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SBI 2014 MLS Mock Draft (Version 1.0)

ChristianDean (California)

Photo courtesy of University of California


The 2014 MLS Draft is a little less than a month away and while figuring out which players specific teams have their eyes on is an exercise in futility, we can start piecing together around where top players are likely to go once names start being called next month in Philadelphia.

As always is the case, the MLS Combine will provide a final push or drop in stock for many prospects, but we can already get a sense of which players are good bets to be first-round picks, and which positions are the deepest in this year’s draft.

Centerback is an especially deep position this year, with as many as six or seven central defenders potentially being selected in the first round this year.

The Generation adidas class has yet to take shape, but SBI has already worked to identify who the leading candidates are for GA contracts for the 2014 draft.

Plenty will change over the next three weeks, from the players who actually wind up making up the Generation adidas class, to trades that could shake up the draft order. For now, here is a look at what the 2014 MLS Draft could look like based on where teams, and players, stand now:

SBI 2014 MLS Mock Draft (Version 1.o)

(*-Generation adidas player)


*Christian Dean, California, Centerback

The departure of Dejan Jakovic, and recent additions of Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola make choosing a centerback over a forward the more reasonable move. There’s also the fact that far more teams in the league consider Dean the top prospect in the draft than any other player.

So why might D.C. not grab Dean? There is growing sentiment that they are tempted to select Patrick Mullins, but the more likely scenario would see D.C. United trading down and still selecting Mullins, who isn’t a lock to be a top three pick. If they keep the pick, it’s tough to see D.C. United passing on a Generation adidas player for a senior who will count against the salary cap right away.



*Leo Stolz, UCLA, Midfielder

The Union have two early picks and need an infusion of attacking talent. With Michael Farfan off to Mexico, the need for an attacking midfielder is even greater. Enter Stolz, who brings vision and creativity to central midfield.

The big question with Stolz is whether he will actually be in the draft. The German-born midfielder is a junior, and the belief after the recent college season was that he would stay in school. The right Generation adidas offer could change that though, and if he does enter the draft, Stoltz won’t last long on the board.



Steve Birnbaum, California, Centerback

The Whitecaps have a new coach, but the same question marks about their defense.  Vancouver could be tempted to grab Canadian-born striker Cyle Larin, but in Birnbaum the Whitecaps would be landing arguably the most pro-ready player in the draft. A player who could step in and start from day one.

Larin is intriguing, but the Whitecaps are already stocked at forward. With two picks in the first seven, Vancouver could be tempted to hold off on grabbing a centerback,  but Birnbaum is too good to pass up.



*Cyle Larin, UConn, Forward

Another very promising prospect who could be in the draft, Larin was just a freshman at UConn in 2013 but his combination of size, speed and skill had scouts drooling already. He has been offered a Generation adidas contract, but there is no guarantee he will take the deal.

Taking a forward might seem a strange one here, but for a team looking for some cap relief, grabbing a Generation adidas player with major upside wouldn’t be a bad move, though the Crew could be tempted to trade down and grab Wisconsin centerback A.J. Cochran.



*Schillo Tshuma, Maryland, Forward

He didn’t have the best sophomore season, but Tshuma’s outstanding freshman campaign wasn’t easily forgotten and he remains one of the most explosive attacking players in the pool, which is why he is still a top Generation adidas target. For an FC Dallas team that can use some speed up top, Tshuma makes sense.

FC Dallas could be tempted to grab a Patrick Mullins here, or even trade down to pick up allocation money and select a forward or defensive midfielder later.



Patrick Mullins, Maryland, Forward/Midfielder

After tearing up the college ranks for a second straight season it might seem crazy to see Mullins slide this far, but the reality is pro scouts aren’t sure just where Mullins fits on the next level. He lacks the explosiveness to be a big-time pro forward, but the Union will have a hard time passing on him if he’s available here.

If Mullins is already gone, the Union could consider A.J. Cochran, or even Georgetown’s Steve Neumann. One potential option could also be Coastal Carolina midfielder Pedro Ribeiro, who might be a reach this early.



*Andre Blake, UConn, Goalkeeper

The Whitecaps parted ways with back-up goalkeeper Brad Knighton, but could grab a goalkeeper of the future in Blake, who is clearly the top player in the draft at his position.

The Jamaican-born Blake is a safe bet to sign a Generation adidas deal, and would join fellow Jamaican Darren Mattocks on the Whitecaps.



*Marlon Hairston, Central Midfielder, Louisville

The Fire don’t have a pressing need at centerback, and Jalil Anibaba has been a competent right back, so the Fire can focus on midfield depth and Hairston is a young central midfield option with big upside.

