Who are some of the notable MLS names taken at current Union SuperDraft selections?

A look at former MLS studs taken at Union SuperDraft picks

This week, Major League Soccer will have its annual SuperDraft. It's a opportunity for the top college, developmental and academy players to be for the picking of 19 MLS clubs. As it stood at the time of this report, Philadelphia Union has eight picks in this year’s college draft, four natural selections and four acquired via trade:

  • No. 2: (from Chivas USA)
  • No. 6: (natural)
  • No. 25: (natural)
  • No. 27: (from Chicago)
  • No. 44: (natural)
  • No. 46: (from Toronto-Chicago)
  • No. 52: (from Los Angeles)
  • No. 63: (natural)

Looking back at past drafts, there have been notable names that have been taken at some these same positions. Now, we know the Union draft order could very well change come Thursday at noon as deals are taking place amongst clubs (and certainly never more than during this week), but it’s intriguing to see what names came from some of these selections from the past and where their careers ended up – or for some are still in full swing.

Clint Mathis

Selected No. 6 by Los Angeles in the 1998 MLS College Draft from South Carolina

The skinny: Mathis set a Galaxy rookie record for games played (30 games/15 starts) The year after, Mathis tallied seven goals and six assists in 27 games to finish third on the team in goals scored that year. As a U.S. National Team player, he scored 12 goals in 46 international matches during a seven-year career.

Caleb Porter

Selected No. 2 by San Jose in the 1998 MLS College Draft from Indiana

The skinny: Caleb Porter’s MLS career never really took flight, but he continues to take off in his new role as a coach. He was named the 2013 MLS Coach of the Year after leading Portland to a 14-5-15 (57 points) record and qualified the club for the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time since joining the league in 2011. On the college level, Porter compiled a career mark of 123-18-17 as the head coach at Akron and owned the highest winning percentage (0.832) among all active Division I coaches.

Jay Heaps

Selected No. 2 by Miami (defunct) in the 1999 MLS Draft from Duke

The skinny: Heaps went on to be MLS’ Rookie of the year that season as he led all rookies in minutes played (2,511) and ranked second that year in goals (three), points (seven), and games played (29). Currently in his third season as the head coach of New England’s MLS franchise.  

Danny Califf

Selected No. 6 by Los Angeles in the 2000 MLS Draft from Maryland

The skinny: Califf, a fan favorite among Union faithful appeared in 18 matches (16 starts) for the Galaxy his rookie season. He was a catalyst in Los Angeles’ MLS Cup crown in 2002 and was the first ever captain for the Union in the club’s inaugural season in 2010.

Edson Buddle

Selected No. 27 by Columbus in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft as a Project-40 player

The skinny: Buddle emerged from just being a “project player” into one that became a quality player who earned the opportunity to make the U.S. National Team roster ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Coincidentallly, Buddle's best year was 2010, which was also his first complete season as a Galaxy forward. He netted 17 goals as was named to the MLS All-Star team for the second time in a three year period.             

Taylor Twellman

Selected No. 2 by New England in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft from 1860 Munich (Germany)

The skinny: Twellman was runner-up for the league’s most valuable player honor in his first season with the club and was named scoring champion that season (23 goals, six assists). Twellman’s career was cut down due to recurring concussions and other injuries, but not before scoring 101 goals in an eight year career which ranks fifth all-time in MLS history.

Alejandro Moreno

Selected No. 27 by Los Angeles in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft from UNC Greensboro

The skinny: Moreno is known in these parts for being a former Union forward and last season made his debut as the club’s color analyst on local broadcast, but Moreno put in a solid career in MLS. He played in 222 matches (177 starts) in his regular season career and scored 45 goals adding 35 helpers including the two goals and seven assists he notched playing for the Union.

Brad Guzan

Selected No. 2 by Chivas USA in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft from South Carolina

The skinny: Guzan emerged into one of the top American goalkeeping prospects who plies his trade in the Barclays Premier League for Aston Villa. Stateside, Guzan made 104 saves in 23 matches as a starter for Chivas USA – in his rookie season.

Dax McCarty

Selected No. 6 in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas from North Carolina

The skinny: McCarty has had his best years playing for Red Bull New York, but led Dallas with seven assists his second year on the team. His play with Red Bull last season caught the eye of U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann, who has McCarty currently training with 25 others in contention to represent the United States this summer at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Bakary Soumare

Selected No. 2 by Chicago in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft from Virginia

The skinny: Soumare, a former Union defender found his career to date come full circle after he returned to Chicago last season. It appears the rightful home of a player who appeared in 19 matches for the Fire his rookie season (11 starts) and went on to earn MLS Defender of the Year honors in 2008.

Brek Shea

Selected No. 2 by FC Dallas in the 2008 MLS Superdraft from the U.S. under-17 national team

The skinny: Shea had a breakout year in 2011, one that allowed him to get looks from Europe and end up in the English Premier League playing for Stoke. In 2011, Shea led FC Dallas in goals with 11, four of which were game winners which tied him for first in the league. As a result, Shea was named to the MLS All-Star team, MLS Best XI and was a finalist for league MVP.

Darlington Nagbe

Selected No. 2 by Portland in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft from Akron

The skinny: Nagbe continues to grow in his professional career under his former college coach in Porter, who made this list. In his second season with the club, Nagbe set career highs in games played (33), starts (31), minutes played (2,777) and goals (six), the latter good for second best on the club that season.

Think of someone we may have missed? Start your list or tell us who in the comments below.

Union intern Jesse Geer contributed to this report

Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com