The MLS SuperDraft for 2017 is coming up on Jan 13th, and yes they are serious with that name. It’s like any other league’s draft, except for a few rules that make the MLS the special person we all grow to love. So what is the MLS SuperDraft exactly, and who are the best MLS Prospects for 2017? Glad you asked.

What is the MLS SuperDraft?

Let’s start with the name. It’s called the SuperDraft because it is a combination of the league’s “College Draft” and the “Supplemental Draft.” They mashed those two drafts together to in 2000 create the SuperDraft. Great.

Each team in the League participates and it takes place in January. There are 4 rounds and each team gets a pick in each round, but picks can be traded. The draft order is determined like any other league with expansion teams getting first picks and then from there it’s whoever was the worst through best the year prior.

The players eligible for the draft are primarily college players who are in their senior year, but Generation Adidas players and some international youth players are also available. Generation Adidas players are youth players who signed professional contracts as underclassmen and therefor are NCAA ineligible. Jack Harrison is an example of a youth international player who was also an NCAA player (Wake Forest) for one year but then signed a professional contract before finishing school. Cyle Larin, 2016’s rookie of the year and first pick in the 2015 SuperDraft was also a Generation Adidas player. In fact, every player picked first in the draft since 2003 has been a Generation Adidas player.

Homegrown players are NOT eligible for the MLS SuperDraft? “Homegrown” players that played a few years in an MLS teams’ youth system and have a relationship with that club tend to be ineligible for the draft and just get signed by that club. Jordan Morris is an example of that.

This year the first two rounds of the draft take place on January 13th @ 3pm EST. It’s going down at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and if you’re in the area it’s free to go. The 3rd and 4th rounds of the draft take place via conference call.

Best MLS Prospects for 2017

So who is your club going to pick this year? There’s a ton of options, and every club is going to get a firsthand look at the field during the Adidas MLS player combine at the StubHub Center in Carson, California January 8-12th. The combine pits the best prospects against each-other in a round-robin tournament of games. It’s actually open to the fans and even streamable here. Good work MLS, no sarcasm.

Here’s some names to watch out for in the top 5 picks this year:

Abu Danladi – UCLA: The Ghanian youth is ridiculously fast, a potent striker, and somewhat injury prone. Many are saying he’s the best pick in the draft, but definitely high risk. He was Gatorade Player of the Year in 2013/14. Could be huge for clubs lacking in the striker position. He would have been a top pick last year but he couldn’t get a Generation Adidas deal signed in time so another year at UCLA and here we are. Here’s some highlights:

Jeremy Ebobisse – Duke: This French dude scores goals and creates. He may be even a better pick than Danladi just because he’s more of an all around player. People are comparing him to Bradley Wright Phillips and saying he’s ready to start on an expansion club day one. Here’s some highlights:

Miles Robinson – Syracuse: A 6’2″ Center Back defender who can actually control the ball, this dude’s got a lot of promise. NYCFC could use a player like this big time. He’ll be up there in the picks because he is a problem for offesenes but can settle the ball down and make a pass. This guys very good, and he’s earned some looks from the USMNT scouts. Here’s some highlights:

Shamit Shone – FC Edmonton: You read that correctly, this guy’s already a pro. He’s looking to step it up though at only 19 and move into the American big leagues. He’s a central midfielder who likes to control the ball and work quick passes to unlock defenses. Hard to find highlights for this guy surprisingly, but here’s some clips from a local canadian news source:

Jackson Yueill – UCLA: The creator on UCLA, he’s a midfielder with potential both in the middle as a number 10, like Sacha Kljestan, or on the wing like our boy Jack Harrison. Highlights:

Brandon Aubrey – Notre Dame: A very talented Center Back who also can play defensive midfielder, he’ll be up there on the draft board as long as he doesn’t do something stupid during the combine. He’s 6’4″ and had 9 goals this past year for ND on set pieces. So…He’s huge. In lieu of highlights because I couldn’t find any good ones, here’s his ND Stats and impressive bio: http://www.und.com/sports/m-soccer/mtt/brandon_aubrey_851492.html 

For even more analysis and potential draft positions check out the MLS pages: