Freddy Adu - DC United - Celebrate
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Blessing or a curse? A history of the No. 1 overall pick in MLS SuperDraft

Getting drafted No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft can be the ultimate honor for a player coming out of college soccer. It means you are believed to have the highest potential among all your peers that are eligible to be drafted.

It's no guarantee of success once your MLS career starts, though.

In 2016, Jack Harrison returned from injury and played exceptionally well over the last five months of the season. He finished the season with four goals and seven assists in 21 games, and finished third in AT&T Rookie of the Year voting.

In fact, only two No. 1 picks have won Rookie of the Year (Maurice Edu, Cyle Larin). Through the years, it more often has been the case that No. 1 picks have been busts rather than stars.

The consensus top pick in this year's SuperDraft is former Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse. He will be hoping to be more like Harrison or Larin rather than the next Steve Shak or Nikolas Besagno. You can check out all the No. 1 picks through the years, and how they fared in MLS, below.


1996 – Matt McKeon (Kansas City Wiz)

The first pick in MLS College Draft history, McKeon was a versatile player for the Kansas City Wizards for six of his seven MLS seasons. He appeared in a total of 172 games, collecting 13 goals and 19 assists. He made 30 appearances for the Wizards in 2000 when they took home MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

1997 – Tahj Jakins (Colorado Rapids)

Jakins played three-plus seasons with the Rapids before being waived. He was later picked up by the Kansas City Wizards but lasted just 12 games with the club before his release.

1998 – Leo Cullen (Miami Fusion)

Cullen was a regular for a Fusion team that made the playoffs in his first two seasons with the club. Cullen made a total of 61 appearances in those two seasons and went on to appear in 166 total MLS games for the Fusion, New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids.

1999 – Jason Moore (D.C. United)

Moore played for four different teams over the course of his MLS career, appearing in 92 total games.

2000 – Steve Shak (NY/NJ MetroStars)

A surprise No. 1-overall pick in 2000, Shak was selected over the likes of Nick Garcia, Carlos Bocanegra and Danny Califf by Octavio Zambrano and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. After appearing in 23 games during his rookie season, Shak lasted just two more seasons in MLS before embarking on a career in the lower leagues of American soccer.

2001 – Chris Carrieri (San Jose Earthquakes)

After being selected by the Earthquakes, Carrieri was sent to the Colorado Rapids in June of his rookie season. He made 69 appearances, scoring 19 goals, over two and half seasons with the club before leaving MLS and spending multiple seasons with the Richmond Kickers.

2002 – Chris Gbandi (Dallas Burn)

After a successful career at UConn, the left back missed out on his rookie season with the Dallas Burn due to an ACL injury. Following that he made 111 appearances over five seasons with the club before signing with FK Haugesund in Norway. He was hired as head coach for Northeastern University last year.

2003 – Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)

Eskandarian was an integral member of the 2004 D.C. United squad that took home MLS Cup, scoring 10 goals during the regular season. He was also named MVP of MLS Cup after scoring a brace against the Kansas City Wizards. He went on to have an eight-year MLS career, appearing in 125 games with United, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and LA Galaxy before an injury cut short his career.

2004 – Freddy Adu (D.C. United)

Where to begin? Adu was selected No. 1 as a 14-year-old by his hometown club in perhaps the most famous moment in MLS history. He was a regular contributor with D.C. United over his three seasons with the club, helping them capture the 2004 MLS Cup before being sent to Real Salt Lake. From there he was transferred to Portuguese club Benfica for a reported $2 million.

After several unsuccessful loan stints, he returned to MLS with the Philadelphia Union. In a season and a half with the club he made 35 appearances, scoring seven goals. Since then he has played across the world, having most recently played with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL.

2005 – Nikolas Besagno (Real Salt Lake)

Just a 16-year-old, Besagno was the first pick in the history of Real Salt Lake. He spent four seasons with the club but made just eight appearances before he was released. He spent time with local teams after that, including the Tacoma Tide and Kitsap Pumas. Three years ago, MLSsoccer.com caught up with Besagno.

2006 – Marvell Wynne (New York Red Bulls)

One of the most successful No. 1-overall picks of all-time, Wynne has been one of the most consistent presences in MLS over the past 11 seasons. He has appeared in at least 20 games in all of his 11 MLS seasons and became the 36th outfield player to reach 300 games played this past season. Wynne has spent time with the Red Bulls, Toronto FC, Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes. In 2010 he helped the Rapids capture their first MLS Cup, forming a formidable center back tandem with Drew Moor.

2007 – Maurice Edu (Toronto FC)

The first No. 1 pick to be awarded the Rookie of the Year, Edu came onto the MLS scene like a man on fire. His strong play as a defensive midfielder with Toronto helped him earn a 2.6 million Euro transfer to Scottish giants Rangers. He won three SPL titles with the club before coming back to MLS prior to the 2014 season.

He has made 53 appearances with the Philadelphia Union over his first two seasons with the club, before missing the entire 2016 season due to injury. Edu also was a regular member of the US national team, registering 46 caps. He was named to the 2010 World Cup team by Bob Bradley.

2008 – Chance Myers (Kansas City Wizards)

Myers was an integral member of Sporting’s transformation into a perennial contender in MLS. He appeared in 147 games in his nine seasons in MLS and has helped the team capture the 2013 MLS Cup and two US Open Cups (2012, 2015). He has been injury-prone over the past three seasons and is currently out of contract.

2009 – Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders)

One of the most promising young talents in MLS history, Zakuani was an immediate star for the expansion Seattle Sounders. He accrued 14 goals and 10 assists in his first two seasons in MLS and was off to a great start in his third season before a crunching tackle left his leg badly injured. He stayed in MLS for three more seasons but never fully recovered his form, and eventually retired following the 2014 season.

2010 – Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia Union)

Mwanga had his best MLS season in his rookie year, scoring seven goals and collecting four assists for the Philadelphia Union. He has scored just eight goals in his last five seasons in the league and has played for the Portland Timbers, Colorado Rapids and Orlando City SC. He made four appearances for Orlando in 2015 before playing in the NASL this past season.

2011 – Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Salgado never really got his career started north of the border, making just 29 appearances in four seasons with the Whitecaps. He was transferred to Tigres in Liga MX following the 2014 season.

2012 – Andrew Wenger (Montreal Impact)

Wenger came into the 2012 SuperDraft as the obvious No. 1 choice, but without a true position. He has spent most of his career either as a striker or as a left winger, scoring 19 goals in 137 career games with the Impact, Philadelphia Union and Houston Dynamo.

2013 – Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution)

Farrell has been a starter since Day 1 for the Revolution, starting his career at right back before switching over to center back prior to the 2015 season. He struggled this past season, necessitating a move back to right back but has started 32 games in each of first four MLS seasons and helped the Revolution reach the MLS Cup final in 2014.

2014 – Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)

The Union traded up to get Blake in the 2014 SuperDraft, but for over a season the Jamaican international was relegated to the bench. After Brian Sylvestre went down with an injury in 2015, Blake finally got his shot. The UConn product started six games for the Union in 2015, collecting two clean sheets. He broke out this past season, starting 32 games and being named MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year.

2015 – Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC)

Perhaps the best rookie season by a No. 1-overall pick belongs to Larin, who scored 17 goals in 2015 and ran away with the Rookie of the Year voting. He followed that up with a stellar 2016 season, scoring 14 goals in 32 games played.

2016 - Jack Harrison (Chicago Fire)

After being selected No. 1 overall, Harrison was immediately traded to New York City FC. He had a productive rookie season, contributing four goals and seven assists as he helped NYCFC reach the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time.

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