SBI MLS Draft Big Board (Version 2.0)

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As we draw to within a month of the 2011 MLS Draft, the action behind the scenes that is shaping the 2011 draft class is getting hot and heavy.

Seniors are already getting their MLS Combine invites while the process to select the players chosen for Generation adidas is well underway.

We're on top of it all and can give you the following tidbits:

I am hearing that the MLS Generation adidas class will be smaller than last year. You could see just eight players signed, a number that combined with Omar Salgado, would give us nine GA players in the draft.

Some top GA targets have either chosen to stay in school or are leaning heavily that way. Notre Dame's Dillon Powers and Duke defender/midfielder Andrew Wenger would both have been Top 10 caliber players, but I've been told both are staying in school.

One top GA target who I hear isn't staying in school is Kofi Sarkodie. If Akron wins the NCAA title we could see Akron dominate the GA list with as many as five players on it.

Matt Kassel (New York Red Bulls) and Ethan White (D.C. United) aren't the only draft targets who could wind up going the Homegrown Player route. Word is the Philadelphia Union are trying to claim Penn State striker Corey Hertzog as a Homegrown Player. That would be a major score considering Hertzog is a first-round talent.

Right now I'm projecting the Generation adidas class to be the following eight players: Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen, Zac MacMath, Kofi Sarkodie, Will Bruin, Darren Mattocks, Zarek Valentin and David Bingham. Of this group, Kitchen and Mattocks are still not quite locks to leave school. If Akron wins the NCAA title, that could change things and both could leave.

Now, without any further delay, here is SBI's second MLS Draft Big Board:

SBI MLS DRAFT BIG BOARD 2.0 (*-Underclassman)

1. *DARLINGTON NAGBE,  Akron, Forward/Midfielder

Speedy and skillful, some think he can be better than Steve Zakuani and Teal Bunbury.

2. *PERRY KITCHEN, Akron, Defensive Midfielder

Just a freshman, and not a lock to leave school, Kitchen is regarded by some as Akron's best long-term pro prospect.

3. *ZAC MACMATH, Maryland, Goalkeeper

Top-flight goalkeeper is a U.S. Under-20 starter.

4. *KOFI SARKODIE, Akron, Right Back

Best attacking fullback to come out of college in years. Another U.S. Under-20 player.

5. *DARREN MATTOCKS, Akron, Forward

Akron's leading scorer is just a freshman, and not a lock to come out, but if he does he's an early first-rounder.

6. OMAR SALGADO, Gen Adidas, Forward

A teenage 6-foot-3 target striker with good feet. Interest in him is growing and he should be a Top Five pick.

7. *WILL BRUIN, Indiana, Forward

Strong striker who has been one of the best finishers in college, he's a safe bet to go high.

8. *ZAREK VALENTIN, Akron, Right Back/Centerback

Still young, but skillful centerback projects to some as a top-notch right back.

9. *DAVID BINGHAM, California, Goalkeeper

There is a growing debate over who is the better pro prospect, Bingham or MacMath. It is unlikely Generation adidas signs two goalkeepers, but Bingham making it a tough decision.

10. *DILLON POWERS, Notre Dame, Midfielder

A star on the U.S. Under-20 national team, he slips on Big Board because of rumors he's staying in school.

11. *COREY HERTZOG, Penn State, Forward

Fast, fearless and a clutch finisher, Hertzog has quietly climbed the charts this fall. Philly Union making a play for him as a Homegrown Player.

12. MICHAEL FARFAN, North Carolina, Midfielder

Arguably the most talented senior in this draft, Farfan is a skilled attacking midfielder.

13. A.J. SOARES, California, Central Defender

Best centerback in the draft, he could be this year's Tim Ream.

14. *ETHAN WHITE, Maryland, Defender

The D.C. United Academy product would be one of the best defensive prospects in the draft, which is why it would be foolish for D.C. United to not sign him and let him enter the draft.

15. *ANDREW WENGER, Duke, Central Defender/Central Midfield

Scouts love his skill, size and versatility, but Wenger seems more likely to stay in school. If he came out, he'd be in Top Ten.

16. *CASEY TOWNSEND, Maryland, Forward

A top-notch prospect two years ago, Townsend had a strong comeback season to earn a place here, though he slips a bit amid rumblings that this year's Generation adidas class will be small.

17. *MATT KASSEL, Maryland, Midfielder

Opinions vary widely on the Red Bull Academy product, but with the Red Bulls expressing interest in signing him to a Homegrown Player deal, Kassel may skip the draft and join New York.

