Notes & Quotes: 2013 MLS SuperDraft

Hear from Manneh, Hurtado, Rennie, and Lenarduzzi

NOTES

  • Whitecaps FC acquired the fourth overall draft pick from Toronto FC in exchange for the 10th overall selection and allocation money
  • With the fourth overall pick, Whitecaps FC selected Generation adidas striker/winger Kekuta Manneh
  • Manneh was the youngest player selected in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft
  • With the fifth overall pick, Whitecaps FC selected Santa Clara University striker/winger Erik Hurtado
 

WHITECAPS FC – QUOTES

HEAD COACH MARTIN RENNIE
On Manneh and Hurtado:

“I’m really happy to pick up these two players. In our squad we have a solid group of players but we wanted to add pace and excitement in the final third of the field and we feel that with these two players we have definitely managed to do that. They’ve got attributes that can’t be coached with their pace and their ability to change direction quickly and their hunger for goals. The other things that they don’t have yet we feel that we can coach and we can help them improve on so we’re really pleased to get them and we think that they can have a good opportunity to make a difference to our team right away but also have a huge potential to give us even more in the future so we’re just really excited to get them into our squad and we look forward to start training with them on Monday.”

On Hurtado’s performance at the Combine:

“It really just confirmed what we already knew. On the list I wrote down before I went to the Combine his name was down there a lot, as was Kekuta’s. You have to do your research beforehand and we feel like we’ve worked really hard on our research for all the players. Jake DeClute, along with all the other assistants, have worked really hard on it and I felt like we were so well prepared for this draft. I didn’t really think we could get both of these guys but we’re genuinely really happy that we have.”

On whether Manneh will play on the wing or up front:

“With both these players they have a couple of options because they’re versatile but I think on the left hand side he can play there, he can also play in the front area so there’s options especially if we want to play with a front three.  It’s exciting to think we’ve got quality and pace in the final third and, like I said at the beginning, speed is something you can’t coach and we’ve got that.”

On making a trade for the 4th pick:

“We got the two players that we wanted to get from the draft and I think that once they were both available at that point it made sense for us to make that trade. We were really happy that it went through and came out the way that it did.”

On Manneh and Hurtado carrying their goalscoring form into MLS:

“When you’re used to scoring goals and you expect to score goals every time you go out and play, I think that that is a gift that both of these players have and that’s something that we hope that they continue to improve on, continue to do in MLS and add to the qualities that they already have. Of course, ultimately the game’s about scoring goals and as we’re evolving our team we’ve made it more solid last year and we want to make it more attacking, more creative, more exciting going forward and we’ve got players who can score goals.”

On whether picking Kekuta Manneh was a surprise so early in the draft:

“I think within the coaching ranks a lot of people were less surprised than maybe analysts were and for us we really believe in developing young talent and helping them progress. We see that in Kekuta, that he has that ability to do that so picking him at that point was because we didn’t think he would be available later and of course you never know that in the draft. For us to get both of those players in the top five was exactly where we wanted to be. “

On Kektua getting significant minutes this season:

“I think he has the ability and the potential to do that. Obviously it’s the same with Erik, they can both contribute for us; how much they contribute is going to be down to them and how hard they work and what their attitude is like, what their willingness to learn is like. If all those things are good, and when they get their chances they perform, then there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t play. Last year Darren Mattocks was a pick for us and he became one of our go-to guys and that was in his first year as a professional so there’s absolutely no reason that they can’t do that. One of the things for them that’s exciting is that we have a track record of playing young players and we want to keep doing that.”

On picking attacking and whether the squad has enough in defence:

“I think that if we can get the players that we want in those positions we’ll have a solid group there. I believe we are really solid and we have a number of good players there and we’re always looking to improve on that as well.”

On other areas of the squad that need strengthening:

“I think going forward we are pretty solid. We’ve added a bit more pace; maybe a different dimension makes sense and maybe a little more creativity to feed the ball into the players who we have got who can be very dangerous if they have the right service. We’re still working on a few things but today we’re most happy about getting the players that we wanted to from this draft and that takes away some needs that we definitely had and gives us other positions to focus on. Of course we’ve been working on that for a while and we’re hoping to be able to announce a couple more things pretty soon.”

PRESIDENT BOB LENARDUZZI
On Kekuta’s performance at the Combine:

“We were well aware of Kekuta before the Combine and certainly his performance at the Combine confirmed what we already knew. We feel he has an unlimited potential. We don’t want him to get too carried away with himself because he’s got a lot to learn but the raw talent that he has is something that we hope will make him a very exciting player.”

On whether the trade with Toronto was a smooth transaction:

“There had been discussions throughout the whole of the Combine on getting better picks and we were doing likewise to retain the picks we had. The negotiations weren’t difficult when it came to that point and we had indicated that we were interested. We’d already discussed what it would take and it was pretty smooth.”

KEKUTA MANNEH - FOURTH OVERALL MLS SUPERDRAFT PICK

On getting picked by Vancouver Whitecaps FC:

“I’m just excited that I got drafted by Whitecaps FC and I’m really happy that they chose me. I went to Vancouver two months ago and I trained with the team; it was exciting and I got to know some of the guys. I’m just really excited, I feel like I’m the happiest guy right now in the world. It’s an exciting move for me and my family.”

On moving to the United States at age 15:

“It’s always hard to leave your family behind and go to a different country. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make; I had two choices to make, I could either go to Europe or come here to MLS. I ended up choosing coming to the States and I feel like if I come here doors will open for me, that’s why I decided to come over here.”

On playing in MLS:

“It’s going to be a big jump from the youth level to the pro environment. I played with a few MLS teams and European so I practiced with a lot of those guys. I feel like I’m good to go. I’ve definitely got a little bit of strengthening yet but I feel like right now I’m good to go.”

ERIK HURTADO - FIFTH OVERALL MLS SUPERDRAFT PICK

On getting picked by Vancouver Whitecaps FC:

“I want to say a thank you to the Whitecaps and MLS for giving me this opportunity and I’m so excited to be drafted to Vancouver. It’s a dream come true with the dream of playing professional soccer. I’m going to give it my all and play with 100%. I’m just so happy for my friends and my family and I want to thank God for this because it’s a blessing. I’m just really excited; I’m really looking forward to it.”

On stepping up to MLS:

“This is a professional environment and I’m excited to get started with it. The veterans that do this, they know what it’s like day in and day out and I’m just hoping that I can learn off of them and make it as easy on myself as possible.”

On the rivalry between Vancouver and Portland as a native of Beaverton, OR:

“It’s amazing to have such enthusiastic fans from each club. It makes the game so much more intense when you’re playing for more than just a game, you’re playing for your club and I’m just so excited to be a part of it, to be part of the rivalry. As of right now my number one team is Vancouver Whitecaps FC.”