The top picks from this year's MLS SuperDraft
The GIST: Just one week after Clemson hoisted the national championship trophy, the NCAA’s stars set their sights on an even bigger stage — yesterday’s MLS SuperDraft. Of the 400 eligible players, only 87 received a call-up from the pros.
- The SuperDraft isn’t as crucial to MLS as other leagues’ drafts, as pro teams typically bolster their rosters with talent developed through their youth academies, not the collegiate circuit. But for NCAA stars who earn a pick? It’s a BFD.
How it works: MLS structures their three-round draft just like other major pro leagues: Each team makes one pick per round in an order determined by last season’s performance (from worst to best unless there are trades).
- Selected players can head straight to the big leagues, be sent to develop in the MLS NEXT Pro league, or remain in college to sharpen their skills. Players who choose to return to college never reenter the draft, but hope to sign later with the team that picked ’em.
- In the past, only seniors and college grads were draft-eligible — but this year, eligibility expanded to include sophomores and juniors too. There are only two exceptions: freshmen Generation adidas class members, who are just too good to keep from the league.
The picks: With the No. 1 overall pick, Toronto FC selected Lipscomb redshirt junior forward Tyrese Spicer, a first-team All-American and semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy (soccer’s MVP award). Georgetown led all schools with six picks (including two sophomores), an accomplishment that could make it difficult for next season’s Hoyas to replicate this year’s success.
Reigning NCAA champ Clemson lost only three players to the draft, but those losses leave huge cleats to fill: The Houston Dynamo FC picked senior midfielder Ousmane Sylla, a MAC Hermann finalist with a laundry list of accomplishments, in the second round.