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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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.
That is certainly the goal.
His disgusting behavior never ceases to amaze!
Some tough tests for sure, but it is what we need to ensure we are up to standard for the coming year.