Real Salt Lake selects two players in 2013 MLS SuperDraft

INDIANAPOLISReal Salt Lake selected two players in Thursday’s 2013 MLS SuperDraft, picking University of Maryland MF John Stertzer in the first round with the 12th overall selection and trading up two spots in the second round to grab University of New Mexico FW Devon Sandoval with the 29th overall pick.

The 22-year-old Stertzer was a standout at Maryland, appearing in 79 games, making 49 starts, scoring 25 goals and registering 13 assists in four years with the Terrapins. The Oakton, Va. native was a Third Team All-American in his senior season in 2012, when he helped lead Maryland to the NCAA College Cup, an ACC Tournament crown and an ACC regular season co-championship.

“I’m just so happy,” Stertzer said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity to be a part of such a great club and I can’t stop thinking about the chance in front of me. I’m just looking forward so much for the chance to go out to Utah and Real Salt Lake. I know I have a lot to learn but I’m going to work my hardest to make an impact on the team.” 

The 6-foot, 170 lb. Stertzer was First Team All-ACC in 2011 and 2012 and ACC Championship All-Tournament Team in 2012. Maryland qualified for the NCAA Tournament in all four of Stertzer’s years in College Park. He was one of two Maryland players – along with D.C. selection Taylor Kemp – selected in the first round on Thursday.

“Stertzer is a guy we feel like can contribute for a long time,” Real Salt Lake GM Garth Lagerwey said. “He’s potentially a really solid player and we’re excited to add another young dynamic kid to our midfield. We’ve got six, seven young guys in there now and I think it’ll be a fantastic competition there this year with guys battling every day to see who emerges and gets the minutes.”

Real Salt Lake traded up two spots to grab Sandoval, sending the Philadelphia Union the 31st overall pick in Thursday’s SuperDraft and the 12th and 17th overall picks in Tuesday, Jan. 22’s MLS Supplemental Draft for Thursday’s 29th overall pick.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Sandoval said of joining RSL. “I had the opportunity to come out and train with RSL for a week over the summer and I really enjoyed it. It was an awesome experience and it’s an awesome team, one of the best in the league. It’s where I really wanted to play and when I heard my name I was just really happy.”

The 21-year-old Sandoval started his college career at San Diego State University but transferred to his University of New Mexico Lobos after his freshman year. The Albuquerque native starred for the Lobos, earning Second Team All-American honors in 2012 and finishing his four-year college career with 28 goals and 17 assists.

“I’m really happy that we were able to get a domestic forward in Devon Sandoval,” Lagerwey said. “We got deeper at forward and I think that’s really important. I also think that the type of forward that Devon is is really important. He’s a true No. 9 and you just don’t find them very often among American players. He’s a player that trained with us this summer, so we know him pretty well and we know he’s a really good person.”

Both Stertzer and Sandoval will report to Rio Tinto Stadium for the start of Real Salt Lake’s preseason camp this Saturday, Jan. 19. RSL will travel to Casa Grande, Ariz. on Monday, Jan. 21 for its first training sessions of the preseason.

Player: John Stertzer
Position: Midfielder
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 170 lbs.
Date of Birth: Oct. 4, 1990
Hometown: Oakton, Va.
Citizenship: USA
College: University of Maryland
How Acquired: Selected by Real Salt Lake in the first round (12th overall) of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 17, 2013

Player: Devon Sandoval
Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 185 lbs.
Date of Birth: June 16, 1991
Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.
Citizenship: USA
College: University of New Mexico
How Acquired: Selected by Real Salt Lake in the second round (29th overall) of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 17, 2013