Sounders U23 defender drafted by Toronto FC

Sounders U23 defender drafted by Toronto FC

su23clearBy Phil Smith

(SoundersU23.com) Sounders U23 defender Clement Simonin was drafted 9th overall by Toronto FC in the recent 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Clement follows fellow U23 players DeAndre Yedlin, Sean Okoli, Darwin Jones, Anthony Arena, Fernando Monge, Eric Stevenson, Aodhan Quinn, Lucas Baldin, Earl Edwards, and Taylor Peay into the top level of pro soccer in the US. Simonin, a 6-1 180 pound left-footed central defender, is the 25th Sounders U23 player in the last three seasons to sign pro contracts. “We continue to work and help players refine their ability so they can make the jump to higher levels. Clement is another great example of a player willing to put the work in to make the next step,” said Sounders U23 General Manager and Head Coach Darren Sawatzky.

(Editor’s note: Simonin played 8 matches for the U23’s in 2014, totalling 713 minutes of PDL action.)

Clement played a central defender role last season for Sounders U23. He earned Premier Development League” Team of the Week” honors and was invited to the MLS combine in Las Vegas. “Clement represents a high- level player that reads the game incredibly well. He was a great leader on the Sounders U23 team and we wish him the best in MLS,” said Sawatzky.

Simonin, a native of Lorient, France, was on the books of FC Lorient from the time he was 12 until he was 19. He progressed to the club’s reserve side, at which point he was cut. Simonin came to the US to attend school and spent two seasons at Division II Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. At Lander he earned second-team All-America honors after his sophomore season. Simonin transferred to North Carolina State, where he excelled as a junior, but then suffered through an injury-plagued senior season that included a sports hernia, “I carried on for seven games and then decided to get surgery,” Simonin said. “I wanted to get ready for the potential draft so decided to have surgery in September.”

Clement_Simonin_2014
(Chris Coulter photo)

 

“The chance I had to get drafted in the first round of the draft comes mostly from my experience with the Sounders U23. I got the opportunity to play in a very special and competitive environment every day in training and games, “ said Simonin, “Darren Sawatzky has played an instrumental role in my development as a player as he transmitted me a lot of confidence with his love for the game and his passion for winning every single day.”

Toronto FC’s selection of Simonin in the first round was a surprise to many MLS draft observers, but Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko had seen Clement play at the a Las Vegas combine and Simonin impressed “Simonin is a left-footed center-back, and he’s really good with the ball, and he can pass out of the back,” Bezbatchenko said after the draft. “He’s athletic and has really good positioning.”

“I had a blast playing for the Sounders U23 team last summer, had the chance to practice and get exposed with the first team, and it undoubtedly helped me getting to the next level, “ finished Simonin.

The Sounders U23 team fosters a mission of moving players to the next level in helping put the finishing touches in player development before they jump to higher level professional leagues. “We have taken on the role of helping these young players get competitive games in the spring and summer along with an amazing training environment,” added Lane Smith, Co-owner, “We are here to win games but watching players make the leap is incredible and we take great pride in helping them further their careers.”

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