Silly season is in full swing in MLS. With just two months till first kick, teams are trying to strengthen their squads for the upcoming season. One of those ways to strengthen the squad is through the draft where teams can pick and chose some of America’s best young talent from college. The Superdraft has existed since MLS’s birth in 1996 and it has proved to be a great place for team’s to build squads from. This year was no different. Here are some of the headlines from the 2017 Superdraft.
- The two expansion clubs: Atlanta and Minnesota
Atlanta United and Minnesota United are the 21st and 22nd clubs to enter into Major League Soccer and both are already ambitious to make the playoffs in their first season. Minnesota United had the first pick of the draft and they selected Abu Danladi, a forward from UCLA. He was at the top of the draft class and will be a great addition to Minnesota’s strong attack led by Christian Ramirez. Minnesota United also got goalkeeper Alex Ferrel from Wake Forest.
Meanwhile Atlanta signed defender Miles Robinson from Syracuse. Atlanta has already used up their three designated player spots with after singing Trinidad and Tobago forward Kenwyne Jones, Argentinian forward Hector Villaba, and the young Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron. Miles Robinson was the first defender the team has ever signed. Atlanta also got midfielder Julian Gressel from Providence College.
Both clubs are building fairly strong squads and it will be interesting to see how Minnesota and Atlanta build their identities in MLS under the leadership of Adrian Heath and Tata Martino.
- The 2017 Generation Adidas Canadian Class
Generation Adidas is a joint venture between MLS and US Soccer that allows professional ready players who are not eligible to enter the draft. This program was created in order to elevate the strength of our player pool. Since 1997 no Canadian player has ever been drafted from a Generation Adidas program. That changed this year with two Canadian players signing pro contracts from the GA class.
Nineteen year old midfielder Shamit Shome from second division FC Edmonton was drafted by the Montreal Impact late in the second round. He is a U-20 Canadian international as well.
Meanwhile FC Dallas continued their mantra of building a team from youth by signing seventeen year old forward Adonijah Reid who has already made his national youth debut for Canada at the age of fourteen.
Watch this space!
When there are drafts, there are often trades that go along with them, as teams try and jockey for a better position in the draft order often giving up money and squad players in order to build for the future. This year was no different.
Out of the 44 draft positions, 17 of them were traded for allocation money or squad players. The most notable move came from the LA Galaxy who traded MLS Cup champion A.J. DeLaGarza to the Huston Dynamo in exchange for $125,000 in general allocation money and $50,000 in targeted allocation money. The LA Galaxy look to be rebuilding after the departure of Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard.
Meanwhile Huston traded their 1st round pick to the Portland Timbers early in the draft. The Timbers ended up picking forward Jeremey Ebobisse from Duke University. A promising young forward that has pace and can score. A potentially great backup to Fernando Adi.
Another notable trade included NYCFC acquiring Chicago Fire’s first round pick for a trade. NYCFC ended up selecting Jonathan Lewis, a forward from Akron.
Overall, the draft class was pretty strong this year. People have often questioned the purpose of the draft given the rise of club academies and homegrown contracts in the USA. This has taken away some of the quality but the player pool in the US and Canada is slowly getting bigger and deeper thanks to MLS’s continued expansion.
It should be a fun season ahead.
Article by Zachary Lerman