18. ANTHONY AMPAIPITAKWON, Akron, Midfielder

His versatility, quickness and passing touch make him a very attractive prospect.

19. JASON HERRICK, Maryland, Forward

Best senior forward in the draft is mature, quick and a good finisher.

20. JALIL ANIBABA, North Carolina, Defender

An athletic centerback who is 6-feet tall, but still dominates in the air.

21. JUSTIN MERAM, Michigan, Forward

A fearless forward who has shown a great ability to go at and beat defenders, Meram's stock has risen faster in the past month than any player in the nation.

22. COLE GROSSMAN, Duke, Midfielder

Overshadowed by Wenger and Duke forward Ryan Finley, but Grossman has won over his share of scouts.

23. STEVEN MCCARTHY, North Carolina, Midfielder

 A 6-foot-4 central midfielder who scouts have had eye on since his days at Santa Clara.

24. JEFF ATTINELLA, South Florida, Goalkeeper

Third best goalkeeper in the pool, Attinella is a top senior, but may slip late in the draft because teams aren't really looking for GKs in the early rounds.

25. *MICHAEL NANCHOFF, Akron, Left winger

A quality left midfielder who has enjoyed a strong season at Akron, Nanchoff is a GA long-shot who would be in the Top 20 if he were coming out.

26. *MICHAEL TETTEH, UCSB, Left back/Left winger

Scouts drool over the thought of a speedy left back with good attacking qualities, but injuries are a concern and his chances of being signed to a Generation adidas deal are fading.

27. *BRIAN OWNBY, Virginia, Forward

If not for injury concerns, this blazing fast striker would be near the top of the board. At this point he looks like a safer bet to stay in school.

28. DANIEL KEAT, Dartmouth, Midfielder

A polished soccer player with skill and work rate to be effective two-way player.

29. BOBBY WARSHAW, Stanford, Midfielder/Defender

Tough and talented defender who looks more suited to defensive midfield role in MLS.

30. *LUIS SILVA, UCSB, Midfielder

A skillful two-way central midfielder is reportedly on the Generation adidas radar, though my sources tell me that isn't the case. On ability, Silva is probably closer to early to mid-20s.

31. ASHLEY MCINNES, Tulsa, Forward/Midfielder

32. RICH BALCHAN, Indiana, Midfielder


34. AMANI WALKER, Forward, UC-Irvine

35. J.T. MURRAY, Louisville, Defender

36. BRYAN MEREDITH, Monmouth, Goalkeeper

37. ERNESTO CARRANZA, Sacramento State, Forward/Midfielder

38. JOSUE SOTO, SMU, Midfielder

39. EDDIE ABABIO, North Carolina, Defender

40. RYAN KINNE, Monmouth, Forward


 What do you think of this group? Who would you like to see your team draft?

Share your thoughts below.

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78 Responses to SBI MLS Draft Big Board (Version 2.0)

  1. EDB says:

    No Dominic Barone? Thought he was aces for MSU this year

  2. Tim Crawford says:

    Where’s Tony Cascio at?!

  3. Colin says:

    Two Ohio State guys to look for: Konrad Warzycha, son of Crew Coach Robert Warzycha, and central defender David Tiemstra.

  4. Kevin says:

    how can Philly sign a player to a homegrown deal w/o having academy teams???????? Are they claiming he was developed by them? how and when?

    Casico is staying in school

  5. Deuce says:

    Shhhh…A little bird told me… Dempsey to Liverpool…..shhhh

  6. tielor2d says:

    Hertzog played for the Union’s PDL affiliate Reading United AC … It’s a bit of a reach for them to land him, but why not try it

  7. Dennis says:

    Josh Walburn from Princeton. He’s 6’2″ plays both midfield and defense and was second leading scorer for the Ivy Champs, I think they won every game but one in which he played. It does not hurt that his coach and the program are well-respected nationally. He will get a look.

  8. billy says:

    when is the draft?

  9. alex says:

    Not sure why you keep saying opinions vary widely on Kassel. What else does the kid have to do? Obviously he’s respected enough to be a Hermann Trophy finalist as well as the many other accolades he has gathered this year.

  10. Second City says:

    Ives, I’m sure many of us share an extreme curiosity as to how the Union are able to claim a Penn State product as homegrown.

    Reading up on him, I see that he’s from the state of Pennsylvania, so does that make him by virtue homegrown?

    Strikes me as odd.

    I suppose if there is a previous precedent or this becomes one…it would open the door for Columbus to raid Akron or LA/Chivas via UCLA, etc?

