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The SBI 2014 MLS Draft Big Board (Version 1.0)

CyleLarin (UConn)


The 2015 MLS Draft is just three weeks away and once the holiday season is behind us, teams will start preparing to head down to Florida for the MLS Combine as they search for the players to select in what is shaping up to be a better draft than 2014.

The 2015 MLS Draft lacks top-end talent, the kind of can’t-miss targets of years past, but there is squad depth in this year’s draft, and positional strength at left back and central defender, two positions plenty of MLS teams can use help at.

The SBI MLS Draft Big Board is our attempt to project where the year’s incoming college talent will go in the MLS Draft. We come up with the Big Board via a formula that takes into account our own observations along with input from coaches and scouts from the college and professional ranks. The Big Board is very much a work in progress, and as the draft class evolves, the board evolves with it, right up until the day before the draft, when we reveal our final big board and MLS Mock Draft. (You can find last year’s initial Big Board here, and our final 2014 Big Board here).

Every draft class is headed by the Generation adidas class, which is very much in limbo this time around. Sources have told SBI that MLS plans on having a very small Generation adidas class, between three and four players. That number could group, but all signs point to the GA class being a small one.

With that in mind, we have only listed four GA players on our initial Big Board (none have signed a Generation adidas deal yet). One player who could be added is Michigan State midfielder Jay Chapman, who is a top-three talent, but who MLS has initially identified as a Toronto FC homegrown player. This designation is still in dispute though, and if Chapman does have the TFC homegrown tag removed, then he will almost certainly be a top Generation adidas signing, and a top two player on the SBI Big Board.

Now, without further ado, here is the SBI MLS Draft Big Board, Version 1.0:

SBI 2015 MLS Draft Big Board (Version 1.0)

(@-Generation adidas players)

@1- CYLE LARIN, Forward, UConn

@2- ABU DANLADI, Forward, UCLA

@3- CRISTIAN ROLDAN, Midfielder, Washington

4- LEO STOLZ, Midfielder, UCLA


6- KHIRY SHELTON, Forward, Oregon State

7- NICK BESLER, Central Midfielder, Notre Dame

@8- ROMARIO WILLIAMS, Forward, Central Florida

9- AARON SIMMONS, Central Defender/Defensive Midfielder, UCLA

10- FATAI ALASHE, Defensive Midfielder, Michigan State

11- DAN METZGER, Central Midfielder, Maryland

12- AXEL SJOBERG, Central Defender, Marquette

13- ERIC BIRD, Central Midfielder, Virginia

14- ANDY THOMA, Left Back, Washington

15- ROBERT KRISTO, Forward, Saint Louis

16- OUMAR BALLO, Central Defender, UMBC

17- TIM PARKER, Central Defender, St. John’s

18- JAMES ROGERS, Forward, New Mexico

19- ANTHONY MANNING, Central Defender, Saint Louis

20- TYLER MILLER, Goalkeeper, Northwestern

21- JORDAN MURRELL, Left Back, Syracuse

22- JOSE RIBAS, Left Back, Creighton

23- MIGUEL AGUILAR, Forward, San Francisco

24-BOYD OKWUONU, Right Back, North Carolina

25- ROBBIE LOVEJOY, Forward/Midfielder, North Carolina

26- SERGIO CAMPBELL, Central Defender, UConn

27- OTIS EARLE, Left Back, UC Riverside

28- ANDREW WOLVERTON, Goalkeeper, Penn State

29- ANDY CRAVEN, Forward, North Carolina

30- SAAD ABDUL-SALAAM, Right Back, Akron

31- ADRIA BESO MARCO, Midfielder, UConn

32- EMEKA ONYONYE, Central Defender, Wright State

33- SETH CASIPLE, Midfielder, California

34- WES CHARPIE, Right Back, South Florida

35- SAGI LEV-ARI, Forward, Cal-State Northridge

36- CONNOR HALLISEY, Forward, California

37- MATT POLSTER, Central Defender, SIU-Edwardsville

38-FABIO MACHADO, Midfielder, Providence

39- CONNOR BRANDT, Left Wing/Left Back, San Diego

40- SPENCER RICHEY, Goalkeeper, Washington

41- SAL BERNAL, Forward, UNLV

42- SKYLER THOMAS, Central Defender, Syracuse

43- ANDREW BEVIN, Forward, West Virginia

44- DANIEL KELLER, Central Defender, Louisville

45- ALEX SHINSKY, Forward, Maryland

46- CAMERON IWASA, Forward, UC-Irvine

47- ONIEL FISHER, Midfielder, New Mexico

48- LAURIE BELL, Defender/Midfielder, Wisconsin-Milwaukee

49- DZENAN CATIC, Forward, Davenport (NAIA)

50- LUKE MISHU, Right Back, Notre Dame


  1. Three other things America did first that were great:

    1) Jazz
    2) Blues
    3) Batman

    As for the college draft: eh, most of these guys are mediocre at best. Every now and again, a good one comes through.

    I think college slows down the players’ development, but I can’t blame them for getting that education. 10 years from now, the kids in the draft will have jobs. Juan Agudelo may not.

