PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – The San Jose Earthquakes selected Stanford midfielder JJ Koval with the ninth overall selection in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Thursday at the Philadelphia Convention Center. In the second round, San Jose picked defender Joe Sofia from UCLA to complete the team’s draft day.
Koval, 21, was a standout midfielder during his four seasons with the Cardinal, earning a starting role as a freshman and appearing in 74 games during his career. He earned All-Pac 12 honors as both a junior and a senior with the Cardinal, including a spot on the All-Pac-12 First Team in 2013. A central midfielder, he scored six goals and posted four assists during his collegiate career. As a senior, he helped Stanford reach the third round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating Loyola Marymount and Cal State Northridge along the way.
"We're very happy to have JJ. He 's great in terms of where we're looking to add players,” said Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson. “He has a really bright future as a professional and I think he's going to be an excellent two-way midfielder.”
He also spent the summer playing for the Ventura County Fusion in the PDL in 2013 and played his youth soccer for Real So Cal. At Stanford, he was twice named to the Pac-12 All-Academic Team. He becomes the 12th Stanford player to be drafted by the Earthquakes.
“JJ is someone who we’ve scouted over the years and we’ve always thought he was a good player,” said Earthquakes general manager John Doyle. “He’s more offensive than people give him credit for. I think he’s going to be a good two-way midfielder for us and it’s great to have him.”
Sofia, 22, completed a strong four-year career with the Bruins in 2013, starting 19 matches at center back and earning All-Pac-12 honors while helping UCLA to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. For his career, the Southern California native scored five goals and recorded eight assists in 82 games.
“Joe is a player who we’ve watched for sometime now. He was a top central defender for UCLA during his four years there and we’re happy to see what he can do in San Jose,” Watson said.
He earned All-Pac-12 honors as a sophomore, junior and senior and was also the Pac-12 Men’s Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2013. The Bruins recorded 34 shutouts during his career, as Sofia helped UCLA to four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an appearance in the 2011 College Cup.
“Joe had a great career at UCLA. He played just about every game they had since his freshman year. He’s big, strong and should be a good addition to the defense,” Doyle said.
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – San Jose Earthquakes select M JJ Koval in the first round (ninth overall) of the MLS SuperDraft. San Jose Earthquakes select D Joe Sofia in the second round (28th overall).
Weight: 175 lbs.
Born: May 19, 1992 in Westlake Village, Calif.
Hometown: Camarillo, Calif.
Weight: 180 lbs.
Born: Oct. 8, 1991 in Mission Viejo, Calif.
Hometown: Dove Canyon, Calif.