Draft News

Union draftees, part 2: Aaron Simmons and Raymond Lee

Photo: Courtesy of UCLA Athletics and Saint Louis University Athletics

Rounds Three and Four of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft took place on Tuesday via conference call. Philadelphia Union had the ninth pick of each round, 51st and 71st overall. After selecting forward Dzenan Catic and midfielder Eric Bird in the second round last week, the Union selected a defender and midfielder-to-left-back on Tuesday.

Union head coach Jim Curtin explained, “In rounds three and four we were looking to add depth defensively. In [Aaron] Simmons, we got a kid that can play center back, is comfortable at defensive midfield and can compete athletically and give us some great depth at those two spots.”

Curtin added, “To add a left footed, left [full] back [in Raymond Lee] was important for cover. We see a kid with a high upside, really good speed down the left hand side and a left foot, which is a commodity. So again, a guy that will come in and compete for playing time at that left back spot. We are happy with the two guys we got, they were guys we targeted even before the [first two rounds] of the SuperDraft began.”

Aaron Simmons

The Philadelphia Union followed up their successful opening rounds of the MLS Superdraft by selecting center back/defensive midfielder Aaron Simmons with the 51st overall pick.

Simmons grew up in Mansfield, Texas and played his high school and club soccer for Mansfield High School and the Dallas Texans, respectively. At Mansfield, he earned First Team All-District four times, and was selected as an ESPN Rise Texas All-State player in 2010. In doing so, Simmons led his team to three North Texas State Championships from 2006 to 2009.

Simmons spent his first two years of college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he played of 3,851 a possible 3,870 minutes for the Mustangs. While playing primarily as a center back, he had 3 goals and 2 assists across 41 games. Simmons was also named Second-Team All-Conference USA in 2012.

Simmons then transferred to UCLA where he played as both a center back and defensive midfielder. During his two years as a Bruin, he played in 43 matches, including 33 starts, scoring 5 goals while contributing to 13 shutouts. He was recognized for his efforts with Second-Team and Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selections. He was also ranked as the 94th collegiate player in the country by Top Drawer Soccer.

Simmons had a solid combine, playing at center back, defensive midfielder, and right back. While he’s listed at six feet, he is a bit undersized at 160 lbs.

Raymond Lee

With their final pick, the Union selected 5′ 11″ midfielder Raymond Lee from Saint Louis University.

Raymond played his high school ball with Park Hill High School in Kansas City Missouri. He also played club soccer with Sporting Kansas City Juniors up before the start of his college career. In his final three years at Park Hill, Lee scored 33 goals and dished out 58 assists while earning All-State honors as a sophomore and junior. He was also named an NSCAA First-Team All-American and the Missouri Class 3 Offensive Player of the year in 2010.

In his four years with Saint Louis, Raymond played in all 74 games, starting 67. He netted 14 goals and 6 assists and earned Second-Team All-A10 honors his senior year.

He’s a relatively unheralded prospect who did not attend the draft. Look for him to compete for a low-end roster spot and get some minutes on loan this season.

5 Comments

  1. Some feedback on Raymond Lee. A personal favorite of mine on the SLU Billikens because of his technical skills and reliability, rarely giving up the ball. That plus his strong build lead me to believe he’ll be a player that will stick. It may take him a year or two but he’ll be there for several years.

    Additional background – Sorber knows him, he was a volunteer assistant coach for SLU during Lee’s high school career, leaving just prior to Lee’s first season when McGinty came in. That’s when Sorber left for Montreal with Jesse.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    I’m not debating wether the kid can play or not, because I’ve never seen him and I hope he turns out great. But here we go again….. he played midfield in college and the U are projecting him as a LB. How many kids have the U drafted in the last 3 years that they tried to convert to a LB? They continue to insist on playing players out of their comfortable and familiar positions.

    • SLU played a 3-5-2 the past two seasons and Raymond played on the outside left wing. The way the formation played was 3 in back on the attack but anytime the opponent was on the attack it looked more like a 5-3-2. Raymond had significant defensive responsibilities and he handled them well. Definitely a two-way player but he’ll be a fine defender.

  3. Fire Me. Now. says:

    See! I’m doing things! THINGS!
    — Sak
    P.S. Please fire me now.

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