The 2016 SuperDraft took place this week in Baltimore (USA). In MLS, this annual meeting allows the cards to be redistributed between all the teams. Spotlight with Frank Pons, professor of sports marketing in Canada *, and a look back at the successes of the 2015 draft.
This is the time when MLS teams select college players – usually in their final year – to strengthen themselves. The worst team from the previous season chooses first, the penultimate has the second choice and so on, until the MLS winner (Portland in 2015), who chooses last. Franchises take turns choosing for four rounds. Then they have a year to negotiate exclusively with the players and offer them a contract.
What is it for?
The MLS is a closed league, so the draft aims to achieve the most sensible sporting balance possible. We give the chance to those who are not good, unlike what we do in Europe (laughs). But, in MLS, parity doesn’t work very well. You may have four players, you have to identify them, who have potential (the first player selected in 2015 scored seventeen goals with Orlando, see below). And these players are relatively old (20-22 years), therefore difficult to adapt to the ideas of a coach.
In the NFL and the NBA, a first choice can change a team very quickly. If your first choice is a Lebron James, you understand that it changes a team. This is not the case in MLS.
During the draft, do the franchises talk to each other?
Yes, sometimes teams do trade draft picks. As each team has four picks per year, during the season, for some transfers, draft picks are negotiated. For example, when Didier Drogba arrived in MLS, Chicago had priority rights over negotiation. When Montreal bought the rights from Chicago, I think there was money in the deal as well as a draft pick, probably in 2017 or 2018.
If there was a draft in France, what would it be?
PSG would choose last. In France, there is no equivalent to American university football … (He thinks) We might take amateur football. By exaggerating a little, the PSG would be entitled to a selection at the level of the DH. It should be understood that, in MLS, the profits are shared among all the franchises and the budgets are therefore relatively limited. Everything is standardized for the salaries of young people for example and there is not a big difference in means. So there is no such thing as a PSG in MLS.
Draft 2015: They were a hit
Cyle Larin (Orlando City Soccer Club), Mr. 80%
Named “rookie” (including beginner) of the year 2015, the Canadian striker (17 goals) hit hard. In the top 10 best scorers, Larin is the second most effective in the League (0.80 goals for 90 minutes played), behind the indestructible Robbie Keane (0.87, Los Angeles Galaxy).
On September 25, against the New York Red Bulls, Cyle Larin scored a hat-trick and set a new goal scoring record for a rookie, breaking Damani Ralph’s old record (11 in 2003).
Fatai Alashe (San José Earthquakes) and Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), the neo-internationals
Their name is on Jürgen Klinsmann’s latest list. With twenty-seven starts out of thirty-four possible, midfielder Fatai Alashe second Cyle Larin in the ranking of “rookie” of the year. Chicago defenseman Matt Polster completes the podium … and accompanies Alashe to the US team rally.
Excited for the opportunity ahead! Can’t wait to get to work ????
– Matthew Ryan Polster (@MattPolster) January 6, 2016
Amadou Dia (Sporting Kansas City), the Frenchie of the class
Aurélien Collin left for Orlando, a place for a Frenchie became available at Sporting Kansas City. Defender, like his predecessor, Amadou Dia appeared last year twenty-two times in the tunic of the 2013 champion. The left side was born in Nantes but, we must admit, left France at the age of seven years.