MLS SuperDraft 101: The mechanics of how it all works and what to expect on draft day

A layman's breakdown of what to expect on draft day

The 2013 MLS SuperDraft will take place Thursday in Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center.

For the Philadelphia Union, this means finding a couple of talented players with picks No. 26 and 29. That’s going to be a difficult task, but far from impossible. There are always players overlooked by other clubs for a variety of reasons.

The Union plucked midfielder Michael Farfan with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft. Farfan was an MLS All-Star last season.

Looking for more proof that you can find players with later picks?

Well, the Union took defender Ray Gaddis with the 35th overall selection in last year’s SuperDraft. Not bad, huh?

Just because the Union don’t have a prime pick doesn’t mean they can’t improve their roster.

Before it’s time for the Union to announce their first choice, let’s go through some logistics as to how the SuperDraft works.

The SuperDraft, presented by adidas, will be streamed via philadelphiaunion.com/live in addition to a number of other outlets, including ESPN3, ESPNFC, MLSsoccer.com and YouTube. The first overall selection will be broadcast live on ESPN’s SportsCenter at 12:00 p.m. ET.

The HD broadcast will feature ESPN soccer commentators Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman. They will be joined by members of the MLSsoccer.com editorial team and other guests to discuss all the selections.

The 2013 SuperDraft will include two rounds and 38 overall picks.

The first nine selections are currently held by clubs that did not qualify for the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs in reverse order of regular season finish. The remaining 10 positions currently belong to clubs that were eliminated in the same round of the playoffs in reverse order of regular season finish.

At the time of this post, Toronto FC will pick first and third with Chivas USA going second. The New England Revolution will pick fourth followed by the Vancouver Whitecaps, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, the Montreal Impact and the Columbus Crew. Vancouver will pick again at No. 10.

One of the interesting aspects of the SuperDraft is the Generation adidas class. Even if they didn’t have a strong showing at the MLS Player Combine  – which is the arguable reason of how  Farfan fell to the Union in 2011 – they won’t count against the salary cap. Also, as part of their contract, the college underclassmen can get educational grants to continue their college education.

As for picks No. 26 and 29, let’s take a look at which were players were taken at these spots going back two previous years.

At No. 26 last year, the Columbus Crew picked South Florida defender Aubrey Perry. At No. 29, the Crew picked again and nabbed Central Florida midfielder Kevan George.

In 2011, Toronto FC took Demitrius Omphroy, a defender from the University of California. With the No. 29 pick, the Seattle Sounders drafted Monmouth goalkeeper Brian Meredith.

The beauty of the SuperDraft is the anticipation. The countdown is on for the Union and the rest of the league.

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com