Chicago could take Eric Miller to compete with Anibaba at right back, and potentially provide depth at defensive midfielder, but Hairston’s potential will be difficult to pass on.



*Eric Miller, Creighton, Fullback

Steven Beitashour’s departure makes right back a major need, and Miller could slide right into the starting lineup. The U.S. Under-20 defender has had his share of injury issues, but Miller has the talent to be a very effective pro fullback.

If Miller is off the board, San Jose could consider a player like central midfielder Pedro Ribeiro, who would help fill the void left by the departure of Rafael Baca. There are some good center backs on the board, but San Jose’s top pick last year was centerback Tommy Mueller.



*A.J. Cochran, Wisconsin, Centerback

The Impact will be happy to be able to grab one of the draft’s best centerbacks at this selection, and Cochran has the tools to potentially step in right away and contribute. The question now is whether MLS will offer him a Generation adidas contract or hold off given the considerable centerback depth that already exists in the draft pool.

If Cochrane isn’t available, the Impact would be a good bet to grab a centerback like Kevin Cope.



Kevin Cope, Michigan State, Centerback

The Rapids don’t have many glaring needs, so grabbing the best available player is a good route and Cope would help provide some good depth at centerback.



Steve Neumann, Georgetown, Forward/Midfielder

Though he could go as high as sixth overall, we can see Neumann sliding to the Revs, who would be happy to grab a player who has shown a real nose for goal, even if forward may not be his most natural position.



Pedro Ribeiro, Coastal Carolina, Central Midfielder

A Generation adidas prospect a year ago, Ribeiro is a tall and skillful central midfielder who could see his stock dip due to his status as a Brazilian citizen. Seattle might not want to spend a foreign player slot on rookie, but the departure of Mauro Rosales makes adding some central midfield creativity a priority.



Jared Watts, Wake Forest, Defensive Midfielder

The Galaxy have enough depth at centerback, and could use a defensive midfield prospect. Though Georgetown’s Joey Dillon is on the board, the Galaxy grab the bigger and more imposing Watts.



Kyle Venter, New Mexico, Centerback

Opinions vary on Venter, who some teams rate as a top 10 prospect, but others see as a lower-tier centerback in this year’s talent pool. For TFC, adding some central defense depth is a need  and Venter would be a very good value at No. 15.



Grant Van De Casteele, Notre Dame, Centerback

Losing Bobby Boswell makes centerback a definite need area and Van De Casteele is the best one on the board at this pick. He boasts impressive size and good feet for a big centerback.



Ben Sweat, South Florida, Left Back

A centerback would be a good pick here if any of the top ones slide, but with six already off the board, Caleb Porter grabs a very promising left back prospect in Sweat, who could easily wind up going several picks earlier.



Romena Bowie, VCU, Defensive Midfielder

With Kyle Beckerman potentially seeing plenty of U.S. national team duty in 2014, picking up some defensive midfield depth could definitely help new head coach Jeff Cassar.



Joey Dillon, Georgetown, Defensive Midfielder

The Revs spent the second half of the 2013 season playing without a true defensive midfielder, so grabbing one in the draft should be a priority for Jay Heaps’ squad. Dillon was a four-year starter for Georgetown and has the work rate and poise on the ball to be a successful pro.




Marco Franco, UC-Irvine, Right Back



Nikita Kotlov, Indiana, Left Winger



Luca Gimenez, Wake Forest, Right winger



Robbie Derschang, Akron, Left Winger



George Fochive, UConn, Defensive Midfielder



Joe Sofia, UCLA, Centerback



Taylor Peay, Washington, Centerback



Mamadou Diouf, UConn, Forward



Fifi Baiden, UCSB, Defensive Midfielder



Nick Hagglund, Xavier, Centerback



Eric Stevenson, Akron, Midfielder



Mackenzie Pridham, Cal Poly, Forward



Kristopher Tyrpak, Houston Baptist, Forward



Alex Martinez, North Carolina State, Attacking Midfielder



Victor Chavez, UCLA, Forward



Rafael Diaz, St. John’s, Goalkeeper


Mark Sherrod, Memphis, Forward



Reinaldo Brenes, Akron, Forward



Jacob Bushue, Indiana, Defender/Midfielder


(NOTES– The 32nd pick was originally Akeil Barrett, but he’s still only a junior and therefore won’t be in the draft. He is replaced by Kristopher Tyrpak of Houston Baptist.)


  1. I have been a long time soccer fan in the Washington Dc area. Most of the players mentioned are legit But how in the world can you have let the Caringi kid from UMBC off of this list. He was one of the top players I have seen this year from the summer pdl thru his teams tremendous success. Can’t believe you let him out

    • Tomaz got to agree with you . I Live in boston Seen that kid tear up the ameri east conference for the last two years I hope he comes to New England for the draft. I am a big revs fan.

