Every MLS team has their fair share of draft picks that simply didn’t work out. Maybe they worked out for another team or maybe the player didn’t stick with soccer — it’s just one of those constants of MLS.
With that in mind, we’re going through RSL’s drafting history and taking a critical eye to some of the team’s less fortunate picks.
5. The entire 2011 MLS SuperDraft
In 2011, we drafted exactly one player in the SuperDraft, and it was in the fourth round. That’s because we traded away basically our picks.
- #14: Traded to Chivas USA for allocation
- #22: Traded to Portland Timbers for Arturo Alvarez
- #32: Traded to Sporting Kansas City (along with an international roster spot) for Luis Gil
- #50: Traded in 2008 for Clint Mathis and the 16th pick in 2010
With the 52nd pick, we selected Jarad van Schaik. He was never offered a contract. Sure, most of those trade decisions were justified, but that doesn’t make the actual draft itself any better. Of course, in 2011, the MLS Supplemental Draft went pretty well — we picked up Jeff Attinella, who did really well with us for a good while.
4. Ryan Neil, 2014 - Pick #18, first round
First-round draft picks that end up out of soccer are an oddity of MLS, and it’s hard to be too upset about it when young MLS players are paid less than they would be at a starting-level job for a college graduate. It’s also hard to be mad when a young player sustains a career-threatening injury and ends up out of the game, as Neil did with his ACL.
But Neil didn’t even end up signing at Real Salt Lake. San Jose Earthquakes ended up signing him in March 2014, and he later ended up at LA Galaxy II. This one really didn’t work out for us — or for Neil.
3. Andy Rose, 2012 - Pick #6, MLS Supplemental Draft first round
We drafted Andy Rose then immediately traded him to Seattle Sounders. You know how he repaid us? By scoring a late winner in September 2014. Not cool, Andy Rose. Not cool.
2. Enzo Martinez, 2012 - Pick #17, first round
When you bring in a Generation Adidas player, you expect them to be given a chance to play. Over two years at the club, then-RSL coach Jason Kreis didn’t play him once — not in an MLS match, not in a U.S. Open Cup match. He made some reserve appearances, and he was eventually sent on a short-term loan to Carolina RailHawks, where he was a strong, contributing member of the squad.
Did he deserve to play? It’s hard to say, but one does start to wonder if he should have.
1. Nik Besagno, 2005 - Pick #1, first round
This isn’t really fair. Besagno isn’t even 30 yet. He was 16 when he was selected. In four seasons at the club, Besagno made eight appearances. His personal high was in 2006, when he appeared four times. You simply can’t just hoist expectations on a 16-year-old, and by being picked first — it was hugely unexpected, too — it did that.
Is it any surprise that it didn’t work out? It’s almost like MLS didn’t really learn their lesson with the Freddy Adu saga until a few years later. One person we know that really did learn their lesson? Former RSL coach Jason Kreis,