Photo via Jeff Camarati/UNC Athletic Communications
The 2012 MLS SuperDraft is a little more than a month away, and with only four teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament, it’s that time to start focusing on what players might be ready to contribute in MLS next year.
Here’s a look at 25 seniors likely to be in the conversation for January’s draft:
1. Nick DeLeon, Louisville, M/F
His statistical output was a modest six goals and six assists this season, but the versatile attacker has flourished and matured. He can be a real weapon in 2012.
2. Casey Townsend, Maryland, F
A lethal goalscorer with 17 tallies for the Terps this year, Townsend has a tremendous leaping ability and elicits comparisons of another former Terrapin, Taylor Twellman.
Generation adidas Candidates
|Billy Schuler||North Carolina||F|
|Enzo Martinez||North Carolina||M|
|Dillon Powers||Notre Dame||M|
3. Matt Hedges, North Carolina, D
The cream of the crop among senior center backs, Hedges transferred from Butler to UNC before his senior year. His 6-foot-4 frame will fit into an MLS back line right away.
4. Luis Silva, UC Santa Barbara, M
An extremely dangerous offensive threat at the collegiate level with 17 goals and 10 assists, Silva is an attacking midfielder who can score in a variety of ways, combines well with teammates and has great vision.
5. Ethan Finlay, Creighton, F
Another prolific senior forward who makes smart, timely runs and scores big goals. He bagged 14 goals in his final season and is looking to finish his collegiate career with a national title this weekend.
6. Austin Berry, Louisville, D
A tall, physical central defender who leads by example along the back line, Berry played almost every minute of Louisville’s season in 2011.
7. Tony Cascio, Connecticut, M/F
A quick, versatile attacker who can play either out wide or up front, Cascio’s numbers dropped in his senior year, although he’ll be ready to make an impact next year.
8. Tommy Meyer, Indiana, D
Tall, stout center back with decent technical abilities, Meyer marshaled a strong Indiana defense this year.
9. Colin Rolfe, Louisville, F
After recovering from a slow start to the season, Rolfe finished with nine goals and 10 assists this year. A big target forward who is strong on the ball and capable of setting up teammates as well as scoring.
10. Chris Estridge, Indiana, D
The pick of the left-sided senior defenders, Estridge is a left back with good speed and the ability to deliver a decent cross.
11. Luke Holmes, Akron, M/F
Holmes, a native of England who transferred to Akron this season, is a hard-working winger with a knack for popping up at the right place at the right time in front of the opponents' goal. His international status could hamper where he lands in the draft.
12. Kirk Urso, North Carolina, M
Urso is one of the driving forces in the UNC midfield. Capable of playing as a box-to-box midfielder, he’s scored a few special goals from distance this year.
13. Arthur Ivo, Southern Methodist, M
A creative Brazlian midfielder (who also holds a Portuguese passport) with a cultured left foot, Ivo’s citizenship status could possibly hamper where he lands in the draft.
14. Greg Jordan, Creighton, M
A key element to Creighton’s success this year, Jordan has a year of eligibility left because of a torn ACL suffered in 2009, but is on track to graduate. If he decides to leave school, he has the tools to provide depth in central midfield.
15. Andy Rose, UCLA, M
A product of English Championship side Bristol City’s youth teams, Rose is an imposing presence in central midfield, generally sitting in front of the back four.
16. Hunter Jumper, Virginia, D
One of the few left sided defensive options from the senior class, Jumper played a number of positions at UVa and will need time to make the transition to a permanent role in MLS if he hopes to catch on as a left back.
17. Kevan George, Central Florida, M
George, a tall and lanky central midfielder, is another collegiate prospect looking capable of holding down a defensive midfield spot in MLS.
18. Kenney Walker, Louisville, M
A defensive midfielder capable of covering tremendous ground and links the back line with the attack quite well.
19. Ryan Meara, Fordham, G
In a draft class light on goalkeeping prospects, Meara edges out about the rest with his consistency and size (6-foot-4, 185 pounds).
20. Miguel Ibarra, UC Irvine, M
One of the most exciting, electric talents in the draft, Ibarra was a spark for Irvine’s offensive success this year. He’ll have to find a spot on the field in MLS and is a bit on the small side (5-foot-7, 135 pounds), but has the tools to make the leap.
21. R.J. Allen, Monmouth, D
A right back with a strong defensive presence, Allen gets forward well and can add to the attack down the right flank.
22. Brian Ownby, Virginia, F
The former US Under-20 World Cup veteran has battled through two injury-plagued seasons, but can be a factor due to his speed – if he stays healthy.
23. Raymon Gaddis, West Virginia, D
An athletic outside back with speed to burn, Gaddis’ athleticism will help ease his adjustment to the next level.
24. Calum Mallace, Marquette, M
A four-year starter at Marquette, it was a down year for the Golden Eagles, but Mallace has good size and is solid on serving in set pieces.
25. Aaron Maund, Notre Dame, D
Another member of the 2009 US U-20 World Cup team, Maund is an athletic center back with the size and experience to add depth to any MLS defense.
Other seniors to know: D Jake Levin (Penn), G Chris Blais (South Florida), F Lucky Mkosana (Dartmouth), F Brent Richards (Washington), D Nickardo Blake (Connecticut), M/F Eder Arreola (UCLA), M Warren Crevalle (Central Florida), F Antoine Hoppenot (Princeton), F Evans Frimpong (Delaware), D Mykell Bates (Santa Clara)