2022 MLS SUPERDRAFT BIG BOARD
The MLS SuperDraft takes place this Tuesday, following a hybrid spring/fall college season and the MLS College Showcase, which has given clubs plenty of matches to evaluate this year’s top prospects.
MLS has signed 8 underclassmen to Generation Adidas (GA) deals, meaning they’ll likely go in the top half of the first round due to them being essentially a free player on the roster. Those GA signees paired with a solid group of seniors, makes this draft class an intriguing one for teams looking to bolster their squads ahead of preseason, which starts next week.
Expansion side, Charlotte FC is on the clock and looks to find a key piece to their roster, as Austin FC did with their #1 selection, Daniel Pereira in 2021. The media hype around the SuperDraft has certainly dwindled over the years, but the likes of recent picks Daryl Dike, Tajon Buchanan & Alistair Johnston, show there’s still a big importance on the event for clubs that scout the college game intently.
College Soccer News takes a look at the top 40 prospects eligible for the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, with a mock draft to drop later this week.
2022 MLS SUPERDRAFT BIG BOARD
#1. Ousseni Bouda – Stanford – Forward – Generation Adidas
The Cardinals forward can play as winger or as a lone striker and has been on the GA radar for the past two seasons. His ability to unbalance defenders at pace and score in a variety of ways makes him the choice for Charlotte, if they’re choosing the player with the highest upside. Regardless, expect Bouda to go top 5 in the draft and be a valuable MLS player immediately, if he can stay healthy.
#2. Ben Bender – Maryland – Center Mid – Generation Adidas
Bender, a silky left-footed midfielder had an impressive year with the Terps, winning Big Ten Midfielder of the Year. His domestic status to go along with his playmaking ability should make him a top 5 pick. Expect Bender to be able to earn spot minutes in year one, while being a long term contributor as a box-to-box midfielder.
#3. Roman Celentano – Indiana – Goalkeeper – Generation Adidas
Celentano, the Hoosiers shot-stopper will look the be the highest GK drafted since Andre Blake (#1 overall in 2014). The Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year has excellent reflexes and has thoroughly improved his kicking and footwork throughout his career. Expect Celentano to be a top 10 pick and earn minutes in MLS Next Pro, before ascending to an MLS starter in the coming years.
#4. Kipp Keller – Saint Louis – Center Back – Generation Adidas
The Billikens center back found his way into the GA conversation with an impressive senior season and a good showing at this years’ MLS showcase. Keller is composed on the ball with good defensive instincts, and should be capable of being a third choice CB in year one. This draft class is full of domestic center backs, but Keller’s GA status should make him the first defender off the board and likely a top 5 pick.
#5. Patrick Schulte – Saint Louis – Goalkeeper – Generation Adidas
Schulte, a former YNT standout, should find his way into the top 10. He’s an obvious candidate to be a third choice GK in year one, while earning minutes in the MLS NextPro league this year.
#6. Thor Ulfarsson – Duke – Forward – Generation Adidas
Ulfarsson, an Icelandic forward, won ACC Offensive Player of the Year to vault his name into the GA conversation. Similar in style to MLS vet Fabian Herbers, Thor has the quality to make a difference in MLS, but his international status, may hinder him long term, unless he can make an impact in his first couple seasons. Expect the Blue Devils goal scorer to be a top 10 pick.
#7. Erik Centeno – Pacific – Right Back – Generation Adidas
The freshman winger from Sacramento Republic’s academy likely projects as an outside back in MLS. He has the pace and crossing quality to trouble opposing back lines, though he’ll need to work on his defensive positioning.
#8. Isaiah Parker – Saint Louis – Winger – Generation Adidas
Parker, a left-sided winger, snuck his way into the GA class with an impressive freshman campaign. He has the speed and aggressiveness to be a nuisance to any defender, but will need to work on his finishing ability in the final third to play significant minutes in year 1.
#9. Ryan Sailor – Washington – Center Back
Sailor, an imposing center back, helped guide the Huskies to a College Cup final, and has the pace and defensive acumen to stick in MLS. There are questions regarding his agility and passing range, but his aerial ability and recovery speed alone, should have him picked in the top 10.
#10. Simon Becher – Saint Louis – Forward
Becher, the fourth Billiken on this list, is a forward with loads of goals in him, but will need to work on his frame and get proper service to succeed in this league.
#11. Sofiane Djeffal – Oregon State – Center Mid
Djeffal, the top international senior in this draft class, has quality in all facets of his game, but will need to show he has the defensive prowess to make it as an international midfielder in MLS. Expect a team to take a flier on Djeffal in the first round, as he is a top 5 talent.
#12. Kendall Burks – Washington – Right Back
Burks is a center back who had to play right back for the Huskies this season. He’s one of the top athletes in this draft and likely fits best as a right-sided center back in a back 5. Burks has been trialing in England ahead of the draft, but a team will likely take him early, if he’s not signing overseas.
#13. Farai Mutatu – Michigan State – Forward
Mutatu is a right sided winger, who has very good 1v1 ability and a nose for goal. Expect him to be a mid to late first round selection.
#14. Ahmed Longmire – UCLA – Center Back
Longmire, an athletic center back, who missed most of the year due to injury is a first round talent and has the intangibles to make an MLS roster
#15. Justin Rasmussen – Grand Canyon – Left Back
#16 – Jasper Loeffelsend – Pittsburgh – Right Back
#17. Matthew Nocita – Navy – Center Back
#18. Esai Easley – Grand Canyon – Center Back
#19. Lucas Bartlett – St. John’s – Center Back
#20. Daniel Munie – Indiana – Center Back
#21. Will Meyer – Akron – Goalkeeper
#22. Philip Quinton – Notre Dame – Center Back
#23 – Paulo Lima – Providence – Defensive Mid
#24. Charlie Ostrem – Washington – Center Back
#25. Brett St. Martin – Maryland – Right Back
#26. Kyle Holcomb – Wake Forest – Forward
#27. Laukoa Santos – San Diego State – Right/Left Back
#28. Mohamed Omar – Notre Dame – Center Mid
#29. Luka Gavran – St. John’s – Goalkeeper
#30. Kingsford Adjei – Dayton – Winger
#31. Carlo Ritaccio – Akron
#32. O’Vonte Mullings – FGCU – Forward
#33. Jack Lynn – Notre Dame – Forward
#34. Milo Yosef – Marshall – Forward
#35. Tyrone Mondi – Oregon State – Winger