Following up on the previous ProSoccerTalk post, a few notes on which MLS drafts and draftees from the last five years are still worth talking about:
Philadelphia’s most recent three drafts have the possibility of forming a solid Union backbone over the coming years. From 2010 came Danny Mwanga (the top overall selection), U.S. under-23 Amobi Okugo and young attacker Jack McInerney (still only 19 years old). Kyle Nakazawa, now with L.A., also came out of that Union draft class. In 2011, Peter Nowak selected goalkeeper Zac MacMath (now past his early 2012 butterflies) and Michael Farfan. (And you could note that that drafting Michael Farfan was a huge boost in eventually signing his brother, Gabriel Farfan, who has a starting role at PPL Park.) Then in 2012, the Union took promising UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman, who is already taking some of Mwanga’s minutes.
Just because officials from a team have drafted well, that doesn’t mean the club necessarily did as well in holding and cultivating that talent. For instance, officials at D.C. United demonstrated a keen eye for talent in 2009. From that draft emerged a budding star (Chris Pontius) and three MLS starters/quality reserves (Milos Kocic, Rodney Wallace and Brandon Barklage). Only Pontius remains at RFK, however.
The best run of recent drafts, combined with ability to retain and nurture that talent? From 2008 to 2010, Sporting Kansas City turned up the highly useful likes of Teal Bunbury, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Chance Myers. Bunbury is one of the first off the bench for the Eastern leaders, while the others are starters. Over those same three drafts, FC Dallas pulled Brek Shea, George John and Zach Loyd, who represent a big part of order at FC Dallas Stadium.
Over a three-year stretch from 2009-2011, New England Revolution draft picks who stuck around to contribute (to varying levels) at Gillette Stadium included Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Zack Schilawski, Zak Boggs, A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy.
In the 5-year and 3-year draft performance rankings on the previous post, one gem could significantly improve a team’s spot in the order. New York, for instance, hasn’t performed spectacularly over the last few years. But Tim Ream (pictured), who rose quickly to U.S. international status and then to EPL transfer target, was a terrific get.