On Thursday, January 17, MLS held the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. A total of 38 players were chosen and among them will be some of the future stars of MLS. Who those stars will be remains to be seen but as teams break camp in Tucson, you have a chance to see the future of MLS as these players take their first professional steps.
Nine of the 10 MLS clubs training and playing in Tucson made a selection during the SuperDraft and a total of 19 players were selected (including the No. 1 overall pick). So who are these guys? Well, let’s get to know them.
Andrew Farrell (above photo), D, Louisville (River City Rovers)
No. 1 overall pick, New England Revolution
The skinny: Farrell was a first-team NSCAA All-American and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy (soccer’s Heisman). He finished the year as the 2012 Big East defensive player of the year and helped the Cardinals hold opponents to just 0.62 goals per match in conference play.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Could play at centerback, attacking right back or deep in midfield if he grows tactically … As he rises in level of play, his game gets better.”
Kekuta Manneh, M, Austin Aztex
No. 4 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The skinny: The 18-year old striker hails from Gambia and moved to the United States in 2010 where he played for the USDA’s Texas Rush. After a season where he socred 17 goals in 12 appearances, Manneh joined the PDL’s Austin Aztex for the 2012 season. In Austin he netted 12 goals in 13 appearances.
What scouts say (via SoccerByIves.com): “Manneh impressed with his speed, mobility and intelligence. He toasted Eric Schoenle for a goal and also made good decisions within the structure of the attack. Teams that weren’t familiar with his qualities before the Combine are fully aware now.”
Erik Hurtado, F, Santa Clara (Portland Timbers U23)
No. 5 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The skinny: Hurtado finished his college career as the 2012 West Coast Conference Player of the Year, averaging 2.08 points a game and netting five game-winning goals in conference play. He was also a teammate of two FC Tucson players: Carlos Montes and Wes Culver.
What scouts say (via TopDrawerSoccer.com): “ He is dynamic on the ball and elusive in tight spaces. He is going to make an MLS roster as a winger, who could start early in his career.”
DeShorn Brown, F, UCF (Reading United)
No. 6 Colorado Rapids
The Skinny: Brown was named to the All-Conference USA First team in 2012 thanks to 13 goals in 16 appearances. He finished the season with 29 points and was fifth in the nation in points per game (1.81). His most impressive moment in 2012: three goals in just 48 minutes against Memphis.
What the scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Draws you out and spins behind you … Big, strong, powerful, scores with both feet — was a handful in college.”
Eriq Zavaleta, F, Indiana
No. 10 Seattle Sounders FC
The skinny: Zavaleta ended his college career on the higest note possible: a national championship. Zavaleta provided the assist on Indiana only goal in the 1-0 win but he’s an offensive force. He finished the season first in the Big Ten and tied for third in the nation with 18 goals. He was also the unanimous Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
What scouts say (via TopDrawerSoccer.com): “ Zavaleta, a standout forward for national champions Indiana, excelled as a central defender during a strong youth club career. So what’s his best position? Good arguments can be made for both when considering his size, ability on the ball and soccer brain. Whoever ends up selecting him in the draft needs to pick one and simply stick with it to get the most out of him.”
Dillon Powers, M, Notre Dame (Austin Aztex)
No. 11 Colorado Rapids
The skinny: Powers was a two-time team captain at Notre Dame. In his senior season he set career highs for goals scored (5), assists (9) and points (19). He was also named to the All-Big East First Team and was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Powerful, strong with good size … He’s hard to dispossess. Pressure doesn’t faze him … Can grab a hold of a game, change the tempo and dictate it “
John Stertzer, M, Maryland
No. 12 Real Salt Lake
The skinny: Stertzer was an NSCAA Third Team All-American and first team All-Acc selection. In 2012 he tallied 7 goals and 7 assists in 23 appearances for a total of 21 points.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Solid all-around, versatile, can play anywhere on the field … Will be a pro … Competitive and good in front of goal.”
Jason Johnson, F, VCU
No. 13 Houston Dynamo
The skinny: At VCU Johnson started all 21 matches in 2012 and scored 11 goals while notching six assists. He was named to the All-Atlantic 10 first team and was the Atlantic-10 Offensive player of the Year. Johnson has also earned a cap with the Jamaica Men’s National Team in 2010.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Very, very good striker and dangerous all over the field … Has a hunger to score goals … His forte is getting behind defenders and making good runs.”
Mikey Lopez, M, North Carolina (Orange County Blue Star)
#14 Sporting Kansas City
The skinny: Lopez scored five goals and notched five assists in two seasons at North Carolina. He was one of seven players to sign a Generation Adidas contract.
