The First Five: College superstars ready to make an impact in MLS
The 2013 MLS Superdraft is only 15 days away and it will occur in the home state of the reigning NCAA champion Indiana Hoosiers. 19 MLS front offices will spend countless hours over the next two weeks scouting players at the combine and evaluating their rosters as another regular season quickly closes in. These players are who we think will be the first five off the board on Jan. 17 in Indianapolis.
The First Five:
1. Toronto: Andrew Farrell (D/M – Louisville)
Having been one of the first players to sign a Generation adidas contract, Farrell is the consensus No. 1 draft pick and for good reason. Everything he does on the soccer field he does at an extremely high caliber, and he is versatile. Farrell has been one of the best defenders in the country over the last three seasons and was a First Team NSCAA All American this season as a junior.
2. Chivas USA: Mikey Lopez (M – North Carolina)
As expected, Lopez signed with Generation adidas after his sophomore season came to a disappointing end with the Tar Heels being upset in the NCAA Tournament in addition to falling to Maryland in the ACC Championship. However, Lopez was arguably the best defensive midfielder in the country this season as one of the staples of UNC’s top-ranked defense. He is one of the youngest players in the draft and has one of the highest ceilings.
3. Toronto: Deshorn Brown (F – Central Florida)
No word on if Brown has officially signed with Generation adidas, but according to Ives Galarcep of Soccerbyives.com, he is expected to do so very soon. Brown scored 13 goals for the Knights this season but his professional potential is what the scouts will be drooling over, not his run-of-the-mill college numbers in his brief career at the University of Mobile and UCF.
4. New England: Walker Zimmerman (D – Furman)
Another sophomore two-and-done, Zimmerman is projected by multiple college soccer experts to be the first true defender off the board. From a little known program in Furman, Zimmerman’s phenomenal college career went somewhat under the radar but he is a prototype MLS defender. He plays with great intelligence, and even at 19 is big, strong and fast enough to start on any back line immediately.
5. Vancouver: Dillon Powers (M – Notre Dame)
Many are wondering if Powers’ game is going to translate at the pro level, but if it does then look out. The senior from Plano, TX led the Irish to the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with 19 points on five goals and nine assists and was also named First Team NSCAA All American.
Best of the Rest:
-John Stertzer (F – Maryland)
Stertzer is a creative and opportunistic goal-scorer. His time in MLS will quickly show if his success with the Terps was a product of Sasho Cirovksi’s system which yielded a near record-setting scoring pace.
-Jason Johnson (F – Virginia Commonwealth)
Johnson led VCU with 32 points on 13 goals and six assists as a junior in 2012. “JJ” carried the Rams all the way to the Atlantic 10 Championship in VCU’s first season in the conference. The Jamaican is one of the most dynamic athletes in college soccer, and this season he showed a new level of leadership and maturity.
-Jose Gomez (M – Creighton)
Gomez could easily be a top five selection but his performance in the College Cup loss to Indiana was considered disappointing by many. The Hermann Trophy finalist had six goals and nine assists en route to a College Cup Semifinals appearance with the Blue Jays in his senior season.