The 2009 MLS Draft has come and gone and while it didn't boast the myriad of trades we thought there would be, there was still plenty of action.
For those of you who haven't seen it, here is my piece on ESPN.com on some of the deals that almost took place. Also, here is my ESPN.com piece with the MLS Draft grades for all 15 teams. Looking back at the grades I think I can say now, a few days later, that I probably could have given some better grades to New England and KC. The Revs deserved a B+ while the Wizards' draft could have earned a C+.
I was able to answer some of your questions on the draft, but will look to answer more of them later today.
Here are some of your draft questions answered:
DAMIIANO RPB– What team scored the best marks at the draft in your opinion? Cheers!
IVES– I would say Toronto, LA and D.C. United were the three clear winners, but other teams such as Chicago and New England did well.
ISAAC– Thanks for the site Ives. Kissing Suzy Kolber can kiss my…..whatever Anyways, my question is what player, whether they were at the draft, combine, or just were a good player during college soccer, do you see being the next U.S. National team star?
IVES– That’s a tough one because none of the 2009 MLS Draft players can be projected to be a national team star right now. If we’re talking about which of these kids could be an impact player at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil I would say the three players I would put some money on possibly being there in five years are Jeremy Hall, Rodney Wallace and Peri Marosevic.
MARK– Can you name which 2009 MLS draftees you see as likely future USMNT prospects?
IVES– See above
RICHARD, UK– Do you see any clubs inviting Yohance Marshall, Calum Angus and David Hertel to tryout in the pre-season? Basically, coveted players who had a lousy combine.
IVES– I’m still trying to figure out how Hertel slipped. I think Angus was a victim of his international status (along with a not so great Combine). Marshall should get a look froms somebody and I will be working to find out where those three players are going as soon as possible.
CHARLIE N.- Through your blog as well as the rest of the blogesphere we all know who were the top prospects. In your opinion was there one player who, although drafted late, seemed to have a huge upside?.. As always thanks for the info (TFTI).
IVES– Late picks who could wind up being real finds? Here are some:
EDB– Does Baggio count as a international? Also, there is talk of converting him to a d-mid, what are your thoughts on that, and who you compare him to in that role?
IVES– Baggio Husidic has a green card so he shouldn’t count as an international. As for him as a D-mid, I can see him playing as a holding midfielder. He passes well out of the back and could probably do a good job of controlling the game from deeper in midfield.
PAUL– How was the atmosphere at the convention NON-DRAFT related? What is update on St. Louis expansion — do they have enough money yet? Lastly, Preki, Dooley & Earnie all deserve to be in the HOF immediately! cheers.
IVES– I’m afraid to say I wasn’t able to partake in any of the convention. St. Louis is still faced with the same questions about its ownership group, which has to be frustrating to Jeff Cooper and Co. And I agree on Preki, Dooley and Stewart.
ARKJAYBACK– Is there really a long term future for the "Super"Draft? It provides a lot of hype, but not near as much impact as the NBA and NFL drafts. Just a thought on a whim, but what if it was merely a glorified press conference where MLS teams announce all of their signing from college, within the league, and from outside? Maybe a "signing day" for MLS "prospects" . . ? I think most fans would rather see college players and US internationals negotiate with teams themselves instead of it depending on draft and allocation positions. Players would talk with different teams and announce who they sign with on this day. MLS could get to keep one of its marquee annual events, but it would become higher profile and have more of an impact . . .
IVES– Never going to happen Jay. And comparing the MLS Draft to NBA or NFL drafts just isn’t fair. The better comparisons are the MLB or NHL Drafts, where players come in mostly still needing development but also providing the quality prospects the league needs to keep going. Yes, over time, team academies will take on a bigger role in player development, but for the foreseeable future, the MLS Draft still has a place and still is important to MLS.
BLAKE– Which of the draftees do you see becoming guys with interest in Europe (aside from the obvious like Tracy and Grella)?
IVES– Stefan Frei looks like a lock to be a European transfer in the next three years. It is still to early to tell for the rest of the draftees.
JSJ– What drafted player will make the biggest impact in their rookie season?
IVES– Sam Cronin, Chris Pontius, Michael Lahoud, Jeremy Hall and Brad Ring are five I can see making big impacts as rookies.
LANDIS– I'm surprised that Dave Hertel didn't get drafted, any reason why? Did RSL waste there first rounder on Alexandre?
