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Real Salt Lake adds two, including Syracuse High grad, in 2019 MLS SuperDraft

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, File)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SANDY — Real Salt Lake tapped into the Ivy League with its MLS SuperDraft selections this weekend.

Then, it went local.

The Sandy-based Major League Soccer club selected Harvard midfielder Sam Brown with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, before finishing off the draft with former Syracuse High standout Kyle Coffee at No. 41 overall.

Coffee, who was the first-ever Division I college commit in Titans history, spent time training with Real Salt Lake and the club’s second-division affiliate Real Monarchs.

“It’s an incredible feeling getting to be here with my family, then getting the call to play for my hometown team,” Coffee said in a statement from the club. "I’ve been to so many RSL matches in my life, being from Utah. To be able to go to games as a kid and become a fan, to now being a part of it is surreal. I just can’t wait to get started.”

Brown and Coffee will join Salt Lake in time for the club’s 2019 preseason schedule, which gets underway in late January.

An All-Ivy League honoree, Brown scored three goals with 12 assists in 62 matches over four years for the Crimson, starting 61. He was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2014-15, and also spent some time in the summer training with RSL and the Monarchs.

Coffee, who played club soccer for local powerhouse La Roca FC, scored 15 goals with nine assists in 74 appearances for the Huskies, the same alma mater as RSL general manager Craig Waibel. Waibel spent two years on staff at Washington before joining Real Salt Lake as an assistant coach in 2014.

The duo will join homegrown products Tate Schmitt and Erik Holt for the 2019 preseason. Schmitt, 21, spent four seasons at Louisville, where he scored 26 goals with 17 assists for the Cardinals.

He spent two years at the RSL academy in Casa Grandes, Arizona before college, helping the developmental side to 2014 and 2015 national runner-up appearances.

Holt, a center back, spent four seasons at UCLA and started 61 of 71 matches.

“We know that Tate and Erik are players that would be first-round selections if they entered the draft,” RSL general manager Craig Waibel said upon signing the pair back on Jan. 3. “Having the ability to sign both as RSL academy graduates is another step in following our youth development philosophy while giving both the ability to develop into first-team players over time.

“They both had remarkable college careers, and we are excited about what the future holds for them here at the club.”

Elsewhere in MLS, the LA Galaxy selected former Orem High standout Emil Cuello with a first-round pick Friday.

The Galaxy took Brown, who scored 23 goals in four seasons with the Tigers, one spot before Brown at No. 19 overall. He played collegiately at Southern Methodist, earning Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the American Athletic Conference.

Cuello finished his collegiate career with 12 goals and 17 assists in 72 games for the Mustangs.

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