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The latest Fox Soccer MLS Draft Big Board is out, and with six weeks to go, there have been plenty of changes to the list of Top 25 prospects heading into Janaury's MLS Draft.
The very top of the Big Board is largely unchanged, with Duke's Andrew Wenger and Akron's Darren Mattocks remaining at the top, with UCLA's Kelyn Rowe and North Carolina's Billy Schuler following them.
The serious changes took place after the top ten, where some strong performances in the second half of the NCAA season helped catapult several prospects in the yes of MLS scouts. UCLA's Chandler Hoffman has seen his stock soar, while players like Robbie Derschang and Eric Schoenle have seen their stock drop.
Here are some more notes on the 2012 MLS Draft pool, including how the Generation adidas candidates currently rank, and who the next 15 players are on the draft radar:
Let us start with the Generation adidas class. The class is usually pretty close to finalized at this time of year, but there is much more uncertainty about the lower portion of the class, with several candidates in the mix for the 8-10 Generation adidas contracts expected to be offered.
Here is the current ranking, which we have ascertained via communications with several people with detailed knowledge of the selection process:
1. Andrew Wenger, Duke
2. Darren Mattocks, Akron
3. Kelyn Rowe, UCLA
4. Billy Schuler, North Carolina
5. Enzo Martinez, North Carolina
6. Brian Span, Virginia
7. David Opoku, UCSB
8. Andrew Jean-Baptiste, UConn
9. Chandler Hoffman, UCLA
10. Dom Dwyer, South Florida
11. Sam Garza, UCSB
12.Dillon Powers, Notre Dame
13.Eric Schoenle, West Virginia
14.Robbie Derschang, SMU
Some thoughts on this list:
The Top Five on this list are in bold and that is the group that we can call Generation adidas locks IF they sign with Generation adidas. Mattocks could go overseas, and Martinez still has some citizenship issues to sort out, but the top five are the players MLS wants most badly right now.
Andrew Wenger is the consensus top player, but that doesn't mean he will necessarily be the top pick. From what I am hearing out of Montreal, the Impact prefer Darren Mattocks. That is assuming Montreal keeps the No. 1 overall pick.
For those wondering if Wenger is definitely leaving Duke. My sources tell me he definitely is. In fact, I've been told that he will be holding a summit of all the top soccer agents in the United States next week, where he will select his agent. The fact that agents are willing to go through that process tells you just how highly regarded he is.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste surprised me as a player now on Generation adidas list. He's a young, big and physically imposing centerback, but he's also mistake-prone and not technically gifted. I rate Eric Schoenle as a better prospect, and while Schoenle still has some developing to do physically, he is a much better long-term prospect in my book. Not enough MLS clubs feel that way it seems and now it's looking more and more likely that Schoenle will not be offered a GA deal and will stay in school.
Robbie Derschang has fallen practically off the radar. The Colorado Rapids had their Homegrown Player claim on Derschang rejected, and at this point he looks like a safe bet to stay in school. He's still a quality left wing prospect, but another year in school won't hurt him.
Speaking of staying in school. Jean-Baptiste isn't the only UConn player who may leave school early. Sources tell me forward Mamadou Diouf wants to also go pro. Only a sophomore, Diouf was UConn's top offensive player this year, and the Senegal native is ready to parlay that into a pro career. Is he a Generation adidas option? Not at the moment.
I've been very surprised with how much Dillon Powers' stock has dropped. A year ago he was a player some saw as a Top Five option. Now, he may not even get offered a Generation adidas deal. Why? The buzz he built up as as standout on the U.S. Under-20 team has long since faded, and a lackluster season with Notre Dame didn't wow scouts either. What's interesting is that while a year ago there was no chance he would leave school, the word now is he wants to leave Notre Dame and turn pro. There are still some scouts who absolutely love him, and he could very well still grab a Generation adidas spot.
David Opoku might surprise some on this list but scouts have been raving about him all college season. His size, athleticism and the fact he's very young as a soccer player (has only played organized soccer for a few years) has coaches/scouts buzzing about his upsde.
Opoku's teammate, Garza, didn't have as big a year as some expected, but scouts still love his make-up and with Mexican teams a potential option for him, it's looking very likely that Garza leaves school whether he secures a Generation adidas contract or not.
If there is an underclassman you are wondering about, who you thought would be a Generation adidas signing, and they're not on this list, it is HIGHLY unlikely he's going to be signed this year.
A quick about Homegrown Player tags. Major League Soccer rejected several Homegrown Player claims and is preparing to reveal revamped rules and regulations on the process to label Homegrown Players. Basically, you had several teams throwing up very questionable claims on college players who had some loose affiliations with their academy/PDL programs. Some claims were stronger than others, but ultimately there were a handful of claims rejected on some of the top players in this draft class.
Among the players who had labels removed were UConn's Tony Cascio and Louisville's Nick DeLeon, who both spent time with Real Salt Lake's academy program in Arizona, but neither of which spent enough time in that system to qualify as an RSL homegrown player.
Rejected claims are nothing new. The Philadelphia Union had claims for Corey Hertzog and C.J. Sapong rejected last year. In fact, the Union had a claim for Andrew Wenger rejected this year.
