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Draft picks are 'long-term prospects'
January 21st, 2008 6:45AM
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[MLS WATCH]Coaches at the 2008 MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore shared their observations on their own picks and how the draft played out in general with Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney.

Columbus coach Sigi Schmid took defender Andy Iro with the sixth overall pick, then selected two rather lesser-known forwards: George Josten of Gonzaga and Haitian Ricardo Pierre-Louis, the 2007 NAIA National Player of the Year. The Crew traded to get the No. 22 pick from Dallas and used it on Pierre-Louis, who played for Lee University and teamed with Josten at the combine.

"We really felt we needed a couple of forwards who could fill a role," said Schmid. "We don't have Andy Herron returning, so there's a spot opening; Jason Thomas is not returning, so there's a spot open and we traded Kei Kamara."

While coach of the Galaxy, Schmid drafted Brian Ching out of Gonzaga. Of Josten, Schmid said, "I thought he played very well at the combine. A couple of the coaches I called in the WCC, they said, 'Probably one of the biggest mistakes I made was not recruiting the kid.'

"I thought he was one of the best back-to-goal forwards in the combine. And if he does as well as the last guy from Gonzaga that I drafted, I'll be very happy."

Jason Kreis has played in the league since its inception, yet just last season he took Real Salt Lake from head coach John Ellinger. In his first SuperDraft, with three of the first 17 picks, Kreis took right back Tony Beltran (No. 3), defender David Horst (No. 14), and U.S. under-17 midfielder Alex Nimo (No. 17).

Of Horst, Kreis said "Clearly I felt that the biggest strong point by a long way was at center back. Coming out of it now, what I saw is that because of that, it devalued all the center backs. They all got taken quite a bit lower than I thought they would have.

"But we were extremely happy to get Horst where we got him. He was somebody we really, really liked and we were crossing our fingers that he could get him with that 14th pick. It probably surprised a few people but he may end up being the surprise."

Of Beltran, who played for the U.S. at last summer's U-20 World Cup and at UCLA, Kreis said: "We thought we needed a wide defender and we rated him. We rated him real high.

"Obviously, someone who has the experience of an under-20 World Cup, he comes into our group, where we've got two U-20 World Cup players [Nathan Sturgis and Chris Seitz) already. That factors into it."

On Nimo, Kreis said, "We felt really fortunate to get him there. I really felt like he would go. He's got a tremendous amount of potential in the world market, he's a different of player, and from what we saw at the combine he was effective in every game. He was getting crosses in and taking players on and taking some risk."

Tom Soehn of D.C. United didn't have a first-round pick. He selected midfielder Andrew Jacobson with the 24th overall pick, forward Ryan Corderio (No. 33) and defender/midfielder Tony Schmitz(No. 52).

"Whether it's via the draft or trades, you're always looking to add some young Americans that have an impact," said Soehn. "We're still seeing if Guy [Roland-Kpene] can be that guy, we were able to get Marc Burch last year for a supplemental draft pick, so you're always looking to re-stock and make sure you have a couple guys who can step in and start for you.

"We went through it as a staff and we kind of had an idea where guys would fall. Our first pick, he fell a lot further than we had imagined, so we were pretty happy with our first pick.

"Everybody you draft is a long-term prospect. Whether or not they turn out time will tell."



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