    All rather confusing but so goes a majority of our parameters (unfortunately) within MLS guidelines/rules.

  11. DC Josh says:

    Ives, is this your projected draft order, or your ranking of the best available players? Just wondering because DC United has 3rd pick and I cannot see them drafting a goalkeeper.

    (SBI-It’s a Big Board, Not a Mock Draft. That’s pretty clear. Mock Drafts start end of December. And yeah, DC won’t be taking a keeper.)

  12. Thor says:

    Dillion Powers..IF he comes out , has to be in the top 2

    (SBI-Nope, Kitchen and Nagbe are consensus top two right now. I’m a big Powers fan, and have had him as high as No. 3, but there’s a growing belief that he still needs to mature some so another year in college could be good for him.)

  13. Thor says:

    Anybody know if Sonny Saad will be coming out?

    (SBI-Nope. And he’s not ready anyway. I’d project him as a 2013 draft pick.)

  14. Oranje says:

    Man I hope Kitchen and Mattocks decided to stay…

  15. Hokie_Futbol says:

    Josh stop posting.

    just kidding.

  16. matt says:

    Shocking that UofL has one player on the list…at 36. Their coach should get coach of the year for getting so far with relatively limited talent.

  17. I agree. Is the kid a card carrying member of the Sons of Ben? Otherwise, I can’t see it.

  18. I just want to know what Caleb Porter is doing scouting wise to find so many talented players. He is killing everyone with his scouting.

    When DC United was considering Porter for head coach they should have had him in line to run their scouting.

  19. big shooter says:

    No way philly can claim Hertzog. They have no academy and even if they did, there was no way he would have met the requirement of playing for them before entering college since they are only one year old. If NY could not sign Duka last year, how can MLS justify allowing Philly to sign Hertzog? Talk about double standards..

  20. Oranje says:

    Ha my thoughts exactly.

  21. Oranje says:

    It mainly comes from his international scouting. The only American player he got last year was Perry Kitchen. This year the only “big” (and by “big” I mean Academy Select and/or USMNT camps/call-ups) names are Brian Gallego, Will Trapp and DeAndre Yedlin. He has done an outstanding job recruiting international kids (Bunbury, Zakuani, Mattocks, etc.) but a lot of American kids slip through his fingers.

  22. catfish says:

    If Union get Hertzog, then Crew should get Valentin and all the other Akron guys who played their last summer.

  23. b says:

    January 13, 2011
    Noon EST, Baltimore MD

  24. Brian D says:

    Stop talking up Meram- we need him to kick field goals for the other football team next year!

  25. Carl says:

    Version 2.0 for 2010 had what ended up being top 4 picks in the top 5 spots, though in the wrong order. Even with a small n-value, I’d predict that the top of the draft looks pretty similar to what Ives has got

  26. Carl says:

    Then again Tim Ream wasn’t on it and players ranked 6-15 from 2.0 in 2010 have all had pretty limited playing time

    (SBI-Carl, thanks for taking a peak back. It made me look back at the 2010 Big Boards. if you really want to get a sense of how my Big Board ended up doing, look at my final Big Board, which came BEFORE the Combine (5.0). Considering the purpose of the Big Board is to provide a gauge of not only player value, but how scouts are seeing them, I would say that I crushed it. The top four, 12 of the top 16, 17 of the top 22 (with one of my misses being Sean Johnson, who clearly should have gone higher, and all five of those misses were drafted). I even had Tim Ream on my Big Board at 33. I’d love to see how others match up to those results, and I’d say it will be VERY tough to match that performance. I will definitely try.

    link to

  27. Seth Brokekicker says:

    Ha, my thoughts exactly

  28. Calogero says:

    I’d like more info on the Corey Hertzog story. It seems there are a lot of facts missing – what’s going on here?

  29. Calogero says:

    Reading United is a Player Development Partner of the Philadelphia Union MLS team. For more information about Reading United AC, visit

    I’m not sure whether he played for Reading AC before attending Penn State or not, and whether that matters. Anyone know?

  30. Ben says:

    What guys from the Big East do you guys think could be drafted?

  31. Scud says:

    FYI: 39. JOSUE SOTO, SMU, Midfielder

    Houston Dynamo Academy < Likely a Home Grown Signing

  32. wilyboy says:

    DC should pick up Salgado, let the chips fall as they may.

  33. john says:

    Ives. I don’t understand why Levi Houapeu isnt on the list. He will show at the combine that he absolutely belongs, even coming from a school like UMBC. I’d take him over Meram without question. Thought?

    (SBI-I actually thought I put Houapeu on my list. He’s definitely on the radar. I’d bet on him being on the next Big Board.)

  34. asdf says:

    Ives, what do you think of Kelyn Rowe from UCLA and Colin Rolfe from Louisville?

    (SBI-Rolfe will be a quality prospect for the 2012 draft while Rowe could be knocking on the door for a Generation adidas deal that same year, though I’d be more inclined to bet on 2013.)

  35. Answer says:

    He played for their organized youth teams this summer in some competitions, that’s how.

  36. Answer says:

    He represented them over the summer in some youth tournaments and played for their Union’s PDL affiliate, Reading Rage. That’s how.

  37. Answer says:

    Not all good college players project to be pro players. You don’t get that?

  38. Answer says:

    Who needs the American players when he has proven to be the best coach in the nation without them. He’s U.S. Soccer’s golden boy right now. Will be coaching the national team by 2022.

  39. Answer says:

    Yes, he did.

  40. Dennis says:

    I’ll second that, without him UMBC was average. With his skill and speed, they were a formidable counter-attack threat capable of beating other teams despite a lack of possession.

  41. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Also possible small changes were made to the rules in the CBA.

  42. Dennis says:

    Nah, I was never that good.
    Walburn was also one of 3 unanimous All-Ivy selections along with Keats from Dartmouth, who did make Ives list, and Hoppenot who was the player of the year in the Ivy, but is a junior and will return to PU.

  43. thomas mcbooglebones says:

    What’s the story on Nagbe? Is he a potential USMNT player? Saw an interview with him where he sounded like he’s spent his whole life in the states, but if i’m remembering correctly his dad represented Libya. Just wandering if this has been discussed.

  44. Jack says:

    Any word on Cody Arnoux (sp?) who Vancouver signed (or attempted to sign). I thought I read that Vancouver was circumventing the rules on his signing, and that he’d likely have to go through the superdraft.

  45. 12310431824312 says:

    Ives do you think the Revs will get Omar Salgado or will they go for a defender like Soares after their terrible defensive season last year?

  46. nebraskacoog says:


    Do you think the Dynamo wil exercise their homegrown player rights with Soto from SMU?

  47. 12310431824312 says:

    Is that Chris Rolfe’s brother

  48. DirtyLeeds says:

    I’m no scout by any means but from what I’ve seen of Dillon Powers this year he should go pro. Just look at his contemporaries on the u-20 team and you can see that he’s almost the odd man out and will be by the time that the draft comes around. Time to step up and play with the big boys, especially with the reserve league coming back.

  49. Billy says:

    Why not just have an AKRON MLS TEAM?? What a joke..Total east coast bias.

    (SBI-I’m pretty sure this guy is kidding. You’re kidding right? I consult with scouts/personnel people from all over the country, so if you’re serious about my so-called East Coast bias that’s pretty laughable.)

  50. Alex says:

    Riiiiight, its not cause Akron has had one of the most successful college teams, and have developed and graduated quite a few pros right? Its totally cause Ives is one the east coast……

  51. Second City says:

    So a few games over the summer in a tournament?


  52. will says:

    Bunbury went to shattuck st-mary’s in Minnesota, so i don’t think labeling him as an international recruit is really accurate. He has Canadian citizenship, but spent most of his formative years-at least from age 13 on- in the US. Zakuani and Mattocks certainly were international recruits, but Porter absolutely gets some of the best American players. Case in point: Sarkodie, Valentin, Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Blair Gavin were all national team players.

  53. will says:

    No, it actually isn’t. They have no relation to one another. He grew up in Michigan, while chris Rolfe grew up in Ohio. they just happen to share the same last name.

  54. RFCSean says:

    Regarding Corey Hertzog, he’s played for Reading Rage/Reading United through his high school days at Antietan High School in Reading and on through his college days at Penn State. Last December, Reading Rage rebranded as Reading United AC as part of a player development agreement with the Philadelphia Union. This partnership has brought a very talented crop of players to Reading, including Andrew Wenger and Levi Houapeu, also on Ives’ list. Corey’s been a vital part of several Reading teams that have had tremendous success in the USL PDL division over the past few summers. Corey has definately pulled on a Reading jersey more than a few times. He’s about as home grown as any player could be for any team.

  55. tomas says:

    I think you will see warshaw in the top 10 after the mls combine. I think playing at stanford hurt him a little.