What scouts say (via Top Drawer Soccer): “[Lopez] isn’t the biggest player, but he covers a tremendous mount of ground, passes the ball well and can get forward to link up and contribute to the attack decently enough.”
Tommy Muller, D, Georgetown
No. 15 San Jose Earthquakes
The skinny: Muller started in every game during Georgetown’s run to the national championship game. The Hoyas fell to Indiana 1-0. Muller had a goal and an assist in 2012.
What scouts say (via Top Drawer Soccer): “One of the best center backs available in the draft, Muller had the chance to impress scouts late in the season with the team’s run to the championship.”
Donnie Smith, F, Charlotte (Carolina Dynamo)
No. 21 New England Revolution
The skinny: Smith scored four goals and added four assists for 12 points in 2012. In 2011 he helped Charlotte reach the national championship game.
Ian Christianson, M, Georgetown, Reading United
No. 22 New York Red Bulls
The skinny: Christianson started all 26 matched for Georgetown and scored two goals while notching two assists in his final college season. He was a second-team All-American and first-team All-Big East. He was also named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Team of the Year.
What scouts say (via TopDrawerSoccer.com): “An impressive and rangy central midfielder, Christianson is a left-footed defensive midfielder who can do a lot of the little things extremely well — he can move the ball around the field, break up the opposing attack, and has a cannon of a left foot to contribute offensively from time to time.”
Luke Spencer, F, Xavier (Cincinnati Kings)
No. 23 New England Revolution
The skinny: Spencer helped Xavier reach the NCAA tournament with his 13 goals and eight assists in 19 appearances during his senior season. The Musketeers fell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual national champion Indiana.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Big body … very good with his back to goal… can hold balls up and do that well…Not just a big body … he’s got a place in the league.”
Kory Kindle, D, CSU-Bakersfield (Ventura County Fusion)
No. 25 Colorado Rapids
The skinny: Kindle started all of CSU-Bakersfield’s 16 matches and netted six in his senior season. He was also a first-team All-Conference selection.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Attacking left back … Freak athlete and very good in the air … Phenomenal athlete. Great speed, great body frame, great leaping ability and he’s strong … The kid can fly.”
Devon Sandoval, F, New Mexico
No. 29 Real Salt Lake
The skinny: Sandoval scored 15 goals and notched seven assists in 2012. His 37 total points was 8th-best in the country. We was a second-team All-American selection and was named to the All-MPSF first team. He finished his career in the top ten in goals and points at New Mexico. He was a teammate of FC Tucson player Travis Campbell.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Target player. Back to goal … A young man that knows what he’s good at and does it as good as anybody He holds the ball, gets shots off in tight spaces, wins headers.”
Dan Delgado, M, San Diego (Orange County Blue Star)
No. 33 San Jose Earthquakes
The skinny: Delgado scored nine goals and notched 10 assists in 2012 His 10 assists was good for eighth best in the country. As a junior in 2011, Delgado was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. He was a teammate of FC Tucson players Michael D’Arrigo, James Cohn and Eli Galbraith-Knapp.
Dylan Remick, D, Brown (Worcester Hydra)
No. 35 Seattle Sounders FC
The skinny: Remick anchored a back line that tied the school record for single-season shutouts (11) three straight years (2010-2012). He was also a second-team All-American in 2012.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Very athletic and solid 1-v-1 defender … Naturally left-footed … Can run all day. Covering ground is his best attribute. Strong engine.”
Luis Soffner, GK, Indiana
No. 36 New England Revolution
The skinny: Soffner was a brick wall for Indiana in 2012. He allowed just 18 goals over 26 matches and recorded 13 shutouts. His most important came in the NCAA national championship, a 1-0 win over Georgetown. He was the College Cup Most Outstanding Defensive Player and an All-Tournament team selection.
What scouts say (via MLSSoccer.com): “Great run at the end of 2012 … Good in the air and made big-time saves when he didn’t have much to keep him focused.”
Jimmy Nealis, D, Georgetown (Long Island Rough Riders)
No. 37 Houston Dynamo
The skinny: Nealis started all of Georgetown’s 26 matches on the road to the national championship game. During that run he notched six assists. He was also an NSCAA Second Team All-Northeast selection.
What scouts say (via TopDrawerSoccer.com): “Playing mostly as a left back during his four year career with the Hoyas, Nealis was another player who capitalized on his side’s deep run in the postseason. “