Forty-four Development Academy alums selected in MLS SuperDraft
Of the 220 players eligible for selection in the 2018 MLS Super Draft, 44 of the 81 overall picks selected spent at least one season playing for a U.S. Soccer Development Academy club along their pathway to the professional level.
During rounds one and two of the 2018 MLS Super Draft, broadcasted live from the Philadelphia Convention Center, 27 of the 46 players selected collectively spent 78 seasons in the Academy.
The first DA product to come off the board didn’t have to wait long when the LA Galaxy selected Tomas Hilliard second overall. The former Stanford Cardinal played four seasons in the Academy with Charlotte Soccer Academy from 2010-2014 and collected South Conference Starting XI honors in 2012. A three-time NCAA national champion, the defender collected 13 collegiate goals in 87 appearances.
Named the Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a senior at Wisconsin, forward Chris Mueller was selected sixth overall by Orlando City SC. Mueller played three seasons with Sockers FC (Chicago, Ill.) from 2011-2014.
Next up was former Players Development Academy and New York Red Bulls Academy forward Mason Toye, who was taken by Minnesota United FC via a trade with Montreal Impact.
Two picks later, former St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri (now St Louis FC) defender Mark Segbers went ninth overall to the New England Revolution. In his time with SLSG, Segbers tallied three Central Conference Starting XI selections: 2011, 2012, 2013. Attending his first ever MLS Super Draft as a head coach, former U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper and U-19 Men’s National Team coach Brad Friedel was especially pleased with the Revolution’s selection of Segbers.
In the second round of the 2018 MLS Super Draft, more than half of the 23 picks have ties to the Academy.
From selections 25-27, three straight Academy players were taken: Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea SC) to Colorado Rapids, Lucas Stauffer (Shattuck-St. Mary’s) to Vancouver Whitecaps, and Frantzdy Pierrot (Seacoast United) also to the Rapids. Winn took home Central Conference Player of the Year honors in 2012 and repeated the feat in 2014. Fellow draftee Pierrot was named to the 2012 Central Conference Starting XI during his first of six seasons with Seacoast United.
Former Portland Timbers Academy player Niko De Vera taken by the New York Red Bulls at 31, followed by Shattuck-St. Mary’s second Academy draftee at pick number 33 when Real Salt Lake took 2014 East Conference Starting XI award winner Ricky Lopez-Espin. Next up, FC Dallas took Georgetown midfielder and two-time Development Academy National Champion Christopher Lema, who spent four seasons with New York Red Bulls’ Academy.
Maryland forward Gordon Wild, who spent four seasons in the Academy, was taken 37th overall by Atlanta United FC. Slots 39-41 saw another trio of players with time in the Academy taken by New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy, and Minnesota United in Tom Barlow (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), Drew Skundrich (PA Classics), and Xavier Gomez (Sockers FC), repsectively.
The final three Academy players taken on Day 1 came in at picks 43, 44 and 46. Houston took FC Boston Bolts Alum Mac Steeves with its second draft pick of the day, followed by another Bethesda-Olney 2014 East Conference Starting XI and National Champion runner up in Maryland midfielder Jake Rozhansky. Former Crew SC Academy Wolves goalkeeper Drew Shepherd was chosen by Toronto FC with the 46th overall pick to close out the round.
Rounds Three and Four
Rounds three and four of the 2018 MLS Super Draft, which took place via conference call, saw 17 Academy Alums become professional players, who combined for 43 seasons spent developing in the Academy.
