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MLS SuperDraft is 'Unrealistic'
New York Sun, January 29th, 2008 4PM

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Major League soccer for years has tried to emulate the National Football League and the National Basketball Association by turning its annual college draft into a major media event. However, Paul Gardner of the New York Sun points out that the "SuperDraft," as it's known, is unique to the United States in the worldwide game of soccer, and as MLS takes greater steps toward becoming part of the global game, he suggests it should leave the meaningless draft behind. "The flimsy fiction that college soccer can supply pro-level players cannot be maintained for much longer," he says. "Nothing short of radical changes in the college game can alter the outlook."

Unlike college basketball and football stars, Gardner says there are almost no college players who can go straight into the professional game and become superstars, as "the level of the sport in college is so far below the level of the pro game." He adds that MLS coaches readily admit (off record) "that they spend little time or money assessing college players." Faced with that reality, MLS continues to take steps that undermine the significance of the college game. First came Project-40 -- now called Generation Adidas -- which was designed to allow the 40 best high school players to skip college soccer and train with MLS clubs. Meanwhile, MLS has forced teams to develop youth academies of their own. Says Gardner: "MLS's support of the college game is laudable, but it is unrealistic."

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