The 2014 MLS SuperDraft is right around the corner, which means excitement is building about the next wave of collegiate talent to enter the league.
That enthusiasm is understandable, especially for teams with high draft picks, but it is also best to temper that with a realistic expectation of what's to come from the rookies who'll take the stage in Philly.
MLSsoccer.com has done some number-crunching from the 2013 season to help offer an idea of what you might expect from first-year players this season. For these purposes, we've included draftees as well as Homegrown players to come up with a list of 71 rookies that were on MLS rosters last season.
Games Started – 347
If you are expecting your team to draft or pick up an 34-game starter, you will likely be disappointed. Only four players came close to starting in a season's worth of matches in 2013 – defenders Andrew Farrell and DeAndre Yedlin and midfielders Dillon Powers and Carlos Alvarez – and none of them played in, much less started, all 34 of their club's matches. Farrell came the closest with 32 starts while Yedlin, Powers and Alvarez had 30, 29 and 26, respectively.
Ten rookies started 16 or more matches in 2013, but most first-year pros who saw significant time were integrated slowly or used primarly off the bench as evidenced by the 520 regular-season matches that first-year players took part in. In fact, the majority of rookies who did see the field (32) started nine games or less.
Goals – 49
MLS rookies are capable of contributing goals, but for the most part, they won't come in bunches.
Of the 49 goals that were scored last year, 10 came from Colorado Rapids forward Deshorn Brown. Kekuta Manneh of the Vancouver Whitecaps was the second-highest scorer among rookies with six and he was followed by Powers and Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who each had five.
In total, 16 rookies found the back of the net last season, but only seven scored more than twice.
Assists – 34
There were even fewer assists by MLS rookies last year: only 34, and half of those came from the feet of just four players. Powers (six), Brown (four), LA Galaxy Homegrown Gyasi Zardes (four) and Alvarez (3). Only nine others were able to set up teammates for scores.
There are some talented youngsters in this year's draft class, but don't expect too much from them in the assists department. At least, not right away.
|Andrew Farrell (NE)||32||32||2813||0||1|
|DeAndre Yedlin (SEA)||31||30||2710||1||2|
|Dillon Powers (COL)||30||29||2457||5||6|
|Carlos Alvarez (CHV)||29||26||2182||2||3|
|Scott Caldwell (NE)||29||23||2174||0||2|
|Gyasi Zardes (LA)||27||23||2170||4||4|
|Deshorn Brown (COL)||31||24||2169||10||4|
|Jonathan Osorio (TOR)||28||18||1697||5||1|
|Chad Barson (CLB)||20||18||1612||0||1|
|Wil Trapp (CLB)||16||16||1389||0||1|
|Carlos Salcedo (RSL)||13||12||1070||0||0|
|Adam Jahn (SJ)||22||11||1059||4||0|
|Kellyn Acosta (DAL)||13||11||1004||0||0|
|Devon Sandoval (RSL)||17||10||885||3||0|
|Greg Cochrane (LA)||12||9||848||0||0|
|Kekuta Manneh (VAN)||20||6||764||6||2|
|Kofi Opare (LA)||6||6||534||1||0|
|Taylor Kemp (DC)||8||6||530||0||0|
|Erik Hurtado (VAN)||15||4||489||0||2|
|Ryan Finley (CLB)||14||3||430||1||1|
|Jason Johnson (HOU)||13||4||428||1||0|
|Walker Zimmerman (DAL)||7||4||411||2||0|
|London Woodberry (DAL)||8||3||363||0||0|
|Collin Martin (DC)||7||4||359||0||1|
|Kyle Bekker (TOR)||9||3||335||0||0|
|Maxim Tissot (MTL)||6||3||303||1||1|
|Leo Fernandes (PHI)||7||3||281||0||0|
|Blake Smith (MTL)||16||0||276||2||1|
|Charlie Rugg (LA)||4||2||151||1||0|
|Michael Seaton (DC)||3||1||114||0||0|
|Michael Bustamante (NY)||4||1||95||0||1|
|Sam Adekugbe (VAN)||1||1||90||0||0|
|Anthony Arena (HOU)||1||0||70||0||0|
|Yazid Atouba Emane (CHI)||3||0||55||0||0|
|Donnie Smith (NE)||1||1||53||0||0|
|John Stertzer (RSL)||2||0||33||0||0|
|Eriq Zavaleta (SEA)||5||0||31||0||0|
|Don Anding (PHI)||1||0||30||0||0|
|Bradlee Baladez (DAL)||1||0||27||0||0|
|Dylan Remick (SEA)||1||0||25||0||0|
|Taylor Morgan (TOR)||1||0||15||0||0|
|Matt Miazga (NY)||1||0||14||0||0|
|Dillon Serna (COL)||1||0||13||0||0|
|Emery Welshman (TOR)||1||0||5||0||0|
|Amando Moreno (NY)||2||0||2||0||0|
|Brenton Griffiths (COL)||1||0||1||0||0|