Men's Soccer in the News - Preseason Edition
Jared Watts has made an early impact with the Colorado Rapids

Feb. 27, 2014

By Currie McFayden, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeMSoccer)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Several former Demon Deacons are set to begin their MLS careers or set out with new squads during the 2014 season including 2013 contributors Jared Watts, Sean Okoli and Jalen Robinson, generating media coverage around the league.

Jared Watts
Watts, who was selected with the 33rd pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft last month, has gotten off to a good start in training for the Colorado Rapids. While he played primarily as a defensive midfielder at Wake Forest, Watts has dropped back and is seeing time as a center back for the Rapids.

"You can maybe read the game a little bit more," said Watts. "The game almost slows down a little bit. Not to say that it's slow at all, but it's just a different angle, a different view, and everyone is in front of you. You get a different view of the game, how to read the game."

"I am honored to be playing in the MLS for the Colorado Rapids. I have worked hard to get to this point, but I know this is just the beginning. Every day I am motivated to prove myself to my teammates and coaches in Colorado. That's why I picked number 33, to be reminded every day that I was picked 33rd in the draft and to prove everyone wrong that skipped over me. The Rapids are an organization that demands greatness just like the Wake Forest soccer program did."

Rookie Watts finds his game going backwards ... in a good way -



Sean Okoli
After signing a homegrown deal with the Seattle Sounders in early January, Okoli has made an almost instant impact for his hometown squad. Playing in the Carolina Challenge Cup, Okoli netted a goal in the 57th minute against College of Charleston en route to a 5-0 Sounders victory.

"He's starting to make progress and advance himself as a player. I think the main thing is to push hard every day and that consistency is something that he's starting to catch," Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. "He's got to continue to do what he's doing and work hard every day and if you do that, opportunities open up."

Homegrown Player Okoli coming along nicely for the Sounders -

Homegrown Okoli already productive for Sounders - Bellingham Herald

Michael Parkhurst
Coming back to the United States after spending a year with FC Augsburg in Germany, Michael Parkhurst joined the Columbus Crew this offseason. The former Demon Deacon defender has also been a constant fixture on the U.S. National Team roster, earning 24 international caps and strong consideration for a spot on the final World Cup roster this summer. Parkhurst returns to the MLS after registering 115 appearances for the New England Revolution from 2005-08.

Video Interview with Michael Parkhurst

Jalen Robinson and Collin Martin
Like Okoli, Robinson also inked a homegrown contract this offseason with D.C. United, where he joins former Demon Deacon teammate Collin Martin. The duo have also been club soccer teammates in the past and have years of experience playing alongside one another.

"I talked to Coach Vidovich at the beginning of the season because over the summer I trained with D.C.," Robinson said. "I was like `I think I'm ready to make this jump,' and I talked to some of the other guys on the team and they agreed, they helped me along the way. I worked this hard to get to this point and I can take this leap, I'm confident enough in my abilities and coach agreed."

Martin, Robinson teammates again at DCU - Top Drawer Soccer

James Riley
James Riley, another Wake Forest product with a long history in the MLS, is undergoing a trial with the LA Galaxy after appearing in 21 contests in 2013 with D.C. United. He has 211 career appearances in the league as a top-flight defender, his longest stint coming with the Sounders from 2009-11 (84 games).

"This is a great challenge, especially at this stage of my career and coming to a club like this. Having an opportunity to come to the Galaxy, and the urgency even for practices... you kind of get that nervous feeling and you want to do well, especially for games," Riley said.

James Riley looking to impress during LA Galaxy trial -

Corben Bone
A more recent Demon Deacon graduate, Corben Bone was named the 2009 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and was a member of the 2007 national championship squad. Following 18 appearances with the Chicago Fire from 2010-13, Bone was selected in Stage One of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Union, which are coached by former Wake Forest player and assistant coach John Hackworth.

Video Interview with Corben Bone

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