Ahead of every Major League Soccer SuperDraft, league executives prepare as well as possible to select the most promising players for their respective clubs. Teams are more aware of players in their market and the Quakes’ knowledge of programs like Cal and Stanford will naturally exceed that of teams like Wake Forest and Virginia.
Tanner Beason is a player that Quakes GM Jesse Fioranelli and Co. have been targeting for several years. A four-year starter at Stanford, Beason had performed in front of Earthquakes’ staffers numerous times en route to three National Championships.
On draft day, Fioranelli didn’t expect Beason to be available when the Quakes picked at No. 12. As the dominos began to fall, only one team was left to pick before San Jose were on the clock: the Colorado Rapids.
San Jose was cautiously optimistic, but news broke that Colorado had traded the pick to expansion side Nashville SC, whom Fioranelli believed were targeting the 6’1 center back from Winston-Salem. Leitch agreed, commenting how Nashville must have realized it was their final chance to swoop in front of the Bay Area club. When Alistair Johnston was taken, jubilation ensued.
Beason shared in the excitement when he heard his name called.
“I have been waiting to play at this level for a long time,” the defenseman said. “It’s something that I’ve worked really hard at. I know the area really well and I have been out there a while, so I won’t have to shift around too much. I am just excited.”
Coincidentally, Beason had just finished moving out of his dorm room, not knowing what his future held.
“I’ve already moved out. I lived on campus at Stanford, that’s just how the system works. With the quarter ending in December, I had already moved all my stuff back home to the East Coast, obviously not knowing where I’ll be headed next. Now I’ll move the stuff that I really need back to where it was.”
The Earthquakes weren’t the only club involved in the drafting process. Reno 1868 FC, the USL Championship affiliate for San Jose, was also involved in the decision-making.
“I think [he’s] a good one”, said Ian Russell, Reno 1868 FC head coach. “He communicates. He can play left back, left-sided center back, which I think is critical. He can play two positions. He’s a winner.”
Beason was asked about his knowledge of Reno and the development process that San Jose has implemented.
“Like anything, when you move up to a new level, it’s not like you start at the top of the new level,” the Stanford grad said. “There’s work to be done. I had to kind of make that climb and that journey at Stanford and I’m excited for any and every opportunity that I get with Reno, with the first team, and all of that and just hoping to grow and improve during the process.”
The Quakes were predominantly right footed last year. Only goalkeeper Daniel Vega, defender Marcos Lopez and midfielder Magnus Eriksson preferred their left foot among the regulars in 2019. Going into 2020, the Quakes staff are making a concerted effort to change that. The club has already signed academy product Casey Walls, a left footed center back; second-round draft pick fullback Jon Bell is also a left-footer, and Fioranelli has made it known he is seeking one more defensive asset, likely left footed as well.
Beason, also left footed, is confident that he can join this effort and support his new teammates.
“Yeah, it’s paid dividends so far. There’s not too many of us out there. I would be excited by any opportunity. I feel like I can play a couple different spots. If that’s the spot where they see me [left back] being able to help the team, I am happy and excited to help the team wherever possible. I am looking forward to that.
“I think I am a guy with a very strong defensive mentality. I would describe myself as a very fierce competitor. Along with that, I’m someone that has a left foot and can distribute from the left side of the field very well. I love to compete. I love to defend. I’m someone that can play in a couple of different spots but it’s really exciting to be in a competitive fight.”