  2. Ives, what are your thoughts on Omar Holness? He’s getting a lot of positive attention on as a GA prospect and Drew Epperly has written extensively about him too. I haven’t heard you talk about him, though. Do you think he’s got a solid shot at a GA deal this year or would you expect him to head back to school?

  3. No Tommy Thompson on the big board anymore? Does that mean SJ’s claims that he’s their homegrown talent have merit or was he just not offered a GA contract?

  4. I saw Taylor Peay play a number of times. He is a very good player. Not surprised that he moved up from lower second round to early second round. Please do not let him go to the Timbers.
    They deserve WAY worse than him.

  5. Thank you Ives. You really know your stuff, it is a joy to read. I wonder if Seattle doesn’t try to move down to 8ish spot and try to take a Gen Ad midfielder.

  6. I fear Mullins will be a great college player who never does much in MLS. He isn’t that athletic, but he is lethal in the box. He is essentially a poor version of Chicharito. If he packed on 20 lbs. of EAS-sponsored muscle, he would be more of a force, but he just doesn’t “look” like a pro, which sounds weird but I don’t know how else to say it.

    DC United should just take the best player in the draft, because they need help everywhere on the field.

    • Yes and Yes. That goes for everyone though. And as much as I hate DCU, at least you guys are bringing in players (probably overpaying, but they’re making moves).
      What’s worse: an ownership group that can’t get a stadium but is at least willing to get the players, or a FO that only ever wanted a stadium….

  7. Ives, do you think Dean has upside as a Left Back at the MLS level? DCU really needs more help there than at CB in the short term. Maybe plays as a LB for a year or two, then replaces Boswell at CB? If not, who do you see the DCU front office getting to shore up the woeful lack of outside back options?

    • Taylor Kemp is actually a quality LB prospect (DC’s 1st round pick in the 2013 Superdraft). Hopefully the club will give him more playing time this year over Korb, who is very mediocre.

  8. 10 years of top 3 picks. A lot of solid pros, and several turned big time player with jumps to Europe, all stars etc…

    Ferrel, Alvarez, Bekker
    Wenger, Mattocks, Rowe
    Salgado, Nagbe, Kitchen
    Mwanga, Tchani, Opara
    Zakuani, Cronin, Gonzalez
    Myers, Shea, Beltran
    Edu, Somary, Harrington
    Wynne, Ballouchy, Gerry
    Besagno, Guzan, Barrett
    Adu, Marshall, Ngwenya

  9. I love these articles re: college prospects/superdraft from you Ives. There are few who really dig deep into this stuff. I’m glad you do and keep these coming, though please don’t ever fancy yourself a “draftnik” like those jackasses on ESPN with the NFL. I hate those fools.

  10. I have heard Ives’ thoughts on Pteick Mullin and at this point,….I am very curious as to how his situation (draft and ability to play at the next level) will play out.

    I went to the Final Four and was very impressed with Mullin. His first touch, patience and finishing in the semi-final were very impressive. I came away thinking he was a shoe-in for the #1 pick. Then a friend who played at the highest level in college and also played in MLS likened Mullin to AJ Wood,….which was disapointing.

    Tell you what,….I would not want to be selecting #1. Mullins may end up being a two time Herman Award winner and he is a goal scorer to boot. If he falls in the draft and ends up being a star in MLS,….ouch!

    • @Brian K,
      It’s all about needs. DCU has shorn up their front line with EJ, Espindola, and have Michael Seaton waiting in the wings. They don’t need a forward who needs time to develop, they have one, and they hope they have secured immediate threats. It seems like in MLS, as much or more than the NBA and NFL, team needs trump best player a lot. Especially for non-GA players who count against the cap. Mullin may fall victim to being a senior and not needed by DCU at #1. Philly may need him to complement Jack Mac, but again, they have a young, dangerous forward.

      • I disagree with your comment on best player avail. If your relying on the draft to fill current voids then your team is doomed (Philly, pay attention).
        Here you draft the player you & your people rate as the best overall potential based on advanced skillset. It’s a find line though; because maybe someone like Mullins has peaked. So you look at his skill set and how he developed and if it will develop more.
        He’s not going to get faster. So there’s a deterrent. But as a coach, I’d be pretty darn sure I could make him stronger and develop his positioning/movement on both sides. I doubt his creativity w/ the ball at his feet will drastically improve at this age (goes for all players — maestros are created, not developed). But he does have a knack for goal and in America we seem to forget that you can’t teach that.
        So I draft him high and put him my weight program ASAP and begin with holdup play. I’d use him as a target man who can score and hope he’s getting a log mins by the end if the year.

