Your Guide to the MLS Super Draft
The MLS offseason is approaching its end and preseason is right around the corner. That means, it’s Super Draft time. The Super Draft takes place on Tuesday January 11th at 3pm and will be streamed on MLS’s various online platforms including YouTube, Twitter, and I assume Facebook too. And I wanted to make sure you were as prepared as possible for the Super Draft this season. So let’s dive in.
First off, the name “Super Draft” is outdated and doesn't really apply anymore. Only college players can be draft, and the “Super” part of the draft’s name came from a time when you were able to draft other professional soccer players not playing in MLS. You can’t do that anymore, which makes MLS’s draft very much not super.
Second off, the draft doesn’t matter. Yes, there’s probably going to be a few players in this draft that go on to doing great things, but predicting them with any accuracy is futile. Frankie Amaya was the consensus number one pick in 2019 when FCC had the first overall pick. LAFC tried to buy that pick off of FCC for $200k to select Amaya. 8 picks later Tajon Buchanan was drafted by New England. Frankie had an okay first few seasons before riding the bench in New York. Tajon Buchanan was an MLS all-star, became a Canadian national team starter, and made a $10 million transfer to a European club. Thems the breaks.
Even if the draft isn’t super and doesn’t matter, is there still a reason or two to half pay attention. For me, it’s hilarious to watch people who have never seen a second of college soccer pretend to know what’s going on. People do this already when a player is signed from like Belgium or Colombia, but college soccer is even funnier given the wild differences in talent, the general inability to watch matches, and how different the game is like, having unlimited subs, for example, I think. I don't actually care. Even if someone watched every single ACC soccer match this past season, they are still blindly guessing how a player is going to turn out. The overwhelming majority of the players drafted will not be playing professionally in 5 years. Random pundits and fans online will be dealing with less info than full MLS scouting departments who routinely miss in the draft. But boy, people sure do love pretending to be experts here.
The other thing to watch for this year is to see if FC Cincinnati makes a reasonable pick. Here’s how you can judge The FC’s pick:
- They pick a Generation Adidas (GA) player. This player is “free” for the first three years as far as the salary cap is concerned, and Cincy’s salary situation could really use a “free” player
- The pick a domestic player. Even if a player is on a GA deal, they can still take up an international spot. And FCC doesn’t have a ton of wiggle-room for international players and if they did go international here, expect them to be loaned out (and then never heard from again).
- They pick a player who plays a position where depth is needed. FCC doesn’t need a winger and doesn’t need a striker. Outside back probably isn’t a major concern either. What you’d want to see is a centerback, a midfielder, or maybe a goalkeeper.
- If you judging any pick outside of the top 15, you’re wasting your time. Unfortunately, FC Cincinnati has always been able to pick in the top 15, so we have to care about these first round picks.
So using this rubric, FC Cincinnati should draft Kip Keller. And if they don’t, it probably doesn’t matter, assuming they don’t break any of those first three rules. The draft is goofy, unnecessary, and might produce a handful of regular starters. Don’t get too excited and have fun with watching it go down while you’re supposed to be working.