A ton of eyebrows were raised with both of FC Dallas’ selections in Thursday’s SuperDraft, but for very different reasons.
No one expected Walker Zimmerman’s name to be on the board when FCD happily snapped him up at No. 7 overall, but for UCLA winger Ryan Hollingshead, Schellas Hyndman’s choice with their No. 20 pick, the story is much different.
Normally, you’d expect the Pac-12 Player of the Year to go well before the early second round, but while most of the MLS wanna-bes strutted their stuff at the MLS Combine in Florida before taking the stage in Indianapolis, Hollingshead took a much different path.
The California native traded his soccer cleats for work boots, as he does missionary work in Haiti. Though he returns to the states at the end of July, reports have indicated that Hollingshead may never play a minute of professional soccer. For Schellas Hyndman, however, it was a gamble that was too good to pass up.
“Ryan is a player that we’ve identified over the last three years,” Hyndman (above) told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s the Pac-12 player of the year. Our scouts, contacts and coaches all rated him as a top four pick in the draft. He had the opportunity to go to Haiti to do some missionary work and I think he was off some people’s radar.”
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It’s a big gamble, potentially using the No. 20 overall pick on a kid who may never play, but for Hyndman, the potential gains far outweighed the risks involved. In Hollingshead, Dallas is getting a tall, strong winger that is powerful on the ball with a stinging shot and skills that translate well to handling physical MLS defenders. Hollingshead finished second in the Pac-12 in assists while tying for the team lead in goals scored with seven this season.
“I’ve just got to believe that our risk is well worth it,” said Hyndman. “We looked to see the players who were still left in the draft that had big capability, and we really felt like this was a direction we needed to go.”
Should Dallas convince the standout senior to join the team in preseason, the pick that had many scratching their head could end up becoming the steal of the second round. Hollingshead certainly would fill a need for FCD who lacks sufficient depth on the wings behind Brek Shea, Fabián Castillo and Jackson.
“I think he’s wanting to finish his senior year in college which we’ll discuss with him and then I’ve just got to think that any player that is that good, has to love the game and really enjoy the competition,” Hyndman continued. “I think it’s going to be hard for him to walk away from it, but for us he’s one of the best players in the country.”
“If we didn’t take the risk, it would’ve been very shortly that someone else would’ve picked him up.”