Sporting Kansas City selected two college seniors on Tuesday in MLS SuperDraft 2022 presented by adidas, picking Grand Canyon University defender Esai Easley in the first round at No. 22 overall and University of Maryland defender Brett St. Martin in the second round at No. 50 overall. Sporting passed on its third-round pick at No. 78 overall.
Easley and St. Martin are set to join Sporting Kansas City for the club’s 2022 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy, which will feature a month of training in Arizona from Jan. 17 to Feb. 19.
Born and raised in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Easley started 47 of 53 appearances during a four-year college career at Grand Canyon in Phoenix, adding two goals and four assists. Capable of playing as a center back or a right back, he led the Antelopes to three NCAA Tournament appearances and two titles in the Western Athletic Conference—the 2018 conference tournament championship and the 2021 regular season title.
Easley, 21, captained Grand Canyon as a senior and earned multiple accolades as one of the country’s best college defenders, including United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region first team, All-WAC first team and WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. While at Grand Canyon, he played for former MLS coach Schellas Hyndman and former MLS player Leonard Griffin.
Easley made an immediate impact as a freshman, posting a 6-0-1 record in seven starts with just three goals conceded and helping the Antelopes win the WAC Tournament and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever at the Division I level. He became a regular starter as a sophomore and propelled Grand Canyon back to the NCAA Tournament as a junior in the spring of 2021, with the Antelopes finishing the abbreviated season with an 8-2 record. Easley’s senior campaign was highlighted by a WAC regular season title as Grand Canyon went 15-4-1 and racked up six shutouts with the native Hawaiian anchoring the backline.
As a youth, Easley competed with academies at Seattle Sounders FC and De Anza Force in California before representing the Portland Timbers U-23s in 2021, where he was named to the USL League Two Western Conference Team of the Year.
St. Martin, 22, enjoyed a successful four-year career at Maryland, where he was crowned a 2018 national champion and helped the Terrapins to four NCAA Tournament appearances. The versatile defender finished his Maryland career as a two-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time team captain as a junior and senior. St. Martin took control of the Terps' right center back position during a breakout second season in 2019 before anchoring the Terps backline in his final two seasons. The Baltimore area native also contributed as a right back on Maryland's national title team.
As a freshman, St. Martin started seven of 12 matches and scored once as Maryland claimed their fourth national championship in program history. He then hit career-highs in 2019 with starts in 20 of 21 games, tallying a goal and an assist. The defender was an All-Big Ten second team honoree during a shortened junior campaign in which he played every minute for the Terrapins.
St. Martin ended his Maryland tenure with his second season as the team’s captain last fall. He started in all 17 matches, notched an assist and helped the Terrapins to eight shutouts, garnering All-Big Ten first team honors.
Prior to arriving at Maryland, St. Martin played club soccer for Baltimore Celtic, where he was a 2016 State Cup champion, a United Soccer Coaches All-Regional Team selection in 2017 and a U-19 national champion in 2018. He was also tabbed to the Best XI at the 2018 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.