Nine NorCal Alums Selected in Drafts
This past weekend in Chicago, soccer coaches, administrators, and reporters from all across the world convened in the Windy City for the annual United Soccer Coaches Convention, an annual forum that brings the sport’s world close together each year.
But aside from the numerous meetings, coaching education sessions, and social events, there were two marquee events on the docket in Chicago: the MLS SuperDraft and NWSL College Draft, which are also held annually in conjunction with the convention.
While NorCal Premier Soccer always has players from its clubs selected in these two drafts, 2019 was special as a total of nine former area youth players — four men and five women — were selected, led by NorCal PDP alum Tierna Davidson, who went No. 1 overall.
Davidson’s club, De Anza Force, also contributed heavily to the draft, with three players selected overall, while fellow Bay Area side MVLA saw two of their alums selected.
Here is the full list of each player taken:
Roy Boateng (Santa Rosa United/San Francisco Glens PDL)
Pick: No. 16
Team: New York Red Bulls
After a standout career at UC Davis, as well as PDL stops with the Portland Timbers U-23s and San Francisco Glens, the two-time Big West Conference Defender of the Year was one of three NorCal alums selected in the MLS SuperDraft’s first round. To select Boateng, the New York Red Bulls traded $100,000 in allocation money to move up to select him and add the No. 25 overall pick. Red Bulls Sporting Director Denis Hamlett indicated that one day the club might look back and say “it is the best $100,000 we ever spent,” saying that, “when we really sat down with (Boateng), he really impressed us in terms of his knowledge. He’s a good human being.”
Tucker Bone (Sacramento United/Placer United)
Pick: No. 20
Team: Seattle Sounders FC
While Air Force’s Tucker Bone was selected with a first round pick by a club that has participated in two of the last three MLS Cups, his pathway to pro soccer may be somewhat complicated following his graduation in May. Once he completes this process, the 2018 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year will be given 60 days of leave before requiring to report to active military duty, unless the Air Force deems him eligible to participate in the military’s World Class Athlete Program. Regardless, the Sounders were happy to take a flier, with general manager Garth Lagerwey saying, “When he’s available will be tricky, but I’d rather go through that process with a kid who I think is really talented. Ultimately, you have to draft guys you think are talented enough for the first team.”
Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force)
Pick: No. 1
Team: Chicago Red Stars
It was never a question of where Tierna Davidson was going to be selected in the NWSL College Draft, only if she was going to declare herself eligible after a standout three year career at Stanford. In her time at The Cardinal, the defender helped the NorCal college to a national championship while becoming a regular for the U.S. Women’s National Team, where she has earned 12 caps, was named the 2018 U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year, and is a favorite to be included on the squad for this summer’s World Cup in France. “I’m very excited to start my club career in Chicago — it’s my kind of town,” Davidson said after her selection.
Sam Ebstein (De Anza Force/San Jose Earthquakes)
Pick: No. 87
Team: FC Dallas
After a standout three-year collegiate career for Cal, San Francisco native Sam Ebstein was selected as FC Dallas’ penultimate pick in the SuperDraft. The attacker started his youth soccer career with De Anza Force before moving onto the San Jose Earthquakes Academy in 2013-14, staying local to score four goals in three years for Cal, while also playing in the PDL on the now-defunct Burlingame Dragons.
Erin Greening (EBU Bay Oaks)
Pick: No. 25
Team: Orlando Pride
After starring for Bay Oaks for several years, midfielder Erin Greening went onto a successful college career where the midfielder played in 74 games over four years for Colorado. Beginning her collegiate career as a forward, Greening scored two goals in 18 games as a true freshman before moving back to the midfield role she now occupies. “For us, we wanted to try to find the best available while also trying to fill a position of need,” said Orlando Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck. “I think Erin possesses some versatility. She’s very powerful. She gets up and down the lines, so she has something we’re looking for.”
Jazmin Jackmon (San Juan Soccer Club)
Pick: No. 21
Team: Houston Dash
The first University of Oregon player ever selected in the NWSL draft, Jazmin Jackmon was taken in the second round by the Houston Dash after playing two years in Eugene after a previous two-year stint at Santa Clara. A left or center back, Jackmon scored one goal in her college career while being named a 2018 Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention. “This is so exciting and now I can finally breathe,” Jackmon said at the podium after being selected. “I would like to thank my University of Oregon family for welcoming me my sophomore year and pushing me to be the best person I can be on and off the field.”
Tegan McGrady (MVLA)
Pick: No. 7
Team: Washington Spirit
While MVLA alum Tegan McGrady was selected in the first round of the NWSL College Draft, she was actually the third and final Stanford player taken despite, like Davidson, having already made her full international debut. A longtime U.S. youth international, McGrady has one cap for the USWNT and leaves The Cardinal after helping them to the 2017 College Cup title. “I think as a football club we knocked (the draft) out of the park, and the picks that we got are all fabulous players,” Washington Spirit Head Coach and Technical Director Richie Burke said after selecting McGrady. “I think every single one of them will come into our training ground and from minute-one will be knocking on the door for a starting role in our football club.”
Sam Junqua (De Anza Force/San Jose Earthquakes)
Pick: No. 8
Team: Houston Dynamo
A former U.S. Youth International, left back Sam Junqua was this year’s highest-drafted NorCal alum after the Houston Dynamo grabbed the former Cal standout at No. 8 overall. Developed by De Anza Force and the San Jose Earthquakes, Junqua was a mainstay in his college career, playing in 68 games while contributing three assists and earning an All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention in 2018. “We couldn’t be happier with how the draft turned out today,” Dynamo Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan said after selecting Junqua last Friday.
Michelle Maemone (MVLA)
Pick: No. 23
Team: Utah Royals FC
A defender out of Pepperdine, Michelle Maemone was a four-year starter in her collegiate career, making 78 appearances overall while scoring three goals and adding four assists while helping the Waves put up a West Coast Conference-best 0.82 goals-against average in 19 games her senior year. The San Jose native spent six of her youth seasons with MVLA before heading south to play for Pepperdine. “We actually got all the players we planned on getting,” Utah Royals FC General Manager Craig Waibel said. “We had a good idea which players were gonna go ahead in the draft, we scouted accordingly, and we got the players we wanted. So we’re very happy about it.”