      • The factor your leaving out is the GA tag. If you have 2 players that you rate equally (say Mullin & Dean) and for one you carry the full burden of their contract Vs. having part paid for by the League (Adidas); as a franchise and a business you go with the player who’s salary is offset by GA.
        This is why more often than not teams with High draft picks sign GA players….and then trade for league veterans who are more proven commodities to fill the immediate needs of the team.
        So far in the off-season DC has picked up 5 proven vets (EJ, Espindola, Arnaud, Boswell, & Franklin) and signed 1 loan player (Doyle). During the season they added Jeffrey & Silva.
        They’ve augmented the attack & defense and cut most of the overpriced dead weight. What they need now is to look for best value and depth for the defense & outside midfield.

      • Of course, you could say similar things about DC’s CBs. Brought in a veteran to join White. Signing a Homegrown who might play CB, joining another young Homegrown prospect at the position.
        I don’t buy into the “needs” argument. It’s got to come down to which player DCU thinks will be better in MLS.

      • Yeah, can you believe that a sports league has some sort of structure for allowing talent to enter its ranks? Crazy talk!! Who would expect that in a country where college athletics still provide some talent for the pool. I mean, who would ever make it as a pro when coming out of college.

        Dom Dwyer, Andrew Farrell, Darren Mattocks, Kelyn Rowe, Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen, Omar Gonzalez, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Brad Guzan, Clarence Goodson, Clint Dempsey, et al

      • they should be able to sign with any team they want to and that wants them. That’s how it works EVERYWHERE ON THE FRICKIN PLANET in the sport of soccer.

        The draft actually hurts our development. When you send an 18 year old kid from California and make him start his career in Toronto you are hurting his development.

      • First off, your not EVERYWHERE ELSE ON THE FRICKIN PLANET, YOU’RE IN THE USA. Second, if you can’t go from California to Toronto, how are you ever gone to travel across North America playing in the league? I guess we’re just a little tougher over here when it comes to leaving home to start are development.

      • Not quite. Brasil has a lengthy tradition of “contracts in a drawer” where underage players sign covert contracts binding them to a team past 18. Argentina has a history of players being owned by AGENTS (not necessarily the team, but by individuals) and those individuals are the ones who decide if that player is loaned our or sold, and they get the bulk of the money. Try being a 16 or 17 y.o. American and signing a contract with a European team–you can’t unless you have an EU passport. And then there are the work eligibility requirements in the UK (# of caps, percentage of NT matches played in, etc.)….can you imago if US Immigration followed a rule somewhat similar to that? And of course, teams that affiliate with a club as a junior player are usually bound to that club through their academy or junior commitments.

      • You do realize if they are from a region and that team wants them they most likely would have signed a homegrown contract and would not be eligible for the draft? The only kids being “forced” to go to Toronto are kids who were not developed by MLS teams. That’s the difference between the US and other nations, it’s not some ‘murica bs, the reason there is no draft in england is because EVERY single player was developed by a professional team, so obviously they would have dibs. When professional teams do that in the US it’s the same deal. But when the Chicago Sockers or Dallas Texans develop a player no MLS team has inherent rights to something they did not help build any more so than others, so the league’s interest in maintaining parity and support for the game in more than a handful of markets clearly is the most relevant concern.

        Oh and by the way, the idea that sending good players to bad teams is bad for their development is silly. The way MLS works those teams will not be bad for long most likely and, unlike at a good team, they would have played a huge part in their turnaround, obviously a good thing for their development. They also would get playing time, something less likely to happen at a better club.

      • Timber Danny, that is the smallest tip of the iceberg I have ever seen.

        Obviously you didn’t have time or space for the whole iceberg of talent.

      • I like soccer but there is not a soccer league in the world as good as the NFl or MLB, yea maybe the NBA, but that’s my opion.

        Sorry but I am a US snob to the nth degree and US sports are superior to the rest of the world.

      • It’s fine that you are a US snob but the reality is after the NFL the #2 is the Premier League which keeps growing here and abroad, while MLB has stagnated with the whole dopping era. Now MLB might still be bigger the other big 3 (Spain, Germany and Italy) but not by much.

        As for the NBA I feel MLS is catching up with it which means the big 4 have surpassed it. The NFL is king and will most likely be king in terms of $$$ for a long time but outside of the USA almost no one cares. While soccer and a lot of leagues are trying to improve and grow and over time they might just take the #1 spot, but even being an optimist this would take decades.

