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Final

Mock Draft v1.0: MLS on Campus peers into the crystal ball two months out

Patrick Mullins (MLS On Campus)

Photo Credit: 
UMD Athletics Media Relations

Let’s get a few things out of the way first.

  1. The SuperDraft is two months from now.
  2. Neither the MLS season nor the college soccer season is over.
  3. Every single one of these Generation adidas names is a guess. Nobody's been signed yet.
  4. A good chunk of the league is either still looking for, or has just recently hired their head coach.

This means most of those involved MLS don’t know exactly what they want by way of players in the SuperDraft, and in any case, whatever they think they want could change between now and January as the rest of the NCAA Tournament plays out.

But the NCAA Tournament starts on Thursday, so if you want a rundown of which players you might want to look at so you can pester your favorite team to draft them, here’s where you’ll start.

Without further ado, let’s make a mockery of this Draft:

First Round

Pick Team  
1

Patrick Mullins (F)

Maryland

When your team was tied for lowest goal output in the league and you have the best college attacker in the country within spitting distance of your stadium, you take him.

Best MLS comparison: Soony Saad

2

(Via Chivas USA

Leo Stolz (MF)

UCLA / GA

Philly want a left back and central midfielder. Stolz isn’t going to help much at left back, but boy can he ball in the middle of the park.

Best MLS comparison: Marcelo Sarvas

3

(Via Toronto FC)

Andre Blake (GK)

Connecticut / GA

The 'Caps have four goalkeepers on their roster right now, but there’s no way all four start with the team next season. And with a 'keeper as good as Blake in this draft, you could do worse than taking the Jamaican to start revamping.

Best MLS comparison: Donovan Ricketts

4

Schillo Tshuma (M/F)

Maryland / GA

New Crew coach Gregg Berhalter won’t even divulge what positions he’s scouting, but Wil Trapp mentioned that he wants to play attacking soccer and Frankie Hejduk mentioned that Berhalter’s interview included the tidbit that seven of their 10 highest-paid players are defenders. So … yeah. How about that other awesome attacking midfielder/forward at Maryland?

Best MLS comparison: Patrick Nyarko

5

A.J. Corrado (M)

Indiana

Probably the best pure chance creator available. It’s important to have them when your forwards – Cooper, Hassli and Pérez – have combined for a little less than three assists per season in their MLS careers.

Best MLS comparison: Dilly Duka

6

Ben Sweat (D)

USF

We mentioned that Philly wanted a left back. Philly, meet Ben Sweat. Tall, rangy, and eager to get forward, there will be no questions about this athleticism. He will have to rein in some of those attacking instincts, though.

Best MLS comparison: Jordan Stewart

7

Joe Sofia (D)

UCLA

Lee Young-Pyo’s retirement decreases the average age of the Whitecaps’ defenders, but Jay DeMerit is getting up there in years, and it's advisable to have a smart, capable replacement waiting in the wings just in case he gets injured at the very beginning of the season. Again.

Best MLS comparison: Jason Hernandez

8

Kyle Venter (D)

New Mexico

Chicago are a little thin at center back, and if Venter’s still available here, it’d be worth it to add some depth.

Best MLS comparison: George John

9

Marlon Hairston (M)

Louisville / GA

Still an “if” at this point as Hairston is by no means a surefire Generation adidas signee. Regardless, a team like San Jose could certainly use a speedy box-to-box midfielder to draw attention away from their forwards, and cover some of the ground left by the 4-4-2.

Best MLS comparison: Andrew Jacobson

10

Peter Schmetz (D)

UCSB

Even before Alessandro Nesta retired, the Impact had some work to do at the back. Enter the 6-foot-6, 208-pound German from UCSB.

Best MLS comparison: Kwame Watson-Siriboe

11

Jared Watts (M)

Wake Forest

Watts is tall, hard-working and, more importantly for a defensive midfielder, hard-tackling. For a team that wants to learn how to win ugly and doesn't want to run Hendry Thomas into the ground again, it’s an ideal pick.

Best MLS comparison: Ben Zemanski

12

Pedro Ribeiro (M)

Coastal Carolina

At 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, you’d think that Ribeiro would be a destroyer type of midfielder. But then you’d realize that he’s scored 31 goals and served up 25 assists over his four years at Coastal Carolina, and that he’s actually just freakishly good at soccer.

