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Press ReleaseST. LOUIS - In a 2009 MLS SuperDraft that saw much less wheeling and dealing than in years past, Real Salt Lake also stood pat and used its three selections in the annual collegiate draft - this year held at the America's Center in St. Louis - headlined by the selection of Lynn University MF Jean Alexandre with its lone first round pick (12th overall). RSL then waited to use its two fourth and final round picks to select University of Washington MF Raphael Cox and Alabama A&M striker Futhi Bhembe.
"When I heard I was selected, to be honest, I was speechless," said Alexandre, who will join his new RSL teammates when preseason training commences in Utah later this month. "I have worked hard for this moment for so long, and when it finally came true I dropped down to my knees and I prayed. The Real Salt Lake staff showed interest in me after we played in preseason last year and spoke to me again leading up to the draft, but I was still surprised when the moment happened."
Bios and quotes from RSL General Manager Garth Lagerwey for each of RSL's three selections follow:
Weight: 190 lbs.
Date of Birth: Aug. 24, 1986 (22)
Hometown: Delray Beach, Fla.
Citizenship: Haiti (U.S. green card holder)
College: Lynn University
Acquired: Selected by Real Salt Lake in the first round (12th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
Jean Alexandre joins Real Salt Lake after four seasons at NCAA Division II Lynn University that culminated with an outstanding senior campaign, during which the Haitian international moved up to the forward spot and tallied 23 goals and seven assists while helping the Fighting Knights to an 18-2 record. In all, the 22-year-old scored 34 goals and added 16 assists during his 69-game collegiate career (63 starts) at Lynn. In addition, Alexandre saw his first senior team action for the Haitian National Team in the summer of 2008, making three appearances for the Caribbean nation last summer. Despite his Haitian roots, Alexandre will not occupy an international roster spot due to his status as an American green card holder.
Lagerwey says: "The staff felt that Jean was one of the best athletes at the [adidas MLS Player] Combine. With us moving to a fast and wide field at Rio Tinto Stadium, we feel the need to bring in athletic and versatile players, and selecting Jean helps us accomplish those goals. We took a chance taking a kid from a smaller school, but Jeff Cassar and I both have numerous contacts in South Florida from our Miami Fusion days that we contacted about Jean, so we felt very comfortable taking a chance with him at that pick."
Weight: 145 lbs.
Date of Birth: July 7, 1986 (22)
Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.
College: University of Washington
Acquired: Selected by Real Salt Lake in the fourth round (54th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
After beginning his collegiate days with a season at Highline Community College, Raphael Cox moved to the Division I ranks at the University of Washington, where he tallied 14 goals and 17 assists in 59 games from 2006-08. Cox twice earned All-Pac-10 honors, including following his senior season last fall, when his seven-goal, six-assist campaign earned the Tacoma native a nod to the conference's First-Team.
Lagerwey says: "Raphael's a left-sided midfielder, and we felt the need to add a true left-sided player to the team during this draft. He's a very athletic and technical player that will be an exciting addition to the squad."
Weight: 155 lbs.
Date of Birth: Oct. 10, 1982 (26)
Hometown: Mbabane, Swaziland
College: Alabama A&M University
Acquired: Selected by Real Salt Lake in the fourth round (57th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
Futhi Bhembe notched 14 goals in 16 contests during a surprise senior season in 2008 for Alabama A&M of the SWAC Conference, helping the side to a 9-5-3 record last fall. The resulting 1.94 points per game were tied for the fifth most in Division I last season, while his 14 goals ranked tied for 10th overall.
Lagerwey says: "Futhi was the fifth leading goal scorer in Division I this season. He's a quick attacking player that got things done at the collegiate level, so we're anxious to see if that can translate to the pros."
(Courtesy Real Salt Lake)