Monday, January 26, 2015

Toronto FC trades for Eriq Zavaleta

Toronto FC announced this morning that the club has acquired defender/forward Eriq Zavaleta via a trade with the Seattle Sounders for a 2016 2nd round pick in the MLS SuperDraft.

Zavaleta, who is the nephew of TFC's manager Greg Vanney, was originally the 10th overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft by the Seattle Sounders. The 10th pick was traded to Seattle the day of the draft by Toronto FC in exchange for allocation money and the 16th overall pick, which was used on Emery Welshman.

Zavaleta has made 22 appearances in the MLS, 5 for Seattle in 2013 and 17 (15 of which were starts) for the now defunct Chivas USA in 2014, where he was on loan last season from the Sounders. 

Internationally, Zavaleta spent his sophomore and junior years of high school at the US U-17 residency program, which occurs in Bradenton, FL. He was apart of the US U-17 squad that participated in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The US squad lost to Italy 2-1 in the round of 16 in the World Cup. Her also is in the pool for the U-20 US team, but failed to make the 19-man roster that participated in the CONCAF U-20 Championship team this mont, who qualified last week for the World Cup later this year.

"Adding a player like Eriq gives us another defender with MLS experience,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “He is a young and versatile player with the ability to both defend and attack.” 

Zavaleta brings versatility as Bezbatchenko said to the table. He is able to play multiple positions across the backline, which is rare in the MLS along with his ability to attack with pace. He spent time at forward during his collegiate days at Indiana University.

Before being drafted, Zavaleta played college soccer at Indiana University, winning the College Cup in 2012. In that season, he scored 18 goals, which led the Big 10 Conference and was third among Division I men's soccer. Zavaleta also won the Big 10 Player of the Year as well as being named to the Big 10 All-Tournament team as well as the College Cup All-Tournament team.

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