Which of the current crop of MLS rookie hopefuls will join last year's surprise signing Rafael Baca on this season's San Jose Earthquakes roster?
The San Jose Earthquakes added four more players to their preseason roster Tuesday morning through the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. After selecting a forward with their second round pick, the Earthquakes closed out the draft with three straight college senior defenders:
- #25 forward Cesar Diaz Pizarro, University of California, Riverside
- #44 defender David Tiemstra, Ohio State University
- #63 defender James Kiffe, University of California, Santa Barbara
- #73 defender Tyler Krumpe, Loyola Marymount University
The top three selections made by the Earthquakes were individually honored as their respective conference Players of the Year, with Diaz Pizarro earning Co-Offensive honors and Kiffe earning Defensive honors in the Big West and Tiemstra earning Defender honors in the big Ten. Krumpe was a standout defender with the Lions and made his name through speed and athleticism. All four selections will join the already in-progress Earthquakes preseason training camp ahead of next Monday.
The achievements of the four draftees are well documented, but the odds remain long that any of the four will be signed to an MLS contract, let alone find long term success in the league. The list of names of previous Supplemental Draft picks to gain that honor is painfully short, but it does contain two of the most decorated players in the short history of the reconstituted Earthquakes — Chris Wondolowski and Jason Hernandez.
Both Wondolowski and Hernandez hail from the 2005 Supplemental Draft class that also saw the origins of Colorado Rapids central midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. While Hernandez was a first round supplemental pick in 2005, both Wondolowski and Larentowicz were not selected until the fourth and last round of the proceedings. Those two unheralded players went on to become MLS All-Stars and are currently a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team roster pool.
The newest crop of Earthquakes rookie hopefuls will have their shot to become the next Wondo when they join fellow newcomers Sam Garza, Jacob Hustedt, and Chris Blais in San Jose. With a 30-man roster short on depth, the Earthquakes have plenty of available opportunities for the youngsters to take to their advantage. Throw in the strong contingent of established free agents looking to make the squad, and training camp in San Jose will not be one for the timid.Highlight video for UCSB's James Kiffe at the 2012 MLS Combine:
A look at the UC Riverside 2011 season features a number of Cesar Diaz Pizarro (jersey #24) highlights: