Just returned from my third College Cup, and must say that this one was better than the previous two. We had four worthy teams, some good stories, and some talented players, some of whom we will see in the 2011 MLS season.
While I didn’t see anyone who reminded me of Danny Mwanga this weekend in Santa Barbara, I did see some players who could be good at the next level.
Two of those players play for the champion Akron Zips, forward Darlington Nagbe and right back Kofi Sarkodie. I would expect both of those players to be in the top ten, and closer to top five than bottom five in the January SuperDraft.
Akron actually have several other underclassmen who would become potential draft choices if they decide to leave school early. I’m putting central defender Zarek Valentin and midfielder Michael Nanchoff into that category. Nanchoff might have been the most impressive player to watch this weekend in terms of looking ready for the next level. The left-footed midfielder seemed to have a good touch, good awareness and skill. Both his dad and uncle were former Akron All-Americans and ex-professional players in the older version of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
For the upcoming SuperDraft, the Union currently have the fifth pick and no other first-rounders. They are not in the same position as a year ago when they had those three first-round picks.
Assuming Philadelphia holds on to this pick, at number five they may just go for the best player available as opposed to selecting for a particular position. In either case, there should be a very good player available at number five.
Last year, Mwanga was an outstanding Rookie of the Year candidate, but the team also received good contributions from other first-round picks Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney. A third-rounder Kyle Nakazawa also played some meaningful minutes. Second-round selection Toni Stahl did not play much in 2010, but remains a part of the roster.
Union fans can’t expect the same out of this draft because there is only one first-round pick, as of this moment.
Knowing the way the Union scout the colleges, and seeing just some of the available talent this weekend at the College Cup, I am anxious to see Philly’s choice as well as who goes number one overall.
Full season ticket plans are on sale now for the 2011 season! CLICK HERE for more information on becoming a Union season ticket holder.