Wizards Acquire Jimmy Conrad, Draft Four Others in 2003 MLS Super Draft
KANSAS CITY, MO (January 17, 2003) - On a day in which Major League Soccer teams typically add young players to their rosters in an effort to build for the future, the Kansas City Wizards used today's MLS SuperDraft to add two starting veteran players who bring a combined two MLS Cup championships and two U.S. Open Cup championships to the Wizards lineup.
After trading their first round draft pick, 3rd overall, to the Chicago Fire in exchange for U.S. National Team standout forward Josh Wolff last week, the Wizards today acquired defender Jimmy Conrad from the San Jose Earthquakes. In exchange for Conrad, Kansas City traded their 2nd round pick, 13th overall, in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft and a conditional pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. Conrad helped anchor the Earthquakes back line last season, starting 25 regular season matches for a team that allowed just 35 goals on the season, the second lowest in MLS.
"We used our first two draft picks to pick up two quality starters. Our goal is to always get starters in the first and second round, and we feel good about who we got," said Wizards General Manager Curt Johnson. "Josh Wolff was obviously announced a couple weeks ago and he is going to be a fantastic addition. Jimmy Conrad is 25 and was a starter last season and started in the 2001 MLS Cup for the Earthquakes. We think he is going to be another prime-time performer for us and is someone who can contribute right off the bat."
Conrad, 25, began his MLS career in 1999 when he was signed by the then-San Jose Clash as a discovery player. The Temple City, California native has appeared in 84 matches for San Jose in his four-year career and helped them capture the 2001 MLS Cup. Conrad was a member of the UCLA squad that won the National Championship in 1997.
"The idea here (at the draft) is to acquire young talent that can help you and the quicker it can help you, the better off you are," said Head Coach Bob Gansler. "We not only got a couple of very good players in the first two rounds but we got experienced players that have already shown they can play in this league. So we can immediately have them serve us."
The Wizards selected Stanford defender Taylor Graham with their 4th round pick, 33rd overall pick, then added Springfield, MO native and St. Louis University forward Jack Jewsbury with the 43rd overall pick in the 5th round. In the 6th round, Kansas City selected defender Kevin Friedland from SMU with the 53rd overall pick. The Wizards traded their natural 6th round pick in 2004 MLS SuperDraft to Los Angeles in exchange for the 60th and final overall pick in this years draft. With the final selection, the Wizards obtained forward Byron Carmichael from Marshall University.
"After getting two starting players out of the first two rounds, we were looking for positional players," added Gansler. "Taylor Graham is a strong central defender who dominates the airways and his challenge at this level will be the game on the ground. With Friedland, we got a gritty defender who can play both on the left side and the right side. Jack Jewsbury surprised the heck out of me at the Combine. He is a young man who is from this area and has played all sorts of positions at SLU and I think he is growing. We feel good about the guys we got in the later rounds to either make our squads or to be there on the developmental side."
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