As the calendar has turned to 2016, Major League Soccer’s Regular Season is officially right around the corner. To kick things off, the league’s annual SuperDraft will be held in Baltimore, Md. on Jan. 14, starting at 12 p.m. And with the Union holding two of the top six picks – and three picks in the top 23 – next Thursday’s draft will signify a key opportunity in the club’s history.
Starting this Thursday, however, is the precursor – the MLS Combine. Featuring 60-plus collegiate players available for the following week’s draft, all MLS clubs will be represented in Fort Lauderdale to get a first-hand look at this year’s rookie class.
MLS officially announced that group on Monday. Among the notable names are Brandon Vincent (Stanford), Jonathan Campbell (North Carolina), Keegan Rosenberry (Georgetown), Kyle Fisher (Clemson) and Ben Polk (Syracuse). All of whom are likely first round picks. MLS also split the players up into four teams, who will each play three games while in Florida. The teams are listed here.
Team Ace: Duncan Backus (UCSB-D), Justin Bilyeu (SIU-Edwardsville-D), Jonathan Campbell (North Carolina-D), Zach Carroll (Michigan State-D), Robert 'T.J.' Casner (Clemson-F) Tsubasa Endoh (Maryland-M), Josh Heard (Washington-M), Callum Irving (Kentucky-GK), Darius Madison (UMBC-F), Zach Mathers (Duke-M), James 'C.' Nortey (Marquette-F), Keegan Rosenberry (Georgetown-D), Tyler Thompson (Stanford-M), Taylor Washington (George Mason-D), Todd Wharton (Virginia-M).
Team Chaos: Neco Brett (Robert Morris-F) Paul Clowes (Clemson-M), Liam Doyle (Ohio State-D), Kyle Fisher (Clemson-D), Ryan Herman (Washington-GK), Patrick Hodan (Notre Dame-M), Femi Hollinger-Janzen (Indiana-F), Connor Klekota (Notre Dame-MF), Max Lachowecki (Notre Dame-D), Jordan McCrary (North Carolina-D), Chase Minter (Cal Poly-M), Kyle Parker (Charlotte-F), Michael Salazar (UC Riverside-F), Cole Seiler (Georgetown-D), Keegan Smith (San Diego-F).
Team Control: Tony Alfaro (Cal State-Dominguez Hills-D), Hadji Barry (UCF-F), Colin Bonner (UNC Wilmington-F), Tyler David (Saint Louis-M/D), Ryan James (Bowling Green, M), Jamie Luchini (Lehigh-F), Mitchell Lurie (Rutgers-D), Antonio Matarazzo (Columbia-M), Alex Morrell (North Florida-F), Timo Pitter, Creighton (M/F), Thomas Sanner (Princeton-F) Rodrigo Saravia (Florida Gulf Coast-M), Connor Sparrow (Creighton-GK), Josh Turnley (Georgetown-D), Eric Verso (Stanford-M).
Team X: Emmanuel Appiah (Cincinnati-M), Dennis Castillo (VCU-D), Mikhail Doholis (Oregon State-M), Michael Gamble (Wake Forest-F), Wade Hamilton (Cal Poly-GK), Vincent Keller (Creighton-D/M), Sven Lissek (Furman-GK), Ivan Magalhaes (Maryland-D), Vincent Mitchell (Butler-M), James Moberg (Washington-M), Norberto Ochoa (UC-Riverside-F), Ben Polk (Syracuse-F), Miguel Salazar (Elon-D/M), Mitchell Taintor (Rutgers-M), Brandon Vincent (Stanford-D).
In addition to these players, a select group from the league’s Generation Adidas class will be added on Wednesday. You can read more about the combine here.
This week, PhiladelphiaUnion.com will devote in-depth coverage to the upcoming SuperDraft, including player profiles on possible selections, as well as news and rumors surrounding the draft. Check out our Mock Draft roundup here. Here's the order for the draft's first round. You can view the entire draft here.
|4||New York City FC|
|5||Real Salt Lake|
|6||Philadelphia (via Houston)|
|11||Sporting Kansas City|
|18||New York Red Bulls|
Have you prepped for the 2016 MLS SuperDraft? What players are you hoping the Union select next Thursday? Leave your comment below.