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Rapids take three in final rounds of 2018 MLS Draft

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The Rapids took a goalkeeper and two forwards on Sunday.

Thomas Olsen, the 50th pick of the MLS Superdraft, was a college standout for San Diego.
University of San Diego Men’s Soccer website

MLS completed rounds three and four of the 2018 SuperDraft Sunday afternoon via conference call and the Colorado Rapids selected three players.

Thomas Olsen, Goalkeeper, University of San Diego

With the fourth pick of the 3rd Round (50th overall), Colorado selected Thomas Olsen, a goalkeeper from the University of San Diego. After redshirting his freshman year, Olsen was the Toreros starting goalkeeper for all four of his subsequent years from 2014 to 2017. He was named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in 2014 and was on the USMNT U-20 team in 2015. The other keepers that went to New Zealand for the World Cup that year were Columbus Crew’s Zack Steffen and Jeff Caldwell of the University of Virginia, who was selected 19th in this year’s draft by NYCFC. Olsen was the sixth goalkeeper taken in the SuperDraft this year. He may have been a bit of a surprise pick for some soccer analysts, as he wasn’t invited to the MLS Combine in Florida.

Brian Iloski, Forward/Midfielder, UCLA

With the third pick of the 3rd Round (72nd overall), Colorado selected forward/midfielder Brian Iloski of UCLA.

Iloski is from the San Diego area and spent five years in Westwood with the Bruins, including redshirting the 2015 season with an injury. Iloski is listed on MLSsoccer.com as 5’7”, 140 pounds. He’s a spritely winger who, not surprisingly, names Leo Messi as one of his influences. His game is most reminiscent of Tommy Thompson—in his highlight film (from way back in 2014) you’ll notice that he favors a clever array of tricky passes and fancy footwork, and he likes to sombrero his defender whenever possible. Iloski grabbed 13 goals and 11 assists in his 67 games for UCLA, and the Bruins appeared in the NCAA College Cup in three of Brian’s five years on the team. UCLA has produced a bevy of talented professional soccer players in its history, including former Rapids Kamani Hill and Marvell Wynne.

The pick the Rapids used to acquire Iloski had originally belonged to DC United, but DC traded the pick in 2016 to the Rapids along with an undisclosed amount of TAM in exchange for midfielder Marcelo Sarvas.

Niki Jackson, Forward, Grand Canyon University

With the fourth pick of the 4th Round (73rd overall), Colorado selected Niki Jackson of Grand Canyon University.

Jackson was a four-year starting striker for GCU, with 41 goals in 58 starts, including 11 this past season. Top Drawer Soccer ranked him #96 on their end of the year list of the best men’s college soccer players.

These three young men joined the Rapids 2nd Round selections, Alan Winn and Frandtzy Pierrot. Colorado picked the two of them 2nd Round of the SuperDraft on Friday. The Rapids did not have a 1st Round pick this year, having traded it in 2016 to Montreal in exchange for defender Eric Miller.

Even though they were drafted, none of the five are on the team yet. They will likely join the team in training this week and next. If they can impress the team enough, perhaps they will earn a full contract with the Rapids.

Of the clubs four SuperDraft picks in 2017, only one player, Sam Hamilton, remained on the roster in MLS for most of the season. The team made five SuperDraft picks in 2016, and only fullback Dennis Castillo would end up playing at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The 2015 SuperDraft yielded similar results, giving the Rapids two players that stuck with the team long-term out of five. Those two players were Axel Sjöberg, 2016 Defender of the Year Finalist, and Dominique Badji, the Rapids’ leading scorer in 2017.