Jimmy Ockford announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he'd signed his first professional contract. The specifics of that deal, though, require a bit of reading between the lines.
Can't believe i signed my first professional contract today with MLS/Seattle/NY Cosmos. Off to NY soon to keep the dream alive!!— Jimmy Ockford (@jockford) February 25, 2014
While the tweet is a little confusing, it seems to suggest that Ockford has signed with the Seattle Sounders, but then immediately loaned to the New York Cosmos of the NASL. The Sounders had used their second-round pick in the 2014 SuperDraft on Ockford, which does not guarantee him a contract.
Ockford played 165 minutes in preseason matches (even getting a respite due to injury). That was good for third highest among all unsigned draftees and trialists. He is also one of 16 players to play a full 90 so far this preseason.
The particulars of the loan agreement will determine whether Seattle keeps his roster spot open. Per Sounder at Heart's understanding, the Cosmos would need to be covering Ockford's entire salary in order to free up a roster spot. The loan may also need to be for the entire year. Although the Sounders would have still retained Ockford's MLS rights even if they had not signed him, structuring the deal as a sign-and-loan at least allows them to retain a level of control over his future.
Sounders fans can track Ockford's play through SBN blog Twice a Cosmo.