Sporting Kansas City added two college seniors to the club's preseason squad on Monday, selecting Washington midfielder Jaret Townsend and Virginia Tech defender James Kasak in the final two rounds of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
Townsend and Kasak, both 21, will now have the opportunity to earn a professional contract when they join the MLS club in Arizona for the 2020 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy.
Having completed their successful four-year college careers, Townsend and Kasak are both delighted by the prospect of competing alongside other MLS players in the coming weeks.
"Im unbelievably excited for this opportunity that Sporting KC has provided me," Townsend told Washington Athletics this week. "I'm ready to get there and start working. I know my four years at UW has prepared me for this and I couldn't think of a better place to have spent my college career."
Townsend, drafted 58th overall in the third round, 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.
Added Washington head coach Jamie Clark, "I am so pleased for Jaret. He's a player that works so hard at his game day in and day out. Because of this, he will be a great pro. And to see him get rewarded for this diligence is great. Sporting KC are getting an outstanding young man, and I'm excited to see where his soccer career goes from here."
Kasak, drafted 84th overall in the fourth round, 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.
"As cliché as it sounds, words can't really describe the feeling," Kasak told Virginia Tech Athletics on Tuesday. "It was beyond exciting and surreal to have years of hard work finally pay off.
"Playing at Tech transformed me as a player," he added. "My coaches and teammates helped me develop tremendously and pushed me to grow. I definitely still have more years to develop, but can't wait to get started."
Townsend and Kasak will now look forward to the first leg of Sporting's preseason campaign, which runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1. The first stint is highlighted by friendlies against Phoenix Rising FC Trialists on Jan. 25 and fellow MLS outfit FC Cincinnati on Feb. 1. Click here for the club's full preseason schedule.