  56. EDB says:

    Don’t often see people complain about ohio and east coast bias.. i usually hear mistake on the lake, or whats worse hell or ohio, ohio end joke here..

  57. Ne-Dub says:

    I heard they were cousins….

  58. PSPTim says:

    Hertzog is from Reading, PA – came up through the Reading Rage academy. Reading Rage (PDL) changed their name to Reading United and signed as the exclusive affiliate of the Union this past spring. I think that is the (or one of) the route(s) they are trying to argue it. Might be a bit of stretch if thats the argument, and it could have ripple effects for rules on player development.

  59. jonny says:

    Ives, what do you think about scott rojo from high point university?

  60. KevDC says:

    Yeah, but they were not the Union’s academy during the vast majority of that time, so why should the Union be allowed to claim him as homegrown when they didn’t “grow” him? It’s claiming credit for work done that was completely unrelated to their club.

  61. SethDoesn'tKnow says:

    This is a little off topic but, what happened to Chris Agorsor? Carlos Martinez? I know Agorsor had a devastating injury but was trying to bounce back. I know Martinez was trying to find a club overseas but seems to have disappeared. Anyone know?

  62. b says:

    Close, Liberia not Libya. No idea if he’s a US citizen or potential USMNT player, hopefully someone else can answer that…

    “His father, Joe, is a former captain of the Liberian full national team”

  63. b says:

    I blame ESPN and their constant coverage of Lebron James for this list being biased in favor of Akron!

  64. b says:

    That’s like the 13th floor. Trust me, you do NOT want prospect number 11.

  65. Lorax Jr. says:

    How many years have the Union been a club? So how many years have they had an academy? Should all expansion teams get punished for the homegrown rule because they’re new? Although I guess this won’t apply to Vancouver and Portland as they already have academies.

    If Hertzog was just a guy who happens to be from the eastern Pennsylvania region and the Union laid a claim on him is one thing. But, the fact the club didn’t even exist until last year and that they signed agreements with two teams in the area as official affliates and the fact that Hertzog has played and continued to play for one of these official affliate teams is about as homegrown as you’re going to get from a club with no history at all.

    MLS will of course make the final decision on whether he is or isn’t a homegrown player, but I don’t think that they are grasping at straws at all in trying to claim him as a homegrown player based on the club’s lack of history and the role that Hertzog played in that short history.

  66. Of course, if Akron makes it to the College Cup Final, not win, just make it there, that will be two years running for a program that ten years ago wasn’t even on the map. American players will go, particularly when Akron keeps placing players in the top 20 of the draft.

  67. Well, let’s assume that Porter’s success is just international scouting, my point is also that he seems to have an eye for talent that should be considered by more MLS teams.

    I don’t know what he looks at, but maybe, just maybe some MLS teams and U.S. Development Academy should be talking to him more about what Porter looks for in a player.

  68. Union says:

    Did any of these Akron kids play club for a Columbus Crew PDL team? If so, then go for it.

    The Hertzog situation is pretty simple, Reading is PDL team for the Union.

  69. Union says:

    What an intelligent answer

  70. Almost positive, Nagbe is a US citizen. He grew up in the area and is from Lakewood Ohio.

    (SBI-Not the case. Nagbe has had some immigration status issues, ones that probably kept him out of last year’s draft. From what I’m hearing he’s still dealing with immigration status issues, but MLS is working hard to address them.)

  71. ben says:

    Yea. I’m a little disappointed to see that a kid that led the nation in assists didn’t even get a sniff.

  72. AdamFromMich says:

    My opinion, from watching a few MSU games this season, is that they had a bunch of good players, but no great ones. Barone looked like one of their best players, but probably not in the top 40 nationwide. However, I don’t watch a lot of college soccer, so I could easily be wrong.

  73. Freddy Adu says:

    ahem, guys?…….AHEM

    over here

  74. KevDC says:

    (1) “Affiliates” are not MLS academies, and (2) of course expansion teams should not be punished for their lack of history but they also shouldn’t be rewarded.

    I think the Union is certainly “grasping at straws” with this. It’ll be interesting to see how the league rules.

  75. Chris says:

    Ives, what about Soony? He had about as good a freshman season as one could ask for, so where does he go from here?

  76. Mike says:

    i only quickly scanned through the article, but im not seeing much mention of Louisville except for Rolfe. Them reachin the final and all, who from their squad might be a consideration now for this draft? (not a Louisville student or alumni!)

  77. sal amerire says:

    Eddie Ababio will turn quite a few heads at the combine. Geting some hits out of Germany as well.