DeJuan Jones Shines in Draft, Sierakowski and Hague Drafted

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Having already made names for themselves after making an unprecedented College Cup run, Michigan State men’s soccer players DeJuan Jones, Ryan Sierakowski and Jimmy Hague were all invited to take part in the MLS Combine and the subsequent SuperDraft.

Apart from Hague, the other Spartans had not necessarily been on national watchlists until the months of December and January.

DeJuan Jones enjoyed many ups and downs during his tenure with MSU, but his highest of highs came perhaps after taking off the Spartan No. 6.

Jones scored the first goal at the MLS Combine scrimmages, a lovely chip over the outstretched arms of the keeper, the first action that turned the heads of scouts and head coaches alike. Having impressed already, Jones went further and performed the best out of all 70-plus participants at the 30-meter dash and the agility drill, while taking third-best during the vertical jump. That made Jones the first player ever to place in the top three in each of the skills competitions in the history of the MLS Combine.

These displays were so delightful that some experts projected Jones as high as sixth on their draft boards. Jones had to wait longer than six picks but not by much. The New England Revolution selected Jones No. 11 overall.

Though Jones didn’t pick up a goal or assist for much of the second half of the season, his movement and work off the ball was critical to MSU’s success, work that clearly didn’t go unnoticed by former USMNT goalkeeper Brad Friedel, the manager of New England.

Sierakowski had gone through a dry spell in the middle of the season, enduring a run of nine games without a goal. But arguably no player was more important for the Spartans during their NCAA tournament run.

Netting three goals total in the postseason, including two to single-handedly take down James Madison in the Elite Eight, Sierakowski effectively skyrocketed his draft stock into the first round of the MLS SuperDraft.

As amazing as Sierakowski was during the month of December for MSU, this wasn’t something that just came out of nowhere. With his efforts during the entire course of the season, as well as his previous three years, Sierakowski cemented his place in MSU soccer folklore, becoming the first and only player ever to lead the program in points for four straight years.

Whether it was because of that consistent production, his ability to show up in big games, or another factor, the Portland Timbers snatched Sierakowski off the board with the No. 23 overall pick.

“Amazing association, amazing team, they have a great fan base,” Sierakowski said. “I’ve dreamt of this moment ever since I started playing at six years old.”

Sierakowski wasn’t the last Spartan whose childhood dreams came true at the SuperDraft. Although he seemed to fall on many experts’ draft boards late in the season, Hague was taken 30th overall by FC Cincinnati, a club who will play its inaugural season in MLS this year.

“It feels honestly incredible,” Hague said. “This is a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

The big man in net had been solid for the Spartans all season long, taking a 0.82 GAA into the postseason. Giving up five goals to Akron in the national semifinal may have hurt his draft standing a bit, but he made up for it by posting two 40-minute shutouts at the combine.

MSU has already began trying to figure out who will fill the shoes left by these three, not to mention the four other starting positions vacated by this year’s graduating class. They recently signed Detroit Catholic Central goalkeeper Andrew Nicholsen, a class of 2023 student-athlete. Nicholsen was recently named an All-American and was honored at the United Soccer Coaches Convention.