February 12, 1999
Ft. Lauderdale, FL The San Diego Flash selected University of San Diego midfielder Leighton O'Brien as the club's territorial round pick in the 1999 A-League Draft conducted iin Ft. Lauderdale today. In the first round, standout forward Seth George from UCLA was selected. San Diego traded its second round pick to San Francisco Bay to acquire the Seals' starting goalkeeper Kevin Rueda. General Manager Sam Kaloustian and President Yan Skwara represented the team at the meetings. The three-round A-League draft was the culmination of the three-day event, which featured several college all-star matches, league meetings and the annual Major League Soccer (MLS) Draft.
In the MLS College Draft held before the A-League meeteing, both O'Brien (New England, 3rd round, 25th pick) and George (Los Angeles, 2nd, 13th) were selected. San Diego will retain the A-League rights of both players and if their respective MLS clubs release them, the Flash will have an exclusive 14-day negotiating period to sign them to contracts. "We wanted to bolster our offenses, these two high-profile selections may give us the opportunity to do that," remarked Kaloustian.
The Flash were not so lucky in the MLS Supplemental Draft, both midfielder Carlos "Chile" Farias and forward Anthony Farace were chosen by the San Jose Clash and head coach Brian Quinn. Farias was second on the team in scoring, while Farace missed the entire 1998 season with a knee injury. The two players have an excellent chance of joining former Flash goalkeeper Joe Cannon on the Clash roster. "It just shows you the type of talent that we are developing and putting on the field for our fans," stated Kaloustian.
The other transaction on draft day may have been the most significant. The deal between the Flash and Seals gives San Diego a well-respected starting goalkeeper to replace the departed Cannon. Seals coach Tom Simpson gives Rueda high praise, "I have trained many goalkeepers and he is one of the best, I would have like to keep him, but he was not happy here."
Forty-five hopefulls will be attending the club's mini-camp beginning February 16 at Robb Field. The two-week mini-camp will host the 28 players that made the open tryouts cut and 17 players with previous A-League or international experience. An estimated four players attending the mini-camp will be signed to contracts to joint the team for the start of Spring Training on March 1.