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2015 MLS Draft Top Senior Prospects - by Ben Roth

With the college soccer season concluding this weekend in Cary, North Carolina and many of the MLS offseason drafts underway, it’s time to look at the top prospects for the 2015 MLS Superdraft.  For college players there are three routes to MLS, entering the Superdraft as a senior, signing a Generation Adidas (GA) contract, or signing a homegrown contract.  For the first part of this new College Soccer News 3-part series, we will take a look at the top available SENIORS eligible for this year’s draft.

SENIORS BIG BOARD

  1. Leo Stolz (UCLA):  Stolz, the 2013 Hermann Trophy finalist came into the year with a target on his back, and didn’t disappoint, leading the Bruins into the College Cup.  The playmaker has great vision and an uncanny ability to find his teammates.  For Stolz (9g, 6a), the only negative may be his German citizenship, which will cost team’s an international roster spot.  The 2013 Pac-12 player of the year has the physical intangibles to go along with his technical ability, which makes him a threat to play day one in MLS.  Expect Stolz to be one of, if not the first senior taken in the draft.
  1. Nick Besler (Notre Dame): Known as brother of US national team defender, Matt Besler, Nick has an opportunity to make a name for himself.  The Fighting Irish captain can play as a defensive midfielder or a box-to-box role, much like former teammate Dillon Powers.  Besler has the ability to dominate a game with his engine and positioning.  The 2 time All-ACC first team member should be a lock as a top 10 pick.
  1. Robert Kristo (Saint Louis): Kristo is as pure of a #9 as there comes in college soccer.  Over the course of his career with the Billikens, the two-time All-American recorded a staggering 41 goals and 15 assists.  The 6’4” forward is a natural goal scorer, a style reminiscent to recent MLS draftee and current San Jose Earthquake forward, Mark Sherrod.  Kristo also notched 14 goals this year, a number leading the country in the regular season.  Arguably the best true forward in this year’s draft, Kristo should be a top 10 pick
  1. Eric Bird (Virginia): The Cavalier captain has been dominant these past two years, as the focal point of Virginia’s attack.  Bird (5g, 2a), competing in his second consecutive College Cup is one of the most versatile players in the country, with the ability to play as a striker, winger, or underneath the forward.  Bird, a competitive beast, struggled with injuries at the end of this season, but with a good combine, could find himself in the top half of the first round .
  1. Dan Metzger (Maryland): Metzger may be an interesting name to see here as  many thought the Red Bulls would claim him as a homegrown product, but with his name appearing on the combine invitee list, it seems Metzger will be entering the draft.  The two-year Terrapin captain is a true defensive midfielder with a great engine.  The 2013 College Cup finalist likes to sit in front of the back four and control the game.  Metzger lacks a bit of physical tools, but makes up for it with his soccer IQ.  Metzger will be a first round pick.
  1. Tyler Miller (Northwestern): The top senior goalkeeper in the country, Miller has the size at 6’4” that many teams look for.  The Wildcats net-minder was named Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year while leading the conference in save percentage (85%) and goals against average (.56).  Miller should be the first goalkeeper taken in the draft, depending on if MLS signs Syracuse’s Alex Bono to a Generation Adidas contract.
  1. Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina): Okwuonu, the first defender on the list may come to a surprise to people, like Metzger, due to his homegrown claim.  Many thought Okwuono would be signing with FC Dallas to a homegrown contract, but with his inclusion on the combine list, he will be entering the draft.  The Tar Heels captain is capable of playing anywhere in the backline, a valuable attribute.  The College Soccer News 2nd team All-American may be a bit undersized, but makes up for this with his athleticism and reading of the game.
  1. Oumar Ballo (UMBC):  Prior to the NCAA tournament, Ballo (3g, 1a) and his UMBC team were a bit of an unknown commodity, but with their Cinderella run to the Final Four, Ballo’s stock has risen.  The Retrievers’ center back has pace and is a threat in the air, but may need to work on his ability to play from the back.  With a solid combine, Ballo should find his way into the first round.
  1. Khiry Shelton (Oregon St.):  Shelton, a member of the US youth national team setup, really came into his own this year scoring 10 goals while assisting on 12.  The Beaver forward possesses next level speed, finishing ability, and links well with his teammates.  The 2014 Hermann Trophy semi-finalist also brought a fairly unknown program to the NCAA tournament this year, an impressive feat.  Expect Shelton to be a late first round.
  1. Tim Parker (St. John’s): Parker, a two-time All Big East 1st team selection, might be the most athletic senior on the board.  The Red Storm center back at 6’2”, 190 LBS, has great aerial presence along with the size and pace to keep up with MLS forwards from day one.  Parker, a 2011 Big East Champion is a lockdown defender with qualities reminiscent of MLS veteran, Jamison Olave.  With a solid combine, the St. John’s captain should find his way into the first round.
  1. Andy Thoma (Washington) DEFENDER
  1. Andrew Wolverton (Penn State) GOALKEEPER
  1. Sai Lev-Ari (CSUN) FORWARD
  1. Anthony Manning (Saint Louis) DEFENDER
  1. Otis Earle (UC Riverside) DEFENDER
  1. FataiAlashe (Michigan St) MIDFIELDER
  1. Ramon Martin Del Campo (UC Davis) DEFENDER
  1. Seth Casiple (California) MIDFIELDER
  1. Andy Craven (UNC) FORWARD
  1. Saad Abdul-Salaam (Akron) DEFENDER
  1. Andy Bevin (West Virginia) FORWARD
  1. Connor Hallisey (California) MIDFIELDER
  1. Skylar Thomas (Syracuse) DEFENDER
  1. Laurie Bell (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) MIDFIELDER
  1. Matt Jeffrey (Monmouth) DEFENDER
  1. Adam Montague (Michigan State) FORWARD
  1. Nikko Boxall (Northwestern) DEFENDER
  1. Fabio Machado (Providence) FORWARD
  1. Sergio Campbell (Connecticut) DEFENDER
  1. Earl Edwards (UCLA) GOALKEEPER
  1. Rob Lovejoy (North Carolina) FORWARD
  1. Tyler Arnone (Michigan) MIDFIELDER
  1. Zach Batteer (Stanford) FORWARD
  1. Will Vitalis (Louisville) FORWARD
  1. AdriaBeso (Connecticut) MIDFIELDER
  1. MikiasEticha (Maryland) MIDFIELDER
  1. Jose Ribas (Creighton) DEFENDER
  1. Ignacio Maganto (IONA) MIDFIELDER
  1. Victor Manosalvas (Seton Hall) MIDFIELDER
  1. Lucas Baldin (USF) MIDFIELDER
  1. Ricky Garbanzo (Coastal Carolina) FORWARD

Stay tuned for Part 2 (Generation Adidas), coming soon.


Ben Roth is a contributing writer for College Soccer News.  He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.