RSL drafts for the future and for today

With no clear-cut number one pick available in Friday's 2005 MLS SuperDraft, Real Salt Lake head coach John Ellinger appeared to have a tough decision on his hands. As it turned out, there wasn't much of a decision for Ellinger to make.

Real selected U.S. U-17 midfielder Nikolas Besagno with the top pick in this year's draft and added three additional players as the team continues building a squad from scratch. Besagno, who at age 16 is the second youngest player ever drafted by an MLS team (behind Freddy Adu last year), will eventually find himself as the cornerstone of this franchise.

"I'm hoping just to get in [and] play well with the reserve team," said Besagno. "I won't be playing much [during my first season because] I'm still going to be with the U-17s until September or October. [I] just want to get my first season under me and then, hopefully, [in my] second season maybe get a starting position and some playing time."

Besagno (pronounced buh - SAW - no) was under Ellinger's tutelage when the coach headed up the U-17 national team program. While familiarity bred a comfort level, Ellinger said that he also thinks that Besagno might turn into a pretty good player, as well.

In the second round, the Monarchs looked to take care of both ends of the field. With the first pick in the second round (No. 13) Real took North Carolina forward Jamie Watson who will provide depth at the forward slot currently occupied by league goal-scoring leader Jason Kreis and U.S. international Clint Mathis. With the 22nd pick, RSL traded one of their expansion allocations to the Galaxy to select Indiana 'keeper Jay Nolly, an integral member of last year's NCAA national champion.

Not content to sit on their laurels, RSL used their fourth-round selection to take Bradley midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer, the MVP of the adidas Player Combine held last week. Kreamalmeyer had really impressed scouts with his performance at the combine and some media pundits speculated RSL might take him with the first pick. Although Kreamalmeyer slipped a bit, Real certainly added great value even in the late rounds.

Danny Polinsky is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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