In my world, this is a combine:
Consequently, I’m going to turn this space over to links written by others, specifically, people who 1) have actually given some thought to how Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs build their teams through the draft, and, 2) actually went to watch the games MLS put on to showcase these prospects. I’ll start with the latter.
The best stuff I have come across came from 3rd Degree’s Buzz Carrick and Soccer by Ives’, um, Ives Galarcep. In case you haven’t seen these, see the link round-up below. Much as I wish I could say otherwise, I have nothing to add. I really don’t follow the college game in a meaningful way (or any way for that matter) and, as much as I tend to agree with Ives’ take on things especially, I’m just the kind of person who has to see for himself. As such, I’ll wait till the general conversation turns to players I have seen, or until the future gives me some time to put faces and talents to the many, many names Carrick and Galarcep throw around. Here goes:
MLSnet.com threw out a couple posts as well, but, they take the form of profile pieces often as not (see: Julian Valentin and El-Hadj Cisse) which dulls my enthusiasm a bit. Still, they turned out a pair of regular reports as well (LINK and LINK).
Finally, a couple pundits offered up “big picture” pieces for this Superdraft week, both of them worth the read and a think afterwards. Ian Plenderleith explored the dark, miserly side of MLS on his way to posing the question of why any young man would want to sign with MLS on a developmental deal; like the rest of us, he hopes for better things, knowing all the while that the relevant parties won’t budge till 2009 at the soonest. The other piece, this one by Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy, looks at the surprisingly complicated process by which MLS coaches and GMs scout college prospects and set up the combine. It’s more readable than you think…trust me.
So…that’s that. I think I’m going to watch the Superdraft this Friday for the first time in my life. No, scratch that. Barring an emergency, I’m committing myself to watching the Superdraft. I can’t say the event interests me all that much – part of the reason I’ve never so much as considered it in the past – but I may as well see what it’s all about, right?