Per a team press release, the New England Revolution has signed defender Jossimar Sanchez, whom the Revs drafted in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2013 Supplemental Draft out of the University of Connecticut. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sanchez, 22, made 74 appearances (73 starts) in four years at Connecticut, scoring two goals and adding one assist. A two-year captain, he transitioned from center midfielder to center back as a senior. During his career, Sanchez helped lead the Huskies to quarterfinal appearances in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons (2011, 2012) and the BIG EAST regular-season championship twice (2009, 2012). Sanchez earned 2012 first-team All-BIG EAST honors after being selected to the all-conference third team as a sophomore (2010) and junior (2011). He also earned a place on the BIG EAST all-rookie team in 2009.
A late-season leg injury his senior year delayed his ability to work out with the Revs, but he did train with the team late in 2013 before joining the squad for preseason this year. Sanchez has appeared in four of the Revolution's first five preseason games, playing a total of 207 minutes - all at an outside back position.
"Jossimar is a young player who will provide depth for us," Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. "He worked hard to return to full fitness after his injury in college, so we're pleased he's earned a spot on our roster this year."
The addition of Sanchez provides more than just depth but also versatility, a trait that coach Jay Heaps is known to be quite fond of. Although the former UConn captain has played most of his minutes at right back this preseason, he mainly featured at center back in college. And prior to the 2013 MLS SuperDraft he was considered to be a candidate for the defensive midfielder role at the MLS level by scouts.
Sanchez will certainly shore up New England's defensive depth for the 2014 season and may even benefit from spending time with the Rochester Rhinos to stay game fit just in case he's needed down the road. He could just as easily stay with New England in Foxboro, however, depending on Heaps' plans for the rookie. Sanchez will likely find himself in direct competition with the likes of Darrius Barnes and O'Brian Woodbine for first team minutes this season.
Revs fans should get to see their newest official signing in action tonight as New England takes on the Chicago Fire in their third Desert Diamnd Cup match, which starts at 5:30pm ET and will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com.