Jamaica international Donovan Ricketts (pictured) has played in Major League Soccer since 2009. (Photo: Mexsport)
NEW YORK -- Orlando City SC took a giant step in shaping its squad during the Major League Soccer expansion draft Wednesday, choosing Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and Costa Rica forward Jairo Arrieta.
The purpose of the draft was to provide Orlando City and New York City FC, which will play their inaugural MLS seasons in 2015, with a method to fill their rosters by choosing players from those of the league’s other 18 clubs. Each of the existing teams was allowed to protect 11 players, while exposing the others to potential selection.
Ricketts, 37, was the first player picked, while Arrieta was taken in the sixth round of the 10-round draft.
The 2010 and 2013 MLS goalkeeper of the year, Ricketts recorded a 1.38 goals-against average and a 12W-12D-7L record with the Portland Timbers this past season. He has also played with the LA Galaxy and Impact de Montreal over six seasons in the United States and has made 100 international appearances for Jamaica, including 32 in World Cup qualifiers.
“He's been absolutely fabulous in this league,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said of Ricketts. “We just think he's going to be a great fit for us moving forward.”
Arrieta scored five goals and added one assist in 23 games for the Columbus Crew in 2014. He has scored four goals in 14 appearances for Costa Rica, also representing the Central American nation at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. The 31-year-old was the top scorer in the 2013 Copa Centroamericana, scoring two goals in helping the host Ticos to the title.
“I think the way that we play, we think with Kaká on our team, that we're going to have very good attacking players and we just think he's going to be on the same wave length,” Heath said. “This gives us a little bit of experience going forward. [We] just think he will be a really good asset for us.”
Ricketts and Arrieta join El Salvador international midfielder Darwin Ceren on the Lions. Ceren had played for Orlando City in the USL PRO league in 2014.