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Paul King - Becoming Royalty

Started on 10 June 2019 by TheLFCFan
Latest Reply on 2 October 2019 by ScottT
Some decent opposition in pre-season which should provide as amicable tests. The main objective is to gain fitness ahead of the season, but some positive results are always helpful in gaining some momentum coming into the season. In contrast, a few losses can act as a wake-up call.
Some serious tests in pre-season for Cincy. Hope you can live up to the bill and will succeed with some wins!
Of course Scott loves the first opponent and fourth opponent you face.
Some tough few tests before Cincinnati’s inaugural season in the MLS. Good luck!

Explaining the Superdraft 2019

In just a few hours Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber will say “With the First Pick of the First round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select…”. These few words followed by the name of a young soccer player who has dedicated his life to the game and will change the lives of many.

FC Cincinnati, formed in August 2015, were announced as the latest Major League Soccer franchise on May 26th 2018. Fast forward just under nine months and FC Cincinnati will be selecting the first player in the 2019 MLS Superdraft. But what is the Superdraft? When did it start? How does it work? This article will explain just that and more.

What is the Superdraft?

The MLS Superdraft is the process in which players leaving college and those who are already playing for professional sides within America can be selected by Major League Soccer sides. Only players who have come through the American college system are eligible to declare for the draft and therefore must come from systems such as the NCAA or NAIA).

When did the Superdraft first occur?

The first Major League Soccer Superdraft occurred in 2000, when Metro Stars, now New York Red Bull, selected Steve Shak, from UCLA Bruins, as the number one pick. Before the 2000 Superdraft, two separate drafts occurred with the MLS College Draft, allowing players coming from colleges to be drafted and the MLS Supplemental Draft, allowing players playing in professional leagues in America to be drafted. These two drafts ran from 1996 up until 1999, when the Superdraft combined the two.

How does the Superdraft work?

Major League Soccer's Superdraft has a total of four rounds with each team receiving a single pick in each round. Teams can of course trade their picks away gifting other teams extra draft picks. The teams are granted picks based on their final league standings, with the side who finished last in the previous season receiving the number one pick. However, if there is an expansion side joining the league, as there is this season in the form of FC Cincinnati, they will receive the number one pick. Teams who make the playoffs picks are decided upon by the round they are knocked out in with the winners of the MLS Cup receiving the final pick in the draft with the runners up having the penultimate pick.

Where will the 2019 Superdraft take place?

The 2019 MLS Superdraft will take place in Chicago, Illinois. This will be the first time that the Superdraft will take place in Chicago having previously been held in cities such as Philadelphia (2018) Los Angeles (2017) and Baltimore (2016).

Who are the last number one picks in the last three years?

2018: João Moutinho - João Moutinho, a now 21 year old from Portugal spent his youth career at Sporting Lisbon before moving to Akron Zips in 2017. Selected as the number one pick by expansion side Los Angeles FC. The left back was traded at the end of last season, after playing 14 games for the side, to Orlando City for Libyian Mohamed El-Monir.

2017: Abu Danladi - The number one pick in the 2017 MLS Superdraft was made by expansion side Minnesota United. They selected Generation Adidas player, Abu Danladi who spent two years at the UCLA Bruins. The striker has made a total of 43 appearances for the franchise scoring 9 goals.

2016: Jack Harrison - Arguably the most successful player to ever be selected as the number one pick in the Superdrafts history, Jack Harrison was selected number one by Chicago Fire in 2016. Harrison, who spent time at Liverpool and Manchester Uniteds youth academies moved to America in 2015 to play for Wake Forest Demon Deacons, was traded moments later to New York City for the number 4 pick and allocation money. Playing 55 games for New York City, he was signed by Manchester City in 2017. Immediately loaned to Middlesborough, Harrison made 4 appearances for the club before a season long loan was finalised in July 2018 to Leeds United.

Other Notable Superdraft Picks.

Julian Gressel - Number 8 pick in the 2017 Superdraft, Gressel scored the winning goal in last years MLS Cup for Atlanta, before being picked by FC Cincinnati in the expansion draft.

Tim Ream - Also selected in the second round by New York Red Bulls, Time Ream was the 18th overall pick in the 2010 draft. A 26 time capped American international, Ream moved to Bolton, in England in 2012 making 114 appearances for the side before a move to Fulham in 2015, where he has made 112 league appearances for the Premier League strugglers.

