Wednesday, August 31, 2011

With Most MLS Teams Raising "Home Grown Players", What's the MLS Superdraft's Future and Relevance like?

Put Me In, Coach: A Parent's Guide to Winning the Game of College Recruiting (Volume 1)
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without ThinkingIt's evident that Major League Soccer(MLS) teams are investing more effort in "home grown player" development. Any diligent observer wonders what the future and relevance of the costly and time consuming MLS Superdraft held every year, is. Arguably, there is still need to keep college Soccer programs in business (and the NCAA organization, maybe) because a budget has been made available to run them by most colleges. Question is, are they really worth the effort these college players and their coaches put into preparing, training and persevering collegiate tournaments when out of so many players only 54 (for the year 2011) end up being drafted by MLS teams- which rarely have them starting any games or even sitting them on the bench as substitutes? The logistics are clear. Despite the MLS team- and team roster expansion, the teams already have veteran players and are only looking to add one or two great, but inexperienced professional players. The team rosters have spots reserved for internationals, then the (now) popular Designated Players (DPs) and  (boom!) the "home grown players"- which players teams prefer to their superdraft counterparts, due to their ready and steady availabilty for training at a much younger age. It's sad that a player goes through the MLS superdraft, celebrates being drafted by a dream MLS team only to find he almost never dresses up for any game all season. Some MLS teams are flexible and will loan these players out to lower league teams or to moderate international teams, which has ironically, made some players more marketable to MLS and to other foreign advanced leagues, later on. For some players, in this situation, it's the beginning of an irreversible disgraceful "disappearance". The core issue at stake here is, is it even worth having an MLS superdraft anymore for the college graduates? Is MLS wasting its (and the event's participants') money and other resources, organizing this grandiose annual event with trivial results? Is it time for strategy change and resource re-allocation to benefit all this young talent? Food for thought, as college season approaches...
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