  2. If a kid is listed as just a defender, does that mean he can play anywhere on the backline? Would love to know what their best positions are regardless.

  3. “The MLS draft does absolutely zero for competitive balance.”

    Really, tell that to DC United and Steve Birnbaum. DC was historically bad in 2013, especially on defense, and because of it had the first pick. Even though they traded it, they still got the guy they wanted at number 2. The paring of Boswell and Birnbaum raised the level of DC’s defense significantly, from league worst to second or third. Yes, adding a pro like Boswell was a huge help, but at his age it’s tough for him to play both center back positions by himself. Adding Birnbaum was key – to the point that Ives named him his rookie of the year. And he made DC United MUCH more competitive.

    Now, if California born, California educated Steve Birnbaum wasn’t drafted, what do you think the chances are that he would have chosen to move across the country to play for 2013’s worst team. Exactly zero.

    • You did NOT read his next line. Steve Birnbaum isn’t one of the best players, he went through the draft, which the best players don’t do !!!

      • why? give one good reason for it.

        Drafts are good in the NFL because every player that goes from amateur to pro goes through the draft. It’s a fair way to allocate players and it gives the league competitive balance.

        The MLS draft does absolutely zero for competitive balance. The best players don’t go through the draft. All the draft does is create a barrier to entry for a pro career. A kid from Michigan for instance either has to enter the draft or go to Europe. Why not just let him sign with any MLS team that wants him? Not only that but you’re forcing young players to start their careers thousands of miles away from home. This doesn’t happen anywhere in the soccer world.

      • “why? give one good reason for it.”

        I’m not defending the draft. I’m merely asking why a draft is not necessary in soccer when the college system is feeding MLS players, for better or for worse.

        “Drafts are good in the NFL because every player that goes from amateur to pro goes through the draft. It’s a fair way to allocate players and it gives the league competitive balance.”

        Exactly, just how MLS exercises this parity exactly like all of the other American sports leagues.

        “Why not just let him sign with any MLS team that wants him? Not only that but you’re forcing young players to start their careers thousands of miles away from home. This doesn’t happen anywhere in the soccer world.”

        Because this is MLS! So you’re telling me MLS is going to allow rookies to select their team and clubs directly and AT THE SAME TIME DPs and USMNT players can’t select their preferred club directly? It’s not going to happen. They want to maintain a parity, even though it looks good on paper and (as you rightly pointed out) doesn’t necessarily look good on the field in real life. Hell, as a Chicago Fire fan, I would love it if every graduate of Notre Dame or Indiana University played for my team or every local Chicago kid stayed here and not go to LA.

      • They ALL should be allowed to select their team(if they aren’t under contract). This is how it works EVERYWHERE.

        There shouldn’t even be DPs. It’s a stupid invention that does nothing to raise the quality.

        The draft actually harms development of soccer in this country. There’s not one good reason to have it.

      • Where in the world are players able to “select their team?” The teams are the ones who choose the players they like. It does not happen in the form of a draft, but that is how the college to professional transition works here. There are several reasons why every other sport uses it here, the top two being for parities sake and to allow for salary structure that is necessary in salary cap leagues.

        The salary cap is a completely different argument with the same sort of “they don’t do that anywhere else in the world” vs. “it is necessary for MLS because our league is not like others in the world” arguments.

        I am interested to hear though: how, exactly, does the draft “harm development of soccer in this country.” If a player is not drafted or is cut, he is free to sign with another team, so it is not limiting chances. Teams scout, interview, pick and negotiate with the players
        they pick, so the “bad fit” worries are no different than if the player had been acquired in another fashion.

        Bottom line is that teams are going to look for players that can help them the most and players are going to sign for teams who are interested in them where they can succeed. The draft provides these opportunities for both team and player.

      • “Not only that but you’re forcing young players to start their careers thousands of miles away from home. This doesn’t happen anywhere in the soccer world”

        What world are you living in? Emerson Hyndman is from Dallas, where did he move – as a 15 year old? Isn’t London thousands of miles from home? Zalelem? Dozen’s of other teenagers move all around the country. Why the concern for 20, 21 or 22 year olds having to move “so far from home” because of the draft?

      • “The MLS draft does absolutely zero for competitive balance.”
        “The best players don’t go through the draft.”

        LOL, I love troll comments that can be taken as sarcastic statement, meaning the exact opposite.

      • “This doesn’t happen anywhere in the soccer world.”

        I am going to try to come up with three things that Americans did first. Things that no one else in the world did or even thought of doing.

        The first. The internet, because I am using it now.
        Second. The lightbulb.
        Lastly, to get back to soccer, dissappearing foam

        I couldn’t give a rip of the rest of the world is doing it. Why would I care ? DC just went from last to first. Name one other team in the history of soccer that has done that.

        ps. They did it in a conference. The rest of the world doesn’t do that either !!!

  4. “The 2015 MLS Draft lacks top-end talent” we have been hearing this since the end of the Porter at Akron days. i thought that Stolz and Larin were considered “top-end talent”

    Del Campo isn’t a SJ HGP?


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