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Sights and sounds around Thursday's MLS SuperDraft and NSCAA Convention

If this year’s MLS SuperDraft was a stressful time for the Union technical staff, you wouldn’t know it.

Cool, calm and collected the group spearheaded by head coach Jim Curtin, waited patiently until its natural No. 31 pick in the draft to select forward Dzenan Catic .

Courtesy of technical director Chris Albright’s connections, the Union had great knowledge of its final pick of the day in Eric Bird, a midfielder coming off a national championship at Albright’s alma mater, Virginia.

Now that the draft has wrapped, we can tell you that in speaking to Curtin and Co. the group was high on defender Otis Earle, who ultimately went in the first round at No. 15 to FC Dallas. However, the sentiment was that while Earle is a fine talent moving up and spending allocation dollars in the six figure range was not the smartest use of funds.

But in Catic, the Union got a player that Curtin called “a kid with an amazing back story and extremely humble. It certainly was the case once his name was called as Catic sobbed “tears of joy” as he went to the podium and needed a minute to collect his thoughts before being introduced to media. We’ll be sure to follow up with the complete skinny on Catic as in speaking with him it's very evident that his story is quite remarkable.

The sights and sounds of the draft this year, were, well…pretty tame. This isn’t referring to the buildup around the draft which is always an exciting time complete with all the pomp of the pre-draft march in from the team supporters, the ceremonial “booing” of League commissioner Don Garber and all the notables in attendance.

The other big story of the day was the official introduction of forward CJ Sapong, who arrived in Philadelphia today and did a round table of interviews, and social media takeovers on SnapChat and Twitter.

 

We can tell you now that Sapong will fit right in. Speaking of fit, he told Curtin today that he’s feeling “100 percent” and read y to get preseason underway.

Which of course was music to everyone’s ears.

Later this week, we’ll have more in-depth looks at our pair of draft picks and additional information on what happens next as preseason for the Union kicks off in less than two weeks at YSC Sports in Wayne.

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

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