MLS SuperDraft Preview

In truth, there’s not much particularly super about the rather terse four-round, 64-pick draft that begins at 11 a.m. Thursday with the opening round live on ESPN2.

For instance, critics generally acknowledge the Galaxy are the top dogs in MLS when it comes to drafts in the last two years with both 2008 top pick Sean Franklin and 2009 first pick Omar Gonzalez becoming MLS Rookies of the Year and integral parts of the club. Similarly, full back A.J. DeLaGarza was a useful second round acquisition last year.

On the other hand, neither of the Galaxy’s other two picks last year, Josh Boateng and Kyle Patterson, are still with the club. And only Franklin has stuck around from the six selections in 2008.

Recognizing that the most important thing about the draft may be the opportunity to pick up veterans who can make an immediate impact, last year General Manager and Coach Bruce Arena traded draft picks to acquire journeymen like Stefani Miglioranzi (picked by Philadelphia in the expansion draft), Alecko Eskandarian (sending their third round pick to Chivas USA), Mike Magee and Dema Kovalenko (allocation money and a conditional pick in the 2011 draft).

Magee did well last season, hot-headed Kovalenko less so, Miglioranzi was a pleasant surprise simply because nothing much was expected of him after his previous Galaxy stint, and frankly I have my doubts about Eskandarian’s health after those repeated concussion.

So the draft is fairly important and interesting, yes; super important, no. And to me that says a lot about the quality of youngsters coming through college ranks, as well as the fact that existing (but fairly ordinary) roster players still have roles to play.

Expansion Philadelphia, of course, pick first this year unless some sort of trade materializes.

As a result of Arena’s savvy wheeling and dealing last year the Galaxy have just two picks: The overall No. 15 pick in the first round and the No. 39 pick acquired from D.C. United in exchange for goalkeeper Josh Wicks.

Chivas USA will be considerably busier with five picks (Nos. 10, 35, 42, 47 and 58 overall).

Their big prizes last year: Michael Lahoud out of Wake Forest (nine starts) and defender Ante Jazic, picked up in a draft day trade with the Galaxy.

Who else did they pick? Forward Kyle Christensen from the University of Denver (35th overall), and Jamie Franks of Wake Forest (49th overall), neither of whom remain with the club.

What do you think about the draft? Crucial or not?

I’ll provide updates at least as the first round progresses, so check back Thursday.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • brian

    I’m excited! Will be getting 3 hours and getting up to tune in. Hoping for one of the Wake Forest kids. Come on MLS–get the new bargaining agreement done!

  • Ben

    priority for the G’s:
    a) speedy wingers
    b) some beef in central midfield
    c) alternatives upfront.

  • UCLABZ

    I think US collegiate soccer suffers from the same problem as the rest of US Soccer… namely that other parts of the world don’t give us very much respect. Collegiate soccer needs to build a name for itself as other collegiate sports have. They need show that it provides excellent opportunities for young athletes to hone there skills prior to becoming pro. They need to focus on there one major advantage over other development systems. That being, if you don’t pan out in the US system you will have had the opportunity to get a first rate education along the way. It would be interesting to compare the quality of life afforded to young players during and after there development in the US collegiate systems compared to what is available abroad. We need to get more quality players in the collegiate system if we want to develop soccer in the US. Collegiate sports is the one major advantage the US has over other countries in terms of athletics.

  • Buck

    I don’t agree UCLABZ, and mind you this is just my opinion. You are entitled to yours just as much.

    College soccer is probably delaying the development of the best US players beyond the point where they can reach their potential.

    A player with something special in other countries typically gets developed by the best coaching and institutions available from 13, 14, 15 years old.

    Our American kids are basically invisible to professional development and resources until they graduate from college at 21 or so. They hit the pro’s when their German or French or Brazilian or English counterparts have already received 5-7 years of professional development.

    This is not good for US players and US soccer. College soccer, though I enjoy the game, is not good for US Soccer.

  • UCLABZ

    Hey Buck,

    I take no offense at others opinions. I believe your view was also expressed by Sunil Gulati. Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t think youth developmental programs are exclusive of college developmental programs. We can develop top flight development programs for 13 – 17 y.o.s like other countries have. If at the end of it, they are ready for the pro’s they can skip college altogether, just like many of our top athletes do today. If they are not ready to start for a pro team at 17 they can continue there development in the college system. The best part of the system is that more resources can be thrown at kids at a younger age. What the college system does is build a fan base for the youth development system which can drastically increase the available revenue. I wonder how many people show up to watch a Man. U. youth team compared to a USC. football game? Both are composed of kids at essentially the same level of athletic development and receiving the same level of professional development. The amount of money in college sports means a heck of a lot more players get the opportunity to develop.