Paul Islas — who honed his skills locally with the California Odyssey Soccer Club, Bullard High, Fresno Pacific and the Fresno Fuego — was selected Tuesday by Chivas USA with the 19th pick of Major League Soccer’s Supplemental Draft.
Islas, 21, is expected to report to the Carson-based Chivas USA’s training camp this week.
“This is my shot and I can’t let anything get in my way,” Islas said in a Fresno Pacific-issued news release. “I just have to go down and take care business.”
Islas is coming off a 22-goal, 12-assist senior season at Fresno Pacific, where he wasn named an NSCAA Division II All-American. He finished his four-year career as the Sunbirds’ third-leading career goal scorer (55) and assist maker (33).
“I think some people will look at it and say he comes from a smaller school, a smaller area and it’s hard to argue that,” Chivas USA Director of Soccer Operations Kevin Esparza said. “But the top goal scorer in the MLS this past year is a player that came from a Division II school. We will take a gamble and I am looking forward to watching Paul prove everybody wrong.”
Islas is the second player from Fresno Pacific drafted by the MLS, following Orlando Ramirez (San Jose Earthquakes). He is the seventh former Fuego player to join the MLS. The others include Milton Blanco (Chivas USA), Pablo Campos (San Jose Earthquakes, Real Salt Lake), Mike Chabala (Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers, DC United), Cyprian Hedrick (Sporting Kansas City), Raul Rivera (Chivas USA) and Ramirez.
“Graduating to the next level and getting to train with a professional team is big time,” Islas said. “This is not just an accomplishment for me, but my family and all the people who have put the time and effort in supporting me throughout the process.”
Chivas USA opens its season March 2 against the Columbus Crew at Carson’s Home Depot Center.