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Seattle GM on Sounders' day at the SuperDraft

Alfaro, Mathers picks fit into Seattle goal of reinforcing the squad

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the 2015 season, Seattle Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey, as well as head coach Sigi Schmid, stressed the need for depth in Seattle's squads. Lagerwey reiterated this after today's SuperDraft, saying that Seattle's picks were made on the desire to build up the team for the future. "Basically, any college kid that we pick is based on their long term role with the organization, that's more important than what they could contribute right away." The Sounders GM also stated that, after today, "we don't have a lot left to do" regarding player signings, other than possibly adding some more depth at midfield. Lagerwey feels that the existing team has enough quality for the impending CONCACAF Champions' League semifinal against Club America on February 23.

Regarding defender Tony Alfaro, Lagerwey said that "on an organizational basis, we really wanted to get deeper from the center back position, from academy to S2 to first team. We got a left-footed center back, which is a little harder to find. He's got good feet, good size, real potential. We'll see how he develops."

Lagerwey refers to Zach Mathers, the Duke midfielder picked 35th overall by the Sounders, as "a very smart soccer player and a very good technical player." Despite Mathers' playing further forward in college, Lagerwey expects "for him to play a little bit deeper in midfield as a pro, so we'll see how that shakes out." As can be expected, Mathers is seen as a long term project for Seattle at this point. Lagerwey was a little vague on the club's expectations for Mathers' first season, saying that the player will probably begin the season with S2 with the goal of preparing him to play with the first team.

Despite a number of sources confirming the rumor, the lack of official communication with Joevin Jones by the Sounders means Lagerwey could only refer to the player indirectly as of right now. Lagerwey danced around it, all but confirming the player's arrival from Chicago Fire. He referred to the player as "a potential starter at a position in need," and that the club is really excited about having the player in Seattle. Lagerwey also said that the player was "super athletic" and younger than some of the other players who have played in this role in the past.

Even though today's draft picks were long term projects that speak more to a desire for depth than revolutionary squad changes, Lagerwey made sure to stress that once preseason comes around, every player has a shot at making the first team. "What we want is competition for positions, all over the field. No one's been handed anything." Either way, Lagerwey says that playing for S2 isn't "a problem, but it's an opportunity for these kids to show us what they can do."

Regarding Ryan Herman, the former University of Washington goalkeeper and Sounders academy player drafted by FC Dallas today, Lagerwey said that the club made the decision before the draft not to sign the player to a Homegrown Player contract or trade those HGP rights to another club. "We have three goalkeepers that we are very happy with, so when we thought that Herman might not have a chance to make our team, we thought it best to leave him in the draft and do what's right for him and his career." Lagerwey made it clear that this is how the Sounders prefer to operate regarding academy and former academy players, so that players without a future at the club aren't held back from achieving success elsewhere.

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