Sporting Kansas City selected two college seniors in the third and fourth rounds of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft on Monday, taking University of Washington midfielder Jaret Townsend with the No. 58 overall pick and Virginia Tech University defender James Kasak at No. 84 overall.
Townsend and Kasak comprise Sporting’s 2020 draft class after the club had zero picks in the first two rounds, which took place last Thursday. The duo will now join Sporting for the team’s 2020 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy. Manager Peter Vermes’ side will spend both legs of preseason training in Arizona, first from Jan. 19 – Feb. 1 and then from Feb. 8-23.
Townsend, 21, started 42 of 75 career appearances in four seasons at Washington from 2016-2019, helping the Huskies reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship last month. The midfielder’s standout senior campaign was highlighted by a career-best seven goals, including two in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
A member of the 2019 Pac-12 Fall Academic Honor Roll, Townsend guided Washington to a 17-4 regular season record and a Pac-12 regular season title last fall. The Huskies advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of his four seasons in Seattle, posting identical 12-7-1 records in 2017 and 2018 after going 14-7 in 2016.
Raised in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Townsend competed in the Real Colorado Academy as a youth, where he was coached by current Sporting Kansas City II assistant coach Chris Martinez. He joined the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida, in 2014 and represented the USA at the U-17 level. He also played for the Colorado Rapids U-23s in USL League Two (formerly the Premier Development League) in 2017 and Crossfire Premier of the National Premier Soccer League last summer.
Kasak, 21, recorded six goals and 13 assists in 75 career games for the Hokies from 2016-2019. A forward his first two seasons, he secured a regular spot at left back with 40 straight starts from 2018-2019. He ended a strong senior campaign with three goals and five assists, scoring in the second round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship against New Hampshire and leading Virginia Tech to the Round of 16.
Kasak helped the Hokies to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the 2016 national quarterfinals. He was part of an accomplished Virginia Tech senior class that finished with 46 career wins and six NCAA Tournament victories, both the highest since the Hokies soccer program joined the ACC.
In addition to starring for Virginia Tech, Kasak gained NPSL experience with Charlottesville Alliance FC in the summer of 2018 and spent last summer with the North Carolina FC U-23s in USL League Two.
Sporting will kick off the 2020 MLS regular season on Feb. 29 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC before hosting the Houston Dynamo on March 7 in the club's highly anticipated home opener at Children's Mercy Park.
The best way to guarantee tickets for 2020 home matches at Children’s Mercy Park is to join the Sporting Kansas City family and become a Season Ticket Member. Several multi-game ticket packages for the 2020 season are also on sale now at SportingKC.com, including the limited-time Home Opener Pack that bundles the game on March 7 with two flex matches. Single-game tickets for the first half of Sporting’s home schedule will go on sale to the general public in the near future.
Born: 1/29/1998 (21 years old)
Weight: 160 lbs.
College: University of Washington
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Born: 2/12/1998 (21 years old)
Weight: 160 lbs.
College: Virginia Tech University
Hometown: Stuarts Draft, Virginia