Now, onto the next 15 players who would have been on the Fox Soccer MLS Draft Big Board (which will increase to 40 later this month):
26. Callum Mallace, M, Marquette
27. Raymon Gaddis, D, West Virginia
28. Kevan George, M, Central Florida
29. Tommy Meyer, D, Indiana
30. Maykell Bates, D, Santa Clara
31. Brian Rowe, GK, UCLA
32. Ethan Finlay, F, Creighton
33. Kirk Urso, M, North Carolina
34. Lance Rozeboom, M, New Mexico
35. Ryan Meara, GK, Fordham
36. Aubrey Perry, D, South Florida
37. Arthur Ivo, M, SMU
38. Andy Rose, D, UCLA
39. Anthony Arena, D, Wake Forest
40. Kenney Walker, M, Louisville
This second tier of prospects is sure to change, and I will be updating the Fox Soccer Big Board every two weeks until the MLS Combine, which kicks off on January 6th in Fort Lauderdale.
What do you think of these developments? Which players are you hoping your MLS team can pick up?
Share your thoughts below.
“The Top Five on this list are in bold and that is the group that we can call Generation adidas locks IF they sign with Generation adidas.”
Wow! That’s what I call going out on a limb…
Some of the top offensive players on top teams get all the buzz, which is somewhat fair,…but a lot of great players are seemingly dropped from the discussion simply because they play on teams that didn’t make the NCAA tournament. There are several players on non-NCAA teams that have the talent to shine in the MLS and deserve attention by the scouts as well. I’m familiar with Pac 12 play and glad to see that Andy Rose (UCLA) is getting attention. Others who scouts should see are Brent Richards (F/M Washington, Sr.), Daniel Steres (D/M San Diego State, Sr.), Emery Welshman (F Oregon State, Jr.) and Steven Birnbaum (D Cal, Jr.)
(SBI-Richards is a homegrown Portland player. Otherwise he’d be listed. As for the others, Birnbaum is someone who should be drafted in 2013. There is something to be said for MLS scouts not scouting extensively on the West Coast beyond UCLA and UCSB, but the reality is there’s just so much more talent at East Coast schools that many teams focus their scouting attentions that way. It’s far from an ideal system.)
some serious hate coming in on the comments over on fox soccer. What’s wrong with people!?
CHRIS ESTRIDGE ffs
So Kelyn Rowe doesn’t even start for UCLA over the last few games? Can he really be considered #3 overall given that plus his generally lackluster season?
(SBI-If the issues Rowe is having with UCLA is something pro scouts have an issue with, then his stock will take a dip, but as of right now he’s got more than enough of a body of work and reputation to continue meriting a high ranking. Fact is he is still one of the handful of Generation adidas targets who is considered a lock to be given a contract if he wants it.)
I noticed Wenger played all of last season at CB. Obviously he must have some skill set to play forward and excel there as well. Anyone know what kind of wheels this kid has? Any chance he can eventually develop into the speedy, skilled CB Klinsi craves? 6 footer, looks strong, he’s big enough to play back there internationally if paired with a bigger partner. Yes, i know it’s ridiculous to project a kid i’ve never seen before but i’m dying for some good, young talent at that position.
Charles as in Charles Ives? It all makes sense!
If you went to UCSB games, probably you went to play with the kids on the playground and you never got to watch any of the games. Just imagine UCSB without Silva’s 17 goals and 10 assists this year? That’s an amazing season at the college level. Silva definitely has to be a 1-7 pick in the draft.
How do you rate Antoine Hoppenot from Princeton? He’s a skillful forward that was semi-finalist for the Hermann Trophy last year. His numbers have dropped this year, but he remains a talent.
I have mentioned it before I believe, but James Kiffe from UCSB is a solid pick at LB. Left footed converted forward who is a solid body. He’s a sleeper in the this draft. I’m almost positive of his invite to the combine and believe he’s meeting with agents this week. To my knowledge the best LB option in the draft.
I go to UCSB and have watched Opoku play a few times now…was initially impressed by his confidence and great touch but as the season went on he seemed to get lazier and seemed completely disinterested at times out there. Having watched all three of those UCSB guys play in a few games, I would honestly go with Garza first; he always seemed to play the most intelligently and was the easiest to imagine in an MLS game….Silva though had some moments of real class and composure as well
Evans Frimpong University of Delaware. Go get him Union….
Good to see Andy Rose get on this list he is a quality player and is well groomed from his experiences in the Bristol City FC youth system.
I have seen a handful of guys on that list, but never Wenger, need to remedy that…
Hey Ives, do Homegrown players also participate in the combine or is it just draft prospects? know it’s a silly question but I just wanted to confirm.
S. I. Is a homegrown Houston Dynamo…
Nobody covers college soccer and the MLS draft like Ives, thanks buddy.
What about Sebastian ibeagha (sp) the defender out of duke and the u20’s? Has he genersted any GA buzz?
Great info. That’s why this is the best site ever. The draft is cool b/c it doesn’t take very long to see who the best players really are. Halfway through the season, we’ll typically know.
hey ‘Ives’ – tooting your own horn again eh? No need to try and fool us with a traditional name like Charles 🙂
Ditto to your post.
If you took all the news agencies, in all the MLS cities, and then compared what they all put out to what Ives provides you.
Which would give you better MLS coverage ? I am going with SBI.
This site rocks.
Miguel Ibarra, UC Irvine. Stud.