January 14th, Waltham, MA, 2018; GPS would like to congratulate former GPS New Hampshire player Said Haji on being selected 2nd overall by the San Jose Earthquakes during this weekend’s MLS Superdraft.
Haji is the third GPS alum in as many years to be selected in the MLS Superdraft following Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu by Atlanta United in 2017 and Wyatt Omsberg by Minnesota United in 2018
The 2018 A-10 Conference Midfielder of the Year was the second youngest player available for selection at the draft and one of its hottest attacking prospects. He will be joining the Earthquakes with the hope of helping new coach Matias Almeyda top the Western Conference for the first time since 2012 when they won the MLS Supporters Shield.
Haji’s story is characterized by hard work and perseverance. Those qualities he boasts are what have brought him from Somali war refugee to the future of an MLS franchise.
Granted asylum at the age of four, Haji and his family travelled to the United States where they settled in New Hampshire.
While playing soccer at Beech Street Park in Manchester, Haji caught the eye of then GPS coach Jay Joseph. This prompted him being offered a spot on the NH Classics roster.
He would play for the Classics for five seasons before leaving the club to attend a private school in Massachusetts.
Following a season away from the club, Haji would return to play two more seasons under GPS NH Technical Director, John Price, before attending New England College his freshman year.
While at New England College, Haji would make waves scoring a team leading nine goals and providing two assists. New England College would go on to claim the NAC title in Haji’s only season.
A transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University would follow his successful freshman campaign.
It is there that Haji would create even more of a name for himself. His first season saw him make a total of 19 appearances, scoring two goals and providing eight assists. His second season with the Rams would see him improve on those numbers with five goals and 10 assists.
“When I first joined GPS I remember Siad being picked up and dropped off by our coaches at the park so he could come to practice and thinking does this kid ever stop playing soccer!,” says Matt Quinn, GPS NH Premier Director. “Every night he was either in the park playing or at our fields playing, usually both! Siad ALWAYS worked hard at his game and is a great example to our boys of where hard work and desire can take you.”
Haji’s first chance at a professional debut will come on March 2nd when the San Jose Earthquakes take on the Montreal Impact at home.