MLS Draft 2011

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.

  • will

    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.


  • will

    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.


  • RFCSean

    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.


  • tomas

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


  • EDB

    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..


  • PSPTim

    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.


  • KevDC

    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.


  • SethDoesn'tKnow

    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?


  • b

    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”


  • b

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


  • Lorax Jr.

    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.


  • Matt Johnston

    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.


  • Matt Johnston

    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.


  • Union

    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.


  • CLEFan4Life91

    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.)


  • ben

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


  • AdamFromMich

    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.


  • KevDC

    (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.


  • Chris

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


  • Mike

    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!)


  • sal amerire

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


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