|Pick||MLS Club||Player||Pos.||College||Academy Club||Seasons|
|ROUND 1||2||LA Galaxy||Tomas Hilliard-Arce||D||Stanford||Charlotte Soccer Academy||4|
|6||Orlando City SC||Christopher Mueller||F||Wisconsin||Sockers FC Chicago||3|
|7||Minnesota United FC||Mason Toye||F||Indiana||New York Red Bulls; PDA||2|
|9||New England Revolution||Mark Segbers||D||Wisconsin||St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri||4|
|11||FC Dallas||Ema Twumasi||M||Wake Forest||Oakwood Soccer Club||1|
|13||Sporting Kansas City||Eric Dick||GK||Butler||Indiana Fire Academy||1|
|14||Atlanta United FC||Jon Gallagher||M||Notre Dame||Beachside SC||1|
|15||Minnesota United FC||Wyatt Omsberg||D||Dartmouth||Seacoast United||1|
|16||New York Red Bulls||Brian White||F||Duke||PDA||3|
|17||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Justin Fiddes||D||Washington||San Diego Surf||2|
|18||Sporting Kansas City||Graham Smith||D||Univ. of Denver||Real Colorado||4|
|19||New York City FC||Jefferson Caldwell||GK||Virginia||North Carolina Fusion||4|
|20||Houston Dynamo||Michael Nelson||GK||SMU||Lonestar SC Academy||2|
|23||Minnesota United FC||Carter Manley||D||Duke||Bethesda-Olney||1|
|ROUND 2||25||Colorado Rapids||Alan Winn||M||North Carolina||Solar Chelsea SC||3|
|26||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Lucas Stauffer||D||Creighton||Shattuck-St. Mary’s||3|
|27||Colorado Rapids||Frantzdy Pierrot||F||Coastal Carolina||Seacoast United||6|
|31||New York Red Bulls||Niko De Vera||D||Akron||Portland Timbers||2|
|33||Real Salt Lake||Ricky Lopez-Espin||F||Creighton||Shattuck-Saint Mary’s||4|
|34||FC Dallas||Christopher Lema||M||Georgetown||New York Red Bulls||4|
|37||Atlanta United FC||Gordon Wild||F||Maryland||Seacoast United||4|
|39||New York Red Bulls||Tom Barlow||F||Wisconsin||St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri||5|
|40||LA Galaxy||Drew Skundrich||M||Stanford||PA Classics||4|
|41||Minnesota United FC||Xavier Gomez||M||Nebraska||Sockers FC||3|
|43||Houston Dynamo||Mac Steeves||F||Providence||FC Boston Bolts||4|
|44||Columbus Crew SC||Jake Rozhansky||M||Maryland||Bethesda-Olney||1|
|46||Toronto FC||Drew Shepherd||GK||Western Michigan||Crew SC Academy Wolves||2|
|ROUND 3||48||LA Galaxy||Nate Shultz||D||Akron||Internationals||2|
|52||New York City FC||Alex Bumpus||D||Kentucky||Crew SC Academy||3|
|53||Montreal Impact||Ken Krolicki||M||Michigan State||Crew SC Academy||2|
|54||Philadelphia Union||Mike Catalano||M||Wisconsin||Chicago Fire||4|
|57||FC Dallas||Amer Sasivarevic||M||Grand Canyon||Real Salt Lake AZ||1|
|59||Houston Dynamo||Pablo Aguilar||M||Virginia||IMG Academy||4|
|61||Portland Timbers||Caleb Duvernay||D||NC State||Capital Area RailHawks||3|
|66||Houston Dynamo||Sheldon Sullivan||D||Virginia||McLean Youth Soccer||2|
|ROUND 4||70||Atlanta United FC||Paul Christensen||GK||Univ. of Portland||Seattle Sounders FC||3|
|72||Colorado Rapids||Brian Iloski||M||UCLA||San Diego Surf; LA Galaxy||3|
|77||Philadelphia Union||Matt Danilack||M||Dartmouth||Potomac||3|
|80||FC Dallas||Noah Franke||D||Creighton||Orlando City SC||2|
|82||Sporting Kansas City||Wilfred Williams||D||Oakland Univ.||FC Dallas||1|
|83||New York Red Bulls||Jared Stroud||M||Colgate||PDA||2|
|84||Chicago Fire||Josh Morton||D||California||San Jose Earthquakes||2|
|89||Houston Dynamo||Manny Padilla||D||San Francisco||LA Galaxy||4|
|92||Toronto FC||Ben White||D||Gonzaga||Portland Timbers||2|
In total, the 44 draft picks with ties to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy combined to average 2.75 seasons in the Academy.