NASHVILLE, TN – Nashville SC announced Thursday that SuperDraft picks Tom James and Tor Saunders have both been signed to first-team contracts for 2021, with club options for each year through 2024. They’re the second and third 2021 SuperDraft picks to sign contracts with Nashville, following Irakoze Donasiyano earlier in April.
“Tom and Tor are both players that we feel have the potential to grow and develop into roles with our club,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs in the club’s press release. “Tom is an athletic left-sided defender who gets up and down and involved on both sides of the ball. Tor has impressed in the time we had tracked him prior to selecting him in the SuperDraft and has continued to show well during training.”
Judge, 22, was selected from James Madison University with the 36th overall pick in the second round of the draft. A left-sided defender, Judge played 63 times for JMU, scoring three goals and adding four assists. He received plenty of alcollades in his collegiate career, including being named a United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American and to TopDrawer Soccer’s Second Team Best XI.
“There aren’t too many players out there that have as good of a base to work with, so he will only get better with time,” Paul Zazenski, JMU’s head coach, told Broadway Sports back in January. “When Tom is playing confident, he can be one of the most dynamic outside back or wingers in soccer.”
“I think once Tom adjusts to the speed of play, there is no limit to what he will be able to achieve as a professional,” he said. “His ability to glide by players with ease and be a lock-down one-versus-one defender are things that can separate him from others. We are confident that his competitiveness on the field will allow him to excel in highest of competitive levels.”
Judge will wear the number 16 shirt for Nashville.
Saunders, 23, was picked in the third round with the 74th overall selection. Jacobs told media following the draft that Saunders was Nashville’s top-rated goalkeeper in the draft, and his 2021 season backed that up. Named to the MAC Herman Watch list, he started 15 matches for Costal Carolina after transferring from Akron, where he kept six clean sheets. He was named the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year.
Saunders will wear the number 21 shirt for Nashville.
Nashville currently have 29 players on their active roster, with an additional five on loan.
Nashville SC roster
Goalkeepers (3): Joe Willis, Bryan Meredith, Tor Saunders
Defenders (10): Dave Romney, Jalil Anibaba, Dan Lovitz, Walker Zimmerman, Eric Miller, Taylor Washington, Dylan Nealis, Tom Judge, Alistair Johnston, Robert Castellanos
Midfielders (11): Aníbal Godoy, Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal, Dax McCarty, Matt LaGrassa, Alex Muyl, Rodrigo Piñeiro, Brian Anunga, Luke Haakenson, Irakoze Donasiyano, Handwalla Bwana
Forwards (5): Daniel Ríos, Abu Danladi, Dom Badji, Jhonder Cádiz, CJ Sapong