Former Columbus Crew standout and U.S. national team member Brian McBride was selected by fans of Major League Soccer as the best No. 1 draft pick in MLS history. He received a whopping 68 percent of the overall vote with over 1,400 people selecting him. McBride was the first-ever draft pick in MLS, going to Columbus in the top spot of the Inaugural Draft in 1996.
A product of Saint Louis University, McBride would go on to score 62 goals for the Crew during his eight seasons with the team. He signed with London's Fulham FC after the 2003 MLS season and he recently completed his second campaign with the English Premier League side. A great run of form at the tail end of the season saw the imposing McBride strike for five goals in his last six games, including two in the season finale against Norwich City.
The 17 goals that McBride scored in the inaugural MLS season was his highest yearly total, though he also hit double digits in 1998 with 10 and in 2003 with 12. Nine times McBride found the back of the net during the MLS Cup Playoffs and eight times he struck with goals in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, two of those in 2002 when the Crew won the tournament.
D.C. United's back-to-back No. 1 draft picks came in second and third in the poll, with 2004's Freddy Adu getting 14 percent and 2003's Alecko Eskandarian getting 12 percent. Adu broke multiple soccer and professional sports records when D.C. United signed him on Jan. 16 at the tender age of 14.
Adu played in every match for D.C. United last season and thrilled audiences around the country with his combination of speed, skills and attacking flair. One year earlier, Eskandarian had been selected in the top spot by the Black-and-Red. He would go on to be the MVP of the 2004 MLS Cup, his two goal performance helping United win their fourth league title.
Seven other players received votes in the poll, but none could pull in more than two percent of the total. The poll was conducted on MLSnet.com, the league's official web site, as part of a celebration of the league's 10th season.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.