Supplementing a Real roster

Real Salt Lake has announced that they will draft midfielder/forward Steven Rhyne of Clemson University in today’s MLS supplemental draft.

The 5-foot-8 inch, 165-pounder was Clemson’s second leading scorer in 2002, with seven goals and nine assists. Rhyne “has a very good chance of making the 28 [man roster],” said Steve Pastorino, Real’s general manager.

SuperDraft invitees, try-out camp hopefuls and obscure talents also have another chance to make the roster of the MLS franchise. The 2005 Major League Soccer supplemental draft will be held today at 10 a.m. via teleconference call from MLS headquarters, according to Real officials. It will happen three weeks after the 2005 MLS SuperDraft.

“We’ll be watching for any players who are there,” Pastorino said.

Real will choose first in all four rounds, provided there aren’t any changes between now and press time. Salt Lake will be followed by fellow expansion franchise CD Chivas USA. In all, 48 players will be chosen during the draft.

Players eligible for the supplemental draft will include those who were not selected in January’s SuperDraft, players who made an impression at the recent try-out camp at BYU, and those who may be off the beaten path.

Real Salt Lake currently has 28 players on its roster, six of which are at the Real training camp in Florida on a try-out basis. The roster limit is 28 players (18 senior roster players, 10 developmental players).

Available players for the draft will include hopefuls from Real’s try-out camp at BYU two weeks ago. Particular players who made an impact at the camp, according to team officials, were defender/midfielder Michael Lookingland of Bucknell, forward Luc Harrington of Cal-Riverside and little-known midfielder Efren Aguilar of the local Latino league.

Pastorino said that Real is still on the lookout for one goalkeeper and one defender, and that both needs may be filled in the supplemental draft.

Real also announced today that local product Joey Worthen will not attend this year’s training camp on a try-out basis. The 25-year-old midfielder is under contract with the Richmond Kickers of the A-League through the 2005 season.

“There are still a lot of quality players left from the 2005 MLS SuperDraft who are in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft,” Real coach John Ellinger said. “We’ve got some players in mind and we would like to select players in the Supplemental Draft that would fight for senior and developmental roster spots. We’re trying to build depth in certain positions.”

Also this week, Real announced the acquisition of U.S. National Team mainstay/NY-NJ MetroStar defender Eddie Pope. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. He was traded from the Metros for a 2nd round SuperDraft pick in 2006, and Real’s final foreign-player allocation. Pope will contribute to a backline of defenders that already includes Brian Dunseth (also a new signee from the Swedish Supertettan league), Bosnian Salid Halilovic, Evan Whitfield and Nelson Akwari.

Pope is currently in training camp with the U.S. National Team in California as it prepares for their upcoming qualifier versus Trinidad and Tobago on Feb. 9.

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