      • what do you mean by “as good”? Your statement makes no sense. If you’re a bigger baseball fan than a soccer fan then of course to you MLB is preferable to any soccer league.

      • Those league are more controlled and profitable than any soccer league in the world. Personally i hate that and i find those leagues really boring.

        While im not thrilled about MLS following suit it definatly works -Timber Danny’s post – and most of all i see MLS doing a lot of “traditional football league things” like academies, HGP’s, etc that are completly new to American sports.

        I hope to see MLS grow into what it aspires to be and the NASL be the traditional foil and a strong league in its own

      • I wouldn’t rush to judgment that NBA and MLB are superior to European soccer leagues. Borussia Dortmund’s average attendance is approximately four times higher than the average attendance of the Bulls (the team with the highest attendance in NBA) and two times higher than that of LA Dodgers (the team with the highest attendance in MLB). NFL is superior to European soccer leagues in terms of TV revenue and possibly attendance, but keep in mind that these leagues are located in the countries with much smaller population than the US.

      • And the University of Michigan averages more than Barcelona. Kind of sad an amateur team gets more fans than the mighty gods of soccer. Alabama football alone is bigger than 3/4 of Euro teams.

        You can keep your Euro system where a handful can actually win anything and the rest strive to not get relegated. Mediocrity at its finest

      • Absolutely hilarious that someone would still refer to college football as “amateur” and then dismiss the “Euro system” as one where “a handful can actually win anything”. Clearly all of the mirrors around College Football Guy have been broken.

      • again…soccer is a global game with dozens of leagues that compete with each other.

        it makes no sense to have a draft in soccer. It hurts the development of players.

      • Wow Bob. Your ridiculous. The draft is a platform for mediocre talent. If these players were good enough to sign “anywhere in the world,” they would. The talent for building streams as follows: Homegrown Players>Gen Adidas>Rest of draft.
        The draft is not the main source of marquee players anymore. And it’s a good way to bridge from college to MLS. One day, it will probably fade, but the league/ teams aren’t profitable enough to have academies to the extent of Europe yet. They’ve started to and will get there.
        But don’t bash it because nobody else does it. It serves it’s purpose. And most of the foreign born kids came to a US college from Euro academies when they realized they weren’t going to get a first team contract anytime soon. So in essence, a Euro academy wasted their money developing product that didn’t meet their quality standards. In manufacturing, that’s called yield and academies don’t yield a ton of quality product relative to the overall raw materials. So, ROI isn’t very high; thus MLS teams don’t have much Operating Income to waste on scrapped product. So they let others do it for them.
        Plus, you act like these kids and teams don’t have a choice. They can go play 2nd/3rd/4th div. in Europe and get paid well. And MLS can and will sign who they want.
        Do some research. Start with Soccernomics. And go play/coach/manage at high level before you criticize.

  11. DC United has a love affair with Maryland, have you seen their roster? Also, they need scoring and no way can they pass up on Mullins. Selling tickets baby!

    • Love affair: 3 players. 1 more than Philadelphia and Dallas have, and the same number as LA Galaxy have.

      Of course, DCU’s 3 includes Ethan White, who is a Homegrown signing, so it really isn’t much to do with his college days. You could note that a few other players have come through DC, like Wallace and Burch — but then you’re hoping up the question about how much of a love affair is it when the team cuts or trades those players. Also, other teams like Philadelphia, Dallas and Toronto might then be in the running for the biggest “love affair” with the Terps.

      • There are just a lot of Terps around the league!

        Probably the most of any school.. IU, UCLA, UNC, ND maybe up there too

  12. It’s not unreasonable for Colorado to take a CB, but if a guy like Ribeiro has a good combine and is still around at #11, Pareja might be itching to pull the trigger for him.

    • I’d be surprised if the Rapids didn’t take a defender. They lost Calderon, O’Neil is trying to move to the midfield, and Wynne’s technical inability will make him outdated soon enough. Defenders are their biggest need.

      • Agreeded, we have Wynne and Oneil (might be playing other positions) leaving Moor, Griffens and Mera as the CB’s.

        Venter looks like a good fit for Colorado, and is from the area, as do a few other CB’s. I could also see them go for the best overall player available as Oskar likes depth

  13. Good info with this mock, great insight – you may want to change pick #32 (Akeil Barrett – Tulsa) as he is just a junior and not likely a GA player.

  14. Out of curiosity, is there anything to prevent a NASL or USL team from jumping in one of these guys – ignore their MLS draft status – and lure them with more money?

  15. A lot of CB’s and a lot of teams that need CB’s — that should work out.

    Any progress to the rumor of Joya and/or Cuevas entering the league in this draft too?


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