The Seattle Sounders picked a pair of creative, attacking players in the final two rounds of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Tuesday.
Stefano Rijssel is a 21-year-old Surinamese player currently playing for W Connection, a club team in Trinidad and Tobago. Prior to playing for W Connection he had a trial in Belgium. He was invited to the MLS Caribbean Combine and then earned a ticket to the main player MLS Combine. During the Combine he played mostly in a wide role, though he is listed as a F/MF player. He has 20 caps and 8 goals with the Suriname national squad and played in 2 of the team's 3 games at the recent Caribbean Cup. He also had CCL experience with his club team. According to the MLS Bio he is the only professional soccer player currently hailing from Suriname.
"Stefano is a young player that Ezra Hendrickson scouted at the Caribbean combine and we all saw at the MLS Combine," Assistant Coach and Scout Kurt Schmid said in a team release. "He showed good tactical sense as well as physical qualities. He can play wide in midfield but also has some versatility."
A quick review of highlight films shows a player who plays with his head up and who moves off the ball. He seems to work well with his teammates to create goals in transition, moving quickly into attacking positions and then either making critical passes within the 18 or finding the end of a cross to score. The MLS site says he showed flashes of skill at the Combine but was erratic.
The Sounders' fourth-round pick was Fabio Pereira, a Brazilian midfielder from the University of Michigan. Pereira was a four-year starter with Michigan and was named to the Top Drawer Soccer pre-season Starting 11 his senior year. He scored two goals and had four assists during his senior season. At the MLS Combine he scored a beautiful dead ball goal. His highlight reel shows a player who is comfortable taking set pieces and penalty kicks. He has a slight build but appears to do a respectable job protecting the ball.
"Fabio has done well throughout his college career," said Schmid. "He's a player we had a chance to work with closely at our Las Vegas combine as well. We like his soccer IQ and technical ability. Fabio can play all over midfield and has a good engine. Both players have the ability to compete for a spot on our roster."
Cracking this year's Sounders roster will be difficult. But Rijssel and Pereira now have an opportunity to prove themselves in camp.