EAST LANSING, Mich. – Three former Michigan State men’s soccer players were drafted on the first day of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Chicago on Friday. Senior forward DeJuan Jones led the way as the 11th overall pick, drafted by the New England Revolution.
For the first time ever, the Spartans had two players drafted in the first round as fellow senior forward Ryan Sierakowski was drafted 23rd overall by the Portland Timbers. Senior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague was the sixth pick of the second round (30th overall), taken by FC Cincinnati. Hague will see a familiar face when he arrives in Cincinnati with former Spartan great Fatai Alashe on the roster.
“It was really special to see all three there, to see them all play four years at Michigan State and see them drafted in the top 30 overall. It was awesome to see the expression on their faces and the way they handled themselves, speaking at the podium,” said MSU men’s soccer head coach Damon Rensing. “I kind of remember all of them coming in as gawky little freshmen and see them walk out and getting drafted as young men. It was really cool to see and a really special day.”
Last season, Ken Krolicki was the first Spartan drafted since defender Zach Carroll in 2016 when he was chosen as the 53rd overall pick, chosen as the seventh player in the third round.
In 2014, three Spartans signed to play for MLS with Fatai Alashe being chosen fourth overall, the highest ever for MSU. Jay Chapman a signed a homegrown contract with Toronto FC, while Adam Montague was taken in the third round by the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Three players taken in the first round came from schools that Michigan State played during the 2018 season, including Indiana’s Griffin Dorsey (sixth overall), Maryland’s Dayne St. Clair (seventh overall) and Maryland’s Chase Gasper (15th overall). MSU was the only team to have three players drafted in the top 30.
Jones, a native of Lansing, Michigan, had a stellar career as a Spartan. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second-straight season. He ended the season the season third on the team in scoring five goals and five assists for 15 points. He completed his MSU career with 16 goals and 14 assists for 46 points.
“New England is a great match of DeJuan, and I had a feeling at No. 11 he would go to them. He has great pace and obviously a great ability to score in the final third. So I think they will really like him, and I think it will be a good match for DeJuan to try to play for a coach in Brad Friedel who has U.S. National Team experience,” Rensing said.
Sierakowski, who hails from McHenry, Illinois, is a two-time All-Region honoree. In 2016 as a sophomore, he was named to the first team, while earning second-team honors in 2018. Sierakowski became the first Spartan to lead the team in scoring in all four years and was first on the team in scoring with eight goals and five assists for 21 points. For his career, the forward scored 33 goals with 16 assists for 82 points which was tied for sixth with Jean Lohri (1960-62) all time in the Spartan record book.
“I am really happy for Ryan. Sometimes I think that the forward position, the No. 9 position, can be a little hard to figure out, but he has a great opportunity with Portland. They have one of the best fan bases, and they have their minor league team right there. It is always great to have the first and second team train in the same town. It is a great match with the way he plays and their style of play,” added Rensing.
Hague, who hails from Walled Lake, Michigan, was stellar in goal for the Spartans for three seasons. During his senior campaign he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as well as capturing first-team accolades and Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year honors as a junior. He ended his Spartan career second in shutouts with 26 and wins with 40.
“It is always a little tricky with goalkeeping because not every team needs a goalkeeper, but I think that he is in a great spot with FC Cincinnati. They are brand new to the league, so they will definitely want some depth in goal. He will also have a mentor there with Fatai Alashe being there as well,” said Rensing.
The third and fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft will be held via conference call on Monday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m.
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