My MLS SuperDraft Experience

My MLS SuperDraft Experience

  • Posted by Geoff Reid
  • On January 20, 2010
  • 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Geoff Reid

Don Garber kicking things off at the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. (Kevin Kinkead for WVHooligan)

By: Geoff Reid

Last Thursday as we all know the yearly draft for the MLS took place and for once it was in a location close to yours truly so I thought I’d take a drive into Philadelphia and see what it was like and share the highlights. Now since the draft, almost every football and blog web site has covered their thoughts on all the picks and what teams had the best and worst, including this very site. While only time will tell to see the true winners and losers in this draft, I’m not going to give my thoughts on the picks, just give an account of the whole experience in general.

Certainly there was no front page news like you would see if the NFL draft was in town or anything like that, but walking through the Pennsylvania Convention Center area was quite remarkable with signs all over the place advertising the SuperDraft and the NSCAA Convention and I personally felt very much at home for the first time in this area seeing so many coaches, players and personnel who were here for football purposes only and having nothing to do with the Eagles, Phillies, or Flyers.

What was also very cool and I had absolutely no idea this was even taking place in Philadelphia either, was the WPS Draft and there were signs for the ballroom where that draft would take place the following day. Of course once I realized all this, it made perfect sense since the NSCAA was in town and I think that this will be the format in the future for years to come. It’s important for people of all ages and genres to come together and promote the game in this country for the greater good and I like the thought of the MLS helping out the WPS. We can already see this by some clubs sharing stadiums.

By the time I found the main ballroom where the draft was being held, it was roughly five minutes before the Union selected Danny Mwanga. Everyone in the room knew who Piotr Nowak and company were going to choose here and while nobody can argue that nothing could top Richard Jata’s speech from last years draft when the Chicago Fire picked him, you had to feel good for Mwanga at how happy he was. You also have to feel that Mwanga should be looking at playing time almost right away depending on how Alejandro Moreno and Sebastien Le Toux look during pre-season. On paper, a Moreno/Mwanga partnership up top sounds very interesting.

Now there was also some very funny tidbits that took place at the draft that were highly amusing:

The banter going on between the Sons Of Ben and what I believe was the Empire Supporters Club from New York. The SOB’s were one side of the ballroom while the ESC were the other side. It’s really hard to believe that New York still has as many fans that showed up after all the years of underachievement the front office have put them through, and the SOB’s were making that very clear, at least that is a kind way of putting it.

La Barra Brava were located right next to the ESC and although outnumbered because of a longer distance of traveling, they made their feelings known and often sided with the SOB’s on some of the banter. The old rule of the enemy of the enemy is my friend rings true here.

When the Columbus Crew drafted Dilly Duka, most of the ballroom was shocked, but then again when the Red Bulls picked Tony Tchani from Virginia you’d figure they lost their chance at drafting him. What was surprising to me was the Union didn’t pick him up. In any event, the ESC singing “he’d rather be a Metro” was quite humorous not only because the Metros don’t exist anymore, but mostly because the few Crew fans that showed up from Ohio had a very interesting response about the Red Bulls/Metros history and sounded so good the SOB’s and La Barra Brava couldn’t resist but to join in!

The next pick New England chose Zack Schilawski from Steve Nicol’s favorite school Wake Forrest and I believe everyone could see this on television when giving his speech thanking the Crew before realizing it was the Revolution who actually drafted him! Looks like Schilawski will be doing a few more laps then his new teammates come pre-season.

The Philadelphia 76ers center Samuel Dalembert is a larger then life person, literally. I couldn’t believe the size of the man. It really hits you when he walks by.

There was some little things I noticed to and please keep this in mind it’s only humor and I mean absolutely no harm in it: Sigi Schmid is also larger then life, Dominic Kineear’s bald patch sticks out a fair distance (I know I can’t talk there!), and Preki is one scary dude when he looks mad up close!

Overall I had a fantastic time at the SuperDraft. It was the first real draft I have been to and wasn’t sure what to expect while still trying to get a grip of how a lot of the American sports landscape works in terms of draft picks, trades, allocation money, salary cap and so on. The SOB’s put on a good voice for the local club. Right now the only thing left to do is for the League and the Players Union to sort out a new CBA so the 2010 season can kick off on time. I’m sure both parties involved understand that the NHL lockout which cancelled the 2004-05 season put Hockey behind and have had major repercussions on the sport since. The league cannot afford a work stoppage at all, that much is clear. It will completely ruin all the hard work done by Commissioner Garber and company over the last 10 years on building specific stadiums, developing the league’s first ever television contract, and jersey sponsorship amongst other things. This is simply put a must.

Editor’s Note: Geoff Reid appears on WVHooligan each week. Feel free to leave him your thoughts and comments below.