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San Jose Earthquakes select Stanford defender Tanner Beason in MLS SuperDraft

Beason, a two-time All-American with the Cardinal, is expected to bolster the Quakes defensive back line.

The San Jose Earthquakes selected Stanford University defender Tanner Beason with their first pick, twelfth overall, in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. (Photo courtesy of San Jose Earthquakes)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Earthquakes stayed local in making their first selection in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Tanner Beason, a four-year starter with Stanford University, was picked No. 12 overall in busy draft day for the Quakes.

In his time at Stanford, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound defender helped the Cardinal reach the College Cup three times, winning the NCAA Championship twice. The 22-year-old was named a first-team All-American twice, featuring as a left back his first two seasons before taking over as a centerback his junior and senior years. Beason, who signed a contract with MLS ahead of the draft, will immediately be added to the Earthquakes roster. 

“I’m a guy with a very strong, defensive mentality and mentality in general,” he told reporters on a conference call following his selection. “I would describe myself as a very fierce competitor. Along with that, someone that has a left foot and can distribute from the left side of the field very well.”

Beason joins a squad that was thin at the centerback position, and he will have a opportunity to study under veterans Florian Jungwirth and Guram Kashia when he joins Earthquakes preseason training later this month. The versatile defender can also play on the wings, which could be an asset in the Quakes head coach Matias Almayda’s playing system.

“If I’m out wide, I like to get forward,” Beason said. “But defensively, I like to compete, I like to defend. [I’m] someone that can play in a different couple of spots, and is really excited to be on a competitive side.”

Beason was also among the 15 MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalists selected in both 2018 and 2019, and he earned Pac-12 Player of the Year honors in 2018. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina native finished his collegiate career with 20 goals and 11 assists in 81 appearances, all of which came as a starter for Cardinal coach Jeremy Gunn’s side.

“Tanner had an absolutely amazing career at Stanford,” Gunn said in a Stanford statement. “He was a cornerstone of our program and epitomizes everything we want to see in a Stanford student-athlete, having served as a captain for the last few seasons. Tanner is a rare breed of defender who truly loves defending, he is a remarkable leader by example and I am positive he will have a successful career as a professional.”

The Earthquakes made two additional draft selections on the day, adding midfielder Jack Skahan from the University of North Carolina with the 27th pick and left back Jon Bell from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with the 38th overall selection. Both Skahan and Bell will join the Quakes preseason training camp in search of gaining a contract.

“We’re extremely excited and optimistic about the outcome of the first two rounds,” Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a club statement. “We had followed Tanner for several years and were pleasantly surprised to see him still available at No. 12. Jack and Jon are also players with strong profiles, and we’ll create individualized plans to help them develop.”

San Jose will conclude its selections in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft when rounds 3 and 4 are conducted on Monday. The Earthquakes currently have two picks remaining, No. 64 and No. 90, with which they will continue to bolster their prospective roster additions. 

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