IVES– I am still trying to figure that one out Landis. It’s a real puzzler because he looked like a legit left back prospect. I wouldn’t say RSL wasted the pick because Alexandre has some potential, but I do think they
ANTHONY– What percent% of those drafted do you think will start or get considerable time for the 2009 MLS season? And whom will make out to be an "immediate" impact for their team? My guess is 20% and Rodney Wallace for DCU.
IVES-Well, if 60 players were drafted then that means you have 12 players getting considerable time. That’s not a bad estimate. As for immediate impact players, I think Chris Pontius is a better bet than Wallace. I’d say Pontius, Sam Cronin, Jeremy Hall and Omar Gonzalez are all players who should get major minutes.
TOM FROM SYRACUSE– Which of these drafted players will eventually make an impact on the USMNT? Assuming any of them have the potential to do so, how long until we can expect to see it happen? Great site Ives!
IVES– There’s no way of knowing Tom. I tried projecting a few above, but nobody is THAT close from this group. I’d say we’re probably looking at players who will be in the 2014 mix in the 2009 class so look for this group’s standouts to start challenging for national team playing time in two years or so.
BOB– With Dallas picking up 2 Forwards in the draft, does that put a lock on Cooper leaving within the year?
IVES– I wouldn’t go that far. I think Brian Shriver projects as a winger and Marosevic is just 19 so he’s not someone who needs to be stepping in and playing right away. That said, I do think Cooper will leave after the 2009 season.
JUAN– It's looking good for Miami for 2010. When do you think MLS will announce?
IVES– Good question. I’d say MLS expansion announcements should come in the next week or two.
FIREPOWER– How do you think the Fire did in the draft and did they get what they needed? Any chance of hearing the speech delivered by Jata?
IVES– I think Chicago made out like bandits. They started the day with a late second-round pick and parlayed the rights to Matt Pickens into a six-figure allocation and a better pick they used to grab Baggio Husidic, who could wind up being one of the steals of the draft. I also liked their late picks in Sias and Elisabetarson.
STEVE– How much longer will the draft have much relevance? In other words, when do you think the club youth academies will filter most of the best prospects before they would get to the draft?
IVES– Considering teams still aren’t exactly tapping into their youth academies I would say the draft still has several years of relevancy, and will always play some role because there will always be top college talent that isn’t affiliated to any MLS teams. The notion that 16-20 MLS teams can filter all the talent in the USA and Canada into their academies is a bit unrealistic. That will never happen.
ONLY1KEANO– What are the odds we'll see Jeremy Hall in a starting role for RBNY come opening day?
IVES– I think Juan Carlos Osorio would prefer to bring Hall along slowly so I would say the odds of Hall starting on day one at about 20 percent.
WILLIAM– Was UCLA's midfielder Michael Stephens offered a GA contract; if not, why not?
IVES– He was not offered a contract despite wanting to come out this year. Why not? Apparently MLS felt that they only needed one playmaker in the Generation adidas class and Baggio Husidic was that player. The bigger crime was that MLS decided to sign Daniel Cruz to a Generation adidas contract rather than Stephens, who would have been a late first-rounder to early second-rounder at worst, while Cruz fell to the third round.
HINCHA TIM– Do you think with expansion draft coming up next year and the years after that the fact that Gen Adidas are exempt are (or should be) taken into consideration when drafting (especially with smaller rosters) since you can basically protect more players? Same question with International vs. domestic? By the way, I agree with your assessment exactly on the RSL draft of Alexandre. Why didn't they draft Frei and use him or one of their other keepers as trade bait? They did not have a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but they probably could have picked him up from the team that did draft him for next to nothing (a lot less than they would have gotten for Frei in a trade).
IVES– Teams are supposed to be limited to the number of Generation adidas players they have on a roster (FC Dallas, which now has six after the 2009 MLS Draft, had its older Generation adidas players grandfathered through so it has six instead of four). I think Gen adidas kids are always going to be valuable commodities, for a variety of reasons including the one you mentioned. Yes Tim, I feel like Garth Lagerwey and Jason Kreis missed a great chance to score some value. I am absolutely convinced that Jean Alexandre would have been available in the mid to late second round, if not later.
That's all for now. I will try to answer some more later today, but Tuesday is looking more likely (along with some of the regular Q&A). Feel free to share your thoughts on the above Q&A in the comments section below.