Kick Off: Revs set to make history with No. 1 draft pick
A No. 1 draft pick can change the fortunes of a professional sports team.
The New England Revolution seem to believe there’s a player who has that potential in today’s MLS SuperDraft after trading for the No. 1 pick yesterday in a deal with Toronto FC. The Revs say it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
The Revs’ first selection will be broadcast live on ESPN SportsCenter at noon ET with the rest of the SuperDraft available online via MLSsoccer.com, ESPN3.com and YouTube.com. Watch the live broadcast here.
The consensus top pick is University of Louisville defender Andrew Farrell. And his college coach, Ken Lolla, says he’s also hearing from contacts around the league that his former player will be the No. 1 selection.
There are sure to be more trades coming down today. Bright and early, the Portland Timbers announced they traded Mike Fucito to San Jose for a second-round pick. And Ives Galarcep reported another one yesterday involving the Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA.
What’s the most talent-rich position in the SuperDraft this year? Seattle Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson thinks it’s at center back, one of the Sounders’ areas of need. That may be why the Sounders are talking about potentially moving up in the SuperDraft.
For those planning to see FC Dallas draft a forward, here’s one less reason that may happen. Apparently they’ve just signed Santos Laguna reserve team forward Yomeri Reyes, who tweeted out the news: “It’s official. Now I’m an FC Dallas player.”
In the meantime, FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman reveals how they prepare for the SuperDraft at his club (picks No. 7 and No. 20): “We’ve listed players in three categories like a stoplight,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “Green, these are players we’d love to have. Yellow, these are players that we may be interested in, especially in the 20th spot. And then red, these are the players that wouldn’t fit with us. Not that many greens, a lot more yellows.”
Here’s one reason FC Dallas may not have that many “greens”: The MLS Academy system and Homegrown player signings see that many of the best college players go to the MLS team that helped form them before they’re available for the SuperDraft. Brian Straus of the Sporting News tackles the subject.
There’s still value in the SuperDraft and there are few who know how to spot the talents than Bruce Arena. The two-time defending MLS Cup champions have the last pick in the two rounds today (Nos. 19 and 38), but low picks haven’t stopped him in the past. Here’s the proof.
Arena and his staff were also busy in the lead-up to the SuperDraft, extending Robbie Keane’s deal and also arranging the permanent transfer of influential midfielder Juninho.
Real Salt Lake (picks No. 12 and No. 31) have also made two major player moves before the SuperDraft. Robbie Findley is back in the fold and Javier Morales announced via Twitter that he’s also officially returning with RSL.
The Montreal Impact (picks No. 8, No. 18, No. 27 and No. 32) hope to get an impact player or two from today’s SuperDraft and they might be Canadian. In fact, sporting director Nick De Santis says that they’re interested in two Canadian prospects. Is he referring to Boston College’s Kyle Bekker and Oregon State’s Emery Welshman?
Another Canadian club, the Vancouver Whitecaps (No. 5 and No. 10), seem to have their eyes on Cal State Bakersfield left back Kory Kindle. That’s according to CSUB’s head coach and the interview at the MLS Player Combine.
Who will the Columbus Crew be after at No. 9 and No. 28? The consensus is that whatever happens with their international signings, defender and forward are their two priority areas. “Our roster is not chock-full of defenders,” technical director Brian Bliss told The Dispatch. “We’re going to add some guys there.”
Expect the Colorado Rapids (No. 6, No. 11 and No. 25) to be active today, especially after trading veteran midfielder Jeff Larentowicz yesterday. It turns out they may also be losing Colombian Jaime Castrillón to Millonarios.
Sporting Kansas City have just one pick today (No. 14), but will they use it on New Mexico’s Blake Smith, the best athlete at the Combine and one of the best let wingers in the country? “He’s actually trained with us a couple times,” manager Peter Vermes said. “He’s an interesting kid, but he’s also a good soccer player. If you’re looking for a flank player, he’s got some good qualities.”
We may not know who teams are picking just yet but we do know that the emotions will certainly be flowing today. Generation adidas midfielder Mikey Lopez, who played at North Carolina, had to make big sacrifices to play pro and his dad wants everyone to know: “He gave up a lot. He really didn’t have a regular teenage life because he was always on the road. He was always playing. He didn’t have a lot of time to go out to the movies or the malls like most kids do on the weekends.”
For Jamaican forward Deshorn Brown of Central Florida, he hopes professional soccer will allow him to take care of his folks back home: “I have been trying to reach this to help my family. It's my job to do well on the field so I can keep having financial aid to help with my family and myself."
The SuperDraft in Indianapolis will feel extra special for Indiana University’s Eriq Zavaleta, who will practically be drafted in his hometown (Westfield, Ind.).
Here’s one of the most interesting backgrounds of any player eligible for the SuperDraft: Michigan center back Kofi Opare was born in Ghana, grew up in South Africa, moved to the US and has Canadian residency. It’s a long story.
These young players know what hard work is and they also know how to give back. Three of the top prospects in this year’s SuperDraft visited a local hospital before the biggest day of their lives. See the photos here.
On the international scene, the word is that Anderlecht are getting ready to table a formal bid to D.C. United (reported to reach $8 million) for right back and D.C. United Academy product Andy Najar. "It has to be a situation that will be in everyone's best interest," said D.C. general manager Dave Kasper.
Former No. 1 SuperDraft pick (2007) and current USMNT international defender Maurice Edu continues to be on the move. He’s reportedly set to join Turkish side Bursaspor on loan from Stoke City.
In other news, the dates have leaked for the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, which will mark the 100th edition of the tournament.
A professional soccer team from Indianapolis will eventually be part of that tournament. That announcement came yesterday on the eve of the SuperDraft. Find out the details about the new club here.
When you talk Indianapolis, the Brickyard is likely the first thing to come to mind. Well, see how today’s MLS SuperDraft prospects did when they faced off against IndyCar drivers at the famed course. The racecar drivers were in full uniform. (VIDEO)
Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.