team reports to American University in Washington D.C. at 10:30 a.m. ET to commence strength and conditioning workouts with United Strength and Conditioning Coach Greg Petrosian. The team will continue training at American through January 31st. The club will begin playing February 1 at which date training sessions will be moved to RFK Stadium.

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