Geoff Cameron - Now capped 55 times for the American National side, Cameron was selected last in the 3rd round of the 2008 MLS Superdraft by Houston Dynamo. After 116 games for Dynamo, Cameron made the move to England, playing 168 games for Stoke City in the Premier League. Cameron was loaned to Queens Park Rangers in the summer of 2018.

Jozy Altidore - Metro Stars, now known as New York Red Bulls, feature on this list once again with the 5th pick in the second round of the 2006 Superdraft when they selected Jozy Altidore. Altidore who has made 113 appearances for the American national team has featured for clubs all across europe. Having played for Villarreal, Hull City (on Loan), Bursaspor (on Loan), AZ Alkmaar and Sunderlan, Jozy is a name well known in Europe. Now back in the MLS, Altidore represents Toronto FC in Canada.

Clint Dempsey - Tied highest scorer for the American national team with a total of 57 goals in 141 caps, Clint Dempsey was selected number 8 in the 2004 Superdraft by New England Revolution. After a successful two seasons at New England, where he made the MLS best XI in 2004 whilst also being named Rookie of the Year, he moved to Fulham in 2007. Dempsey quickly became a fan favourite with the Fulham fans before a move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. After a season at Spurs, Dempsey moved back to the MLS with the Seattle Sounders where he retired in 2018.

Freddy Adu - Perhaps the most infamous name associated to not living up to his hype, Freddy Adu became the youngest ever player to be drafted in MLS history when he was selected as the first overall pick in 2004. At just 14, Adu was being compared to Pelé, a man some consider as one of the greatest to play the game. Despite numerous chances at clubs like Benfica and Philadelphia Union, Adu could never live up to the hype. He is still the youngest player to play for America’s national side at just 16 years of age, however, he is currently playing for Las Vegas Lights at 29 years old.

Who will select first in the Superdraft?

Expansion side, FC Cincinnati will select the first player in the 2019 MLS Superdraft as well as selecting number 2 following a trade with Vancouver Whitecaps. FC Cincinnati will also pick number 6, a pick they received from DC United.

Which players are expected to go in the Top 10 picks?


Scott: There is certainly some tough sides we will be facing, in particular, Junior FC and Independiente Santa Fe. Fitness will certainly be the key, however, we will also be looking at gaining some big and important results to build some momentum.
BigMaguire: That is certainly the goal.
Justice: His disgusting behavior never ceases to amaze!
Jack: Some tough tests for sure, but it is what we need to ensure we are up to standard for the coming year.
Nice explanation, very similar to the NFL Draft. Good stuff!
Some memorable names in recent years for sure, but a great update that personally gives me a better understanding of the Superdraft.
I don't think I recognise any of those names... :P

Major League Soccer Superdraft 2019

The day had finally arrived, I finally felt as though we were beginning to become a proper MLS team. The Superdraft was upon us. Months upon months of work, scouting discussions, talks, meetings, planning, everything you could imagine being pumped into this day. But it wasn't over, the past few days had seen the Draft combine in which 6 games were played over 3 days. These games allowed for us to make final decisions towards our picks.

We begun our day early meeting in our owner, Carl Linder III, hotel suite at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in the drafts host city of Chicago. Myself, Carl, Jeff Berding Gerrad Nijkamp and Avram Grant met for our final discussions and to form our final Draft board. With the months of previous talks we had decided that the positions of the players wasn't important. We were in the perfect position of being able to improve in every area of the side and therefore we were determined to select the best players available.

Arriving at the Draft at 14:30pm ready for it to officially begin at 15:00pm, we began receiving a number of trade offers. No less than ten offers were made for our number one pick with all of the offers being rejected immediately. Having the first two picks in the draft was incredibly important to us. We were excited and knew just how important the picks could be to our future.

“With the First Pick of the first round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select, Generation Adidas striker from Texas FC, Brian Black”

The announcement made it official, our first pick in the draft was a 22 year old striker from Texas named Brian Black. Black had been a player hyped around the nation for the past couple of years, his performances at Texas FC were sublime with him scoring four and assisting four in his eight games last season. Brian will join the side as a rotation option to begin, trying to force his way into the side by taking Diego Forláns current role in the side.