Best MLS comparison: Juninho

13

Steve Neumann (M/F)

Georgetown

Mauro Rosales seems to have one foot out the door, and even if comes back he went the full 90 just three times in 2013. Having someone to platoon with Rosales, or even replace him as Seattle’s attacking hub would be nice. Neumann does exactly that – though there are concerns about his athleticism.

Best MLS comparison: Roger Torres

14

Fifi Baiden (M)

UCSB

LA could just as easily trade this pick away to see what they could get for it – it’s not like they don’t have plenty of good young players – but having Baiden around would be worth it. Think a Ghanaian Dax McCarty.

Best MLS comparison: Dax McCarty

15

Kevin Cope (D)

Michigan St.

Cope is not only a very good defender, but he’s also tough as nails: Apparently he played a good chunk of the Big Ten tournament with cracked ribs. The Red Bulls could use some youth and toughness in the center of their defense.

Best MLS comparison: Patrick Ianni

The rest of Round 1, in no particular order:

Luca Gimenez, M, Wake Forest – His eight goals and four assists this year gave him the distinction of one of the best attacking talents in the ACC. In fact, he was First Team All-Conference.

Steve Birnbaum, D, California – Birnbaum is nursing an ankle injury at the moment, so it’s tough to know what shape he’ll be in for the NCAA Tournament, but if he can prove he’s healthy, he’ll probably be much higher up this list next time around.

Enrique Cardenas, M, UC Irvine – The Big West Midfielder of the Year scored eight goals, along with six assists, in 2013, as UC Irvine ended up winning the conference tournament.

Nikita Kotlov, M, Indiana – Masked in Indiana’s overtime futility for most of this season was the fact that they have some really good players. Kotlov is one of them. You’ll probably be seeing him a fair amount next year


5 Others Who Could Be Generation adidas:

Cristian Mata, F, Tulsa – The sophomore strike sensation had a wildly successful year in his freshman season: 14 goals and six assists. He calmed down slightly this year, with 10 goals and seven assists. Productive, but there are athleticism questions.

James “C.” Nortey, F, Marquette – If not for offseason surgery in 2012 that led to him sitting out with a medical redshirt, he'd have been a junior. Regardless, the Ghanaian striker picked up right where he left off as a freshman, and with the NCAA Tournament in sight will have a good chance to eclipse his nine-goal record he’s set himself.

Alex Bono, GK, Syracuse – The Orange did not have a particularly great season, but don’t blame Bono. He was tremendous, earning eight shutouts in 18 starts en route to winning third-team All-ACC honors. That’s slightly down from last year when he surrendered 17 goals in 20 contests and made a ridiculous 79 saves.

Omar Holness, M, UNC – Does he eventually line up in central midfield, or on the wing? Or does someone make him a fullback? There are some long-term questions for Holness, but he does things like this. Teams like things like that. 

A.J. Cochran, D, Wisconsin – The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior center back just won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. And he’s left-footed. Go wild, American soccer fans!


5 Seniors That Could Also Be First-Rounders

Pete Caringi, F, UMBC – Caringi has drawn massive accolades this season, scoring 12 goals as the Retrievers went 16-1-2. If he can keep it up in the NCAA tournament, he’s likely to go in the first round.

Jimmy Ockford, D, Louisville – The ACC Defensive Player of the Year is obviously very good at defending (it's right there in the title), but he’s also something of a goal threat. He tallied four times in his senior season in River City.

Mackenzie Pridham, F, Cal Poly – Pridham scored at quite a clip, finishing the year with 14 goals to win his second straight Big West Offensive Player of the Year. The Ontario native is a US permanent resident, so he will count as a domestic player, but Toronto FC seems to have the inside track at the moment: He spent the summer training with them.

Reinaldo Brenes, F/M, Akron – Brenes is a highly rated forward, and even though his goal numbers dipped this year, he still finished with the team lead with six strikes. He's comfortable playing between the lines, but there are questions about his long-term spot.

Victor Chavez, F, UCLA – Finished second in scoring on UCLA with six goals and six assists, despite missing six games due to injury. Is kind of a 'tweener, and may have to convert to midfield at the MLS level.