April 11, 2006
BERKELEY - Noah Merl, who was a member of the California men's soccer team from 2001-2004, has signed with the Seattle Sounders, of the USL First Division (formerly the A-League), for the 2006 season. The Sounders were the 2005 USL First Division Champions.
As a Bear, the defender played in every match during his collegiate career and started 84 straight matches in his four seasons, scoring three goals and adding five assists. With Merl, the Sounders begin to fill in the openings in their backline.
The Walnut Creek, Calif., native was drafted in the third round by the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2005 Major League Soccer (MLS) Supplemental Draft, and played for the Earthquake Reserves during the 2005 season.
Merl is now the eighth Cal player to actively be playing professional soccer, with six players in the MLS. Troy Roberts, who played for Cal from 2001-04, and Josh Saunders (2001-02) the 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Year, are now with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Roberts and Saunders both won the 2005 MLS Cup Championship with the Galaxy. NSCAA First Team All-American Tyson Wahl (2002-05) and Eric Kronberg were drafted in January to the Kansas City Wizards. Calen Carr (2001-05), the 2005 Pac-10 Player of the Year, was also drafted in January, to the Chicago Fire. Mike Munoz (2001-04) is currently playing for Chivas USA in Los Angles and Leo Krupnik (1997-01) is playing with Maccabi Netanya in the Israel First Division.
"Noah typifies what a student athlete is with the Cal soccer program," said sixth-year head coach Kevin Grimes. "He was a great player for Cal, a captain, leader and excellent student. With eight former Cal players playing professional soccer, our culture continues to evolve into something very special for all of our student athletes. Whether it's professional soccer, the business world or graduate school, we try to provide all of our graduating players opportunities to make the next step in their lives."