After the pick was made we saw a further ten offers made for our and the drafts overall second pick. But once again we declined to even talk about a trade.

“With the Second Pick of the first round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select, Left sided Midfielder, from San Francisco Glens, David Cooper”

A sudden gasp seemed to fill the room. It was expected, almost guaranteed by some pundits that Bob Guarnera would be the first or at the very least second pick in the draft. Yet we had selected somebody who was only expected to be picked at number 5. Bob was a very talented player, there is no doubting that. However, his attitude worried me. He seemingly was never certain on working hard and pushing on with the talent he had. One of my main focuses was on building a hard working squad and we felt that Bob would disturb that process.

David will come in as a highly skilled 22 year old left winger providing some much needed depth in that position. David had shown us in his interviews his determination and will to succeed was very high and for that reason we selected him as our second pick.

Having held the first two picks we were not scheduled to pick again until pick 6, a pick we received from DC United in a trade a month previous.

“With the Sixth Pick of the first round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select, Generation Adidas left back, from Long Island Rough Riders, Josh Kim”

New York native, Josh Kim was our 6th pick in the Superdraft, as the 22 year old joins as one of players with the highest potential from anyone in the draft class. Kim is already a talented attacking left back who scored twice and assisted once in his eight games last year. Josh will be behind Greg Garza and Jimmy Medranda for the time being but if he can develop as well as we hope he will be a key player in a few years time.

The Superdraft then moved on to the 2nd round as no real shocks took place after our final first round pick.

“With the First Pick of the second round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select, Right Winger, from the Seattle Sounders, Kevin Burpo”

Kevin Burpo is a player who is in a different situation to the majority of the draft as he is already on the books of an MLS side. Having been a member of Seattle Sounders under 23s for a few years, the right winger decided to declare for the draft and we have picked him up with the 25th overall pick. The 22 year old is a top dribbler with a lot of skill to get past his man and with the right development could turn into a highly impressive player.

“With the Second Pick of the second round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select, Midfielder, from Derby City Rovers, Gary Poole”

With our second pick in the second round we selected central midfielder Gary Poole from Derby City Rovers. Gary is a true leader, with a great eye for a pass and someone we believe can play a role in our midfield. Gary was one of his teams key players last season and with some improvement will be yet another big piece in what we want to do here.

“With the Third Pick of the second round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select, Right Back, from Next Academy, Clint Pollard”

American right back, Clint Pollard was our third, second round pick joining us from Next Academy. The 22 year old, is another young player with a high level of determination and will to work. Clint was highlighted early on as being a player who could contribute early on and we were surprised to be able to select him as late as we have.

“With the First Pick of the third round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft...FC Cincinnati select, center back, from Oklahoma City, René Pierre”

Another young defender joins the club with our seventh pick in the draft, as 21 year old René Pierre is picked with the first pick of round three. The Haitian born center back has been on the books at Oklahoma City and has impressed of late in the under 23s side. Pierre is a monster standing at 6”4 and with some improvement in his strength will be a force to contend with and a match-up strikers will fear.

“With the Fifth Pick of the third round in the 2019 MLS Superdraft... FC Cincinnati select, Striker, from FC Cleburne, Rory Lewis.”

With our final pick in the 2019 Superdraft we drafted a second striker in the name of Rory Lewis. Lewis, at 21 was a player we didn’t have much information on. But his few goals in six games at his club led us to taking a gamble. Hopefully the youngster shows some quality and we can see him playing for us in the near future.

As the draft came to its conclusion, Carl Linder called our five man group to his hotel room once again. After a stressful day of trades and draft picks we felt we deserved a few hours to celebrate and enjoy ourselves before the beginning of Pre-Season in just four days time.

The draft was complete, and it was time to get down to business.


BigMaguire: I don't follow padded rugby so I shall take your word for it ;)
Jack: Yeah, some memorable names over the years for sure. Just a shame the most recent success has to play a year at Leeds ;)
Scott: Hopefully the ones I have selected can leave their mark.
That explains why I didn't recognise the names... because they're all regens! Thank f*ck, I thought I was losing my touch in knowing the vast majority of players in the world. ;) I'm intrigued to see what sort of role each of these players have over the course of Cincinnati's debut season in the MLS.
Some decent players in there. Hopefully they can perform
A few surprises, for sure, but you must certainly be pleased with your picks.
Obviously these players are hardly world-beaters but adding to the team via draft is always going to have to be chosen carefully to ensure you make the most out of the picks. These will forever be remembered as the players who made up the debut team of Cincinnati FC!

