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It’s MLS Draft Week; A few things you should know


Major League Soccer’s draft is unlike some of the other major U.S. sports in one important way:  Whereas professional football and basketball employs the draft as the leagues’ predominant player acquisition tool, it’s just among one of the tools in Major League Soccer.

The international player market and, increasingly, the mechanics of homegrown signings, help stock MLS those rosters.

But the draft does remain an important element in MLS. For instance, 6 of 11 LA Galaxy starters in December’s MLS Cup win were plucked from the draft (although not  necessarily by Los Angeles, originally).

Since we’ll have some draft talk this week, it seems smart to start Monday with a quick sketch of this year event, going on Thursday in Indianapolis.

The run-up: It’s all about the combine, going on right now in Fort Lauderdale. A lot of the names about to be called Thursday are playing in a series of friendlies; most of the deciders (MLS managers, technical directors, sporting directors, GMs, etc.) are there. (Watching NFL playoff games, by the sound of it, but also monitoring the combine matches).

Sitting very, very pretty: Toronto FC has two of the first three picks. They have their own, for stinking so badly in 2012, and Portland’s from 2012 (as part of the trade that sent attacker Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Milos Kocic to Oregon.)

Anyone else sitting pretty?: After Toronto’s first pick, the choices belong to Chivas USA,  Toronto (again), New England and Vancouver. You could do a lot worse than Vancouver, in fact, with the 5th and 10th picks. The entire draft order is here.

Rounds: Just two, so 38 picks overall. Five days later, teams will conduct a supplemental draft, where the occasional gem has been dug up.

TV: Not so much. We talked about that the other day.

Mock drafts?: But of course! Early versions are split on whom TFC will choose first, some leaning toward Furman defender Walker Zimmerman, others wondering if Louisville defender / midfielder Andrew Farrell might be first up.

In “pretty good listener” Klopp, Liverpool has breath of fresh air

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
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In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.

But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.

[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]

In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.

For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”

The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.

And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.

Kreis, Schmid dismiss Messing’s job switch comments

Sigi Schmid
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Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.

If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.

Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.

Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.


“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”

So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.

As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.