The sixteenth edition of the annual SuperDraft is just around the corner. On January 15 in Philadelphia, 20 MLS franchises will select players' rights from college graduates or players who have otherwise been signed by the league - via mechanisms like the MLS Player Combine (how Joao Plata was signed by the league) and the Caribbean Combine. Originally formed in 2000, the SuperDraft became the flagship draft when the MLS College Draft and the MLS Supplemental Draft were combined to ensure strict uniformity.
The draft consists of four rounds in which each club has a selection based upon their performance the previous year - similar to the NFL draft which is ironic being Commissioner Garber was witness to it for 16 years as part of their league. The first two rounds of the draft will take place in person on January 15, 2015. The last two rounds of the draft - replacing the defunct MLS Supplemental Draft - will be held via conference call on January 20, 2015.
The SuperDraft format has remained constant throughout its history however, in 2015, two new expansion clubs will be joining the lead and thus inevitably obtaining the first two picks of each round. A "Priority Draft" was conducted in September in which Orlando City received the overall first selection and New York City received second. Non-playoff clubs will receive the next picks in reverse order of their standing in the season point's table. Teams that made the MLS Cup Playoffs will similarly be reversely ordered by the round in which they were eliminated getting the next picks. The final selections will be made by the MLS Cup finalists with the winners given the last selection, and the runners-up receiving the penultimate pick.
This draft will be a little bit different than drafts in recent times, however. With Chivas USA being contracted at the conclusion of last season, the league announced that all draft picks held by Chivas have be erased with the exception of previous draft trades with Chivas being honored. This announcement will affect both the 2015 and 2016 SuperDrafts.
Traded Chivas draft selections that will be honored will be pick number 6 and 27 with Chivas' natural third- and fourth-round selections being omitted from the draft. The sixth selection will be made by Toronto FC who acquired the pick from Chivas in 2013 for the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order used to obtain former USMNT defender Carlos Bocanegra. The Sounders will retain the 27 selection after another trade with the now defunct Chivas in 2013
Despite being an international league with teams in both Canada and the United States, only players from the American college sports systems (i.e., the NCAA) are eligible to be drafted into the MLS — with the exception of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who is a member of the NCAA. This fact has spurred the Canadian university sports organizations to petition the MLS on numerous occasions but to no avail.
For the Claret-and-Cobalt, the 2015 SuperDraft will consist of three selections. RSL's first selection will be the 16th pick in the first-round. RSL will then wait until January 20th for the 57th selection before picking up another player's rights after sending their 37th second-round pick to Toronto in return for Joao Plata. Real Salt Lake's final selection will be the 77th pick to round off this year's SuperDraft.