Orange and Blue Move Into Mercy Health Training Complex

The front entrance of Mercy Health Training Center.

As of today (11th February 2019) FC Cincinnati have moved into their brand new training complex to be known as Mercy Health Training Complex. The new complex is situated just over 25 miles from the clubs stadium, Nippert Stadium, in Milford, Ohio and a further thirty minutes east of former training pitches at Xavier University.

Since the clubs founding in 2015, they have shared a training facility with local University, Xavier. Known as the Xavier Musketeers, the side were formed in 1974 and currently play in the Big East Conference. Having not made it to the NCAA tournament since 2014, when they were knocked out by twelfth seed Creighton in the third round, Xavier were looking to build on their eleven win season in 2017 but won just six in the previous campaign. With the facilities to themselves now, Xavier will be looking to find the form they had in 2014.

The move was first announced in mid 2018 with construction starting in August of that same year. Costing a total of $30,000,000 the training complex was built in a very quick period with the project completed in just six months and in time for the new season to begin when FC Cincinnati face LA Galaxy on March 1st.

Owner Carl Linder III released the following statement on the new training complex:

“We are delighted to open the brand new training complex here at Mercy Health Training Complex, in Milford, Ohio. The project was one of our first plans for the club when it was founded back in 2015 and alongside Team President Jeff Berding and Head Coach Paul King, we have developed this incredible complex. When developments began last year we began counting down the days up and till this very point. With everyday operations taking place in this facility I am very much looking forward to being here on a daily basis.”

The complex will see three full sized pitches, two floodlit grass pitches, a floodlit astroturf and a specialised goalkeeping training area. One of these pitches will be used to host the FC Cincinnati Academy’s games with a roofed stadium with a capacity of 500 seats. With an area of 24- acres, both FC Cincinnati’s first side and the FC Cincinnati Academy will be housed on the same complex with the layout encouraging interaction between the two sides, with the aim of inspiring the young stars of the levels they could reach.

Three of the pitches situated on the Mercy Health Training Complex.

Paul King, the Orange and Blues Head Coach since the clubs founding in 2015 also commented on the arrival at Mercy Health Training Complex:

“It’s a wonderful day, and a day which the club has been beyond excited for since construction began back in August. I believe this move will help us become a bigger and stronger club, helping us develop future talents. With daily operations taking place here from now on, we finally feel we have a home of our own after sharing with Xavier for the past few years. I am delighted to get going and have the utmost confidence the move will benefit the club tremendously. I am also very excited to be able to get a closer look at our Academy side as they will be on the same site as us. This should allow me a good view of potential first teamers and allow for integration between the squads to become a lot easier.”

With the club pleased with the current complex and how it has developed, there is also room for potential further improvements and that is something Carl Linder III has said he is already looking at:

“For now we are delighted with the complex and what it will offer us as a club, however, I am always looking at ways to improve. There is certainly potential for this complex to be expanded upon and with technology always developing we will be certain to maintain this complex remains as modern as possible.”

Further good news for FC Cincinnati is that of the clubs new stadium state of the art stadium in West End Cincinnati is still on course to be built for March 2021. The stadium, which the club received permission from the Cincinnati council to be built in April 2018 and is causing excitement throughout the club.


Scott: It will be interesting to see how they play and perform in the team. I am confident at least a few will play some key roles throughout the year and potentially a couple more in the years to come.
BigMaguire: I hope so!
Justice: I am very happy with the picks. The first three will all certainly be in and around the match day squad this year and as for the rest with the right development they could see a way into the side or be sold on for some extra cash.
Jack:Certainly not world beaters...yet. I am very confident in a couple of those players to turn into very good players. This will always be a very special class of players to the club and nobody can take the achievement of being in the MLS away from them.
That's a beautiful training centre and the new development will certainly benefit the club in the future. Great strides are being made to prepare for the MLS season.

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