Preview: MLS SuperDraft takes on new look

The 2020 MLS SuperDraft (rounds 1 and 2) will be held on Thursday, a week earlier than usual.

For the first time in 18 years, the SuperDraft won't be held at the United Soccer Coaches Convention (being held next week in Baltimore). Instead, the draft will be held by conference call.

The 2020 SuperDraft has lacked the buildup of past years. Teams are pouring resources into their academies and recruitment of young foreigners, pushing the college game aside. There's no player combine to create buzz and serve as a lead-in to the draft.

That's not to say teams can't get help in the SuperDraft.

In 2017, Miles Robinson, Jonathan Lewis, Jeremy Ebobisse and Jackson Yueill were taken within the first six picks and all were capped by Gregg Berhalter two years later. Foreign players have had an impact -- German Julian Gressel and Ghanaian Lalas Abubakar taken in 2017 and Brazilian Andre Shinyashiki, the 2019 MLS Rookie of the Year.

Mock Drafts: | Top Drawer Soccer | Soccer by Ives

The 2020 SuperDraft will be the most extensive broadcast production ever in MLS draft history with coverage of the first round streamed live on the ESPN App, as well as through ESPN social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Instead of players and their coaches and families assembling on-site at the coaches convention, ESPN will have cameras embedded on location, including a camera at Clemson University with MAC Hermann Award winner Robbie Robinson, to get reactions at watch parties for the top prospects.

Embedded cameras will be in SuperDraft rooms around MLS, including Inter Miami, which holds the first and third picks. A camera will be embedded with fans at Nashville SC, the other 2020 expansion team.
Top five prospects (alphabetical order):

1. Daryl Dike (Virginia). In his sophomore season, the Oklahoman led the Cavaliers in points (28), goals (10) and assists (8) and drew fouls that led directly to seven goals, including two in the 3-2 quarterfinal win over SMU. His older brother, Bright, played in MLS and later professionally in Russia and Malaysia.

2. Henry Kessler (Virginia). The giant center back is another of four Cavalier underclassmen who have turned pro. New Zealand international Joe Bell is expected to sign with Viking in Norway, while Scotsman Daniel Steedman signed with Atlanta United 2.

3. Jack Maher (Indiana, bottom photo). Maher, who has spent time with the U.S. U-23s, is considered the top defender and could go first in the SuperDraft. He was the 2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as the Hoosiers won back-to-back conference titles.

4. Dylan Nealis (Georgetown). Nealis, who helped the Hoyas win their first national title, is considered the top outside back in the draft. He's the youngest of four brothers from a Long Island family that played college soccer. Sean, 22, debuted with the New York Red Bulls in 2019.

5. Robbie Robinson (Clemson, top photo). Robinson led the nation in points (45), tied for the lead in goals (18) and was tied for fifth in assists (9) to lead the Tigers to the quarterfinals in the NCAA Tournament. He is also considered a possible No. 1 pick.

SuperDraft: Eligible player list

Round 1 picks:

Inter Miami, 1, 3.
Nashville SC 2.
Vancouver 4.
Orlando City 5.
New England 6, 13.
Columbus 7.
Houston 8.
Montreal 9.
Chicago 10, 26.
Colorado 11.
San Jose 12.
FC Dallas 14, 17.
NY Red Bulls 15.
Portland 16.
Minn. United 18.
Toronto FC 19, 25.
Real Salt Lake 20.
Philadelphia 21.
New York City FC 22.
Atlanta United 23.
LAFC 24.

5 comments about "Preview: MLS SuperDraft takes on new look".
  1. Wallace Wade, January 9, 2020 at 7:27 a.m.

    Just drop the event. This is not the NFL. You want increased interest? Sign young talent from Europe

  2. frank schoon replied, January 9, 2020 at 10:50 a.m.

    Wallace, good point! LOL

  3. beautiful game, January 9, 2020 at 9:36 a.m.

    This so-called Super Draft has been a joke since day one and will continue to be a joke until it's buried forever. This MLS publicity hype doesn't work.

  4. Ric Fonseca replied, January 11, 2020 at 3:38 p.m.

    Sadly and unfortunately ever since MLS decided to hold a draft, and I remember one in the early "draft years," being nothing other than an opportunity to have various MLS team staff members to get together at the old NSCAA conventions, and of course be a cheering section when their team selected players. 

    What I find depressing is the unfortunate is the imitation of other pro sport drafts they conduct for baseball, football, basketball, their processes and procedures.  And so IMHO, the MLS draft, super or not, is and leaves a lot to be desired, however, and ironically, I prefer to see the MLS conglomerate teams/clubs look for and sign local and US born talent, 'cause, jeepers creepers Robin, methinks we now have an ample "supply" of potential pro players, what with the old ODP, Academies, etc., all it will take is to start beating the bushes, to locate, see compete and eventually sign the "up and coming soccer US-bred/trained young soccer talent." 

    And yeah, MLS is a business and the bottom line is the bottom line, yet something MUST be done to find and recruit/sign local US talent, or it will be the bottom lined-task or objective of the now all too-famous Alianza's Sueno conglomerate, to not only ID local Latino talent for Mexican pro teams, but for MLS as well.  At least the Alianza-Sueno outfit is looking out for its own bottom line, yet it would be interesting to see IF they've ID'd any player who has been "signed" to an MLS team?  Anyone out there have this information???

  5. Tim Shyver, January 9, 2020 at 11:18 a.m.

    EXACTLY. What an absolute joke. 

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