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My thoughts on the MLS Draft

So I am not a big fan of the MLS draft as I posted earlier this week, but it is the American way to do things, so you have to deal with it.  I unlike a lot of people will not spend hours and hours pouring over details of potential players, and do mock drafts, because I simply don't believe that the draft matters that much.

But isn't the draft how teams get players?  Not really, if you look at the drafts from the last 4 years here are your #1 picks:

  • 2009- Steve Zakuani- Seattle Sounders FC - a solid pick and he had a great first year, but will it continue he took a lot of players and teams by surprise early in the season but tailed off during the long MLS season.
  • 2008-Chance Myers-Kansas City- who?  After starting 6 matches and playing in 10 in 2008, Chance saw only 165 minutes of playing time in 2009 and all off the bench
  • 2007-Maurice Edu-Toronto FC- Edu showed great quality for TFC, enough that he is gone and now part of the Rangers roster in the SPL, after two solid years with TFC.
  • 2006-Ma rvell Wynne-New York-Marvell is a quality player but not for New York he was traded to Toronto FC after his first year.
So only the 2009 pick made an impact for the team that drafted him last year, while two saw regular action in MLS and two of them where non factors in MLS.

But it is more than just that, let's look at the 2006 first round picks after the jump

The first round of 2006 did see a number of players turn into stars in MLS, but let's take a look at all 12 first round picks and their impact in 2009:


  • Marvell Wynne- New York- As I said above Marvell is a quality player and major part of TFC, but not for the team that picked him New York.
  • Medhi Ballouchy- Real Salt Lake- Medhi was a regular starter for RSL until he was traded to Colorado for Kyle Beckerman.  Medhi scored 2 goals and had 7 assists for Colorado in 2009 and was a big part of their team, but again not for the team that drafted him, at least not directly.
  • Jason Garey- Columbus- a role player for the Crew, Jason is a RSL killer as 3 of his 4 goals in 2009 came against RSL.
  • Yura Movsisyan- Kansas City- Yura scored 8 goals and had 2 assists for RSL in 2009 and was a big part of the Real Salt Lake run that resulted in winning the MLS Cup, but again his impact wasn't for the team that drafted him.
  • Sacha Kljestan-Chivas- While Sacha has developed into a star for his club and a regular part of the USMNT, I would say he is the player from 2006 that has made the biggest impact for his team.
  • Dax McCarty-FC Dallas- Dax had 3 goals and 6 assists for Dallas in 2009 and has also gotten some attention by the USMNT.  He is a mainstay in the FCD starting 11.
  • Justin Moose- DC United- He played a total of 999 minutes for DC United, and he last played for Vancouver in the USL
  • Patrick Ianni- Houston- Patrick played 1,102 minutes in 2009 with a goal and two assists for Seattle, who picked him up in a trade as they filled out their roster before the start of the 2009 season.
  • Kei Kamara- Columbus- He started the year with Houston and despite having 5 goals and an assist for the Dynamo in 2009 he was traded to Kansas City, where he added one more goal.
  • Calen Carr- Chicago- 90 minutes in 2009, no starts, no goals, and no assists.
  • Leanardro de Oliveira- New England- No idea, he wasn't a part of MLS in 2009
  • Nathan Sturgis- LA Galaxy -Seattle took Nathan in the Expansion draft and he saw a total of 440 minutes of action for Seattle, with no goals and no assists in 2009.
If you look at the other rounds, a couple names stick out Ryan Johnson was the 26th pick for RSL but in 2009 he was on the San Jose roster and scored 11 goals and had 2 assists. A few others are still playing and in the league but perhaps the best pick in the 2006 draft was a young kid (16 years old) taken with the 17th pick by New York Josmer Altidore.  Jozy has become a regular for the USMNT, and is playing in the EPL for Hull City, where he is on loan from Spainish side Villarreal.  He has played in 15 matches for Hull City so far this season.

So how many players are making an impact in MLS, a good number, but only 2 are really doing it for the team that drafted them, the others have been traded or released and found their success with other teams.  It is really the same thing for the 1st round picks of 2007 where only half the players are even still with the team that drafted them.

This is why I think the draft is fairly pointless, most of the players picked by a team will unlikely be with the same team in 3-4 years and of the first round picks only a handful will pay dividends for the team that drafted them.  Yes it will continue, yes with the current system and structure it is the best way to allocate young players, no it isn't very effective in the long run.

So while I will watch the draft to see where players land, and who Real Salt Lake will be able to find with their picks, but I don't expect too much of the players RSL will get, this will be the first time the league has 16 picks in the first round.  Former #16 picks include; 2005- Ryan Pore, 2006- Lance Watson, 2007- Robbie Findley, 2008- Eric Brunner, and 2009- Evan Brown.  Hmm, Robbie Findley # 16 to the LA Galaxy, thank goodness so many players find success with teams other than the one that drafts them.