The 2018 MLS SuperDraft is Friday, January 19. What is the SuperDraft? The MLS SuperDraft is held every January and allows MLS teams to sign players from college. Sounds familiar right? Like NFL? Well, kind of. The first SuperDraft was held in 2000. The draft is divided into four rounds in which each club has a selection. The team with the least amount of points from the previous season gets to pick first. So it’s like the NFL in that it tries to bring a competitive balance by helping the weaker teams. Being a new franchise, Nashville SC or Inter Miami should have the first two picks in the MLS 2020 SuperDraft. Freddy Adu, Michael Bradley, Nick Rimando, Alan Gordon, and Cyle Larin to name a few are all former draft picks. While there has been plenty of quality players to come thought the SuperDraft over the years, its influence and importance have deteriorated over time.
Last year, Real Salt Lake and Montreal passed on their third round picks, while LA Galaxy and DC United passed on their 4th round picks. It’s impossible to imagine an NFL team passing on a draft pick. So it’s not really the same. A MLS teams best players are Designated Players, or signings that use GAM or TAM. Bethlehem Steel FC recently signed 2017 MLS SuperDraft first round pick, defender Brandon Aubrey. This just highlights that most of these selections have little chance of helping their MLS club. Especially in year one. The most talented players are going to college far less than 10 years ago. There just aren’t impact players waiting to be drafted like Deshawn Watson or Alvin Kamara. So while the SuperDraft helps teams fill out their rosters, first year influential players just don’t exist much. Only four draft picks from last year played over 1000 minutes last year compared to five homegrown players. This trend will likely continue with homegrown players becoming more important to MLS clubs and the SuperDraft less so. With MLS clubs signing players right out of their Development Academy teams. That said, pay attention to the draft. Many of these players will likely spend some time playing in USL and some will come through Nashville.