2012 MLS SuperDraft: Pre-NCAA Tournament Watch List

2012 MLS SuperDraft: Pre-NCAA Tournament Watch List

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 11, 2011
  • 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Andrew Wenger, Chris Rolfe, Darren Mattocks, Features, Generation adidas, Kelyn Rowe, Luis Silva

Duke's Andrew Wenger stands to be one of the top prospects in this year's SuperDraft. (Photo via Duke Athletic Department)

I know I’ve been slacking on my college coverage as of late. But have no fear, my SuperDraft items will really start to kick up in the coming weeks with the start of the NCAA tournament next week. The bracket comes out on Monday and this weekend we will have most of the major conferences finishing up their conference tournaments. So, plenty to watch here while MLS is on break before MLS Cup.

I won’t get into any big board or mock draft yet here. I wanted to basically throw out a list of ten guys that you should be keeping track of because they stand to be first round picks in January’s draft. A lot can and will change between now and then so some of these players could end up sliding off the boards before the Combine too.

So here is my first real watch list for the 2012 MLS SuperDraft (in no particular order).

1. Andrew Wenger (Duke) – Probably one of the most versatile players I’ve seen in years. Last year he was the top defender in the ACC (and possibly one of the tops in the country) and now this year he is scoring goals left and right for the Blue Devils. The junior will likely be a center back or right back in the pros (or even a defensive midfielder depending on who takes him). His attacking qualities though will help put him near or at the top of most club’s lists though. A lot boils down to whether or not he will leave Duke for the SuperDraft though.

2. Kelyn Rowe (UCLA) – The U-20 midfielder is seen as the top prospect in this draft by many around the country. He should be a prime target for a Generation adidas contract and will likely be one of the top three picks. His playmaking abilities are going to make him highly coveted by lots of clubs. A big NCAA tournament will certainly help his stock out.

3. Darren Mattocks (Akron) – Maybe MLS did him and Akron a service by not offering him a GA contract last year. Some said he wasn’t ready for one and luckily for the Zips he came back and has lit up the boards with goals as a sophomore. I know a lot of us had questions as to whether or not he would be able to lead Akron after all the talent that left the team last year but he has risen to the challenge in a big way. My big wonder with him will be if he decides to try to take his game overseas since MLS already kind of turned him down once. We’ll see but either way he should be a top 5 pick if he signs a GA contract this season.

4. Enzo Martinez (UNC) – Another player in line for one of the GA contracts. This junior playmaker has done well to take over for Michael Farfan for the Tar Heels in 2011. He has incredible vision and his set piece abilities have to be high on a lot of folks boards. A big NCAA tournament that takes UNC far will help him rise up the boards.

5. Brian Span (Virginia) – Another sophomore that will be high on a lot of club’s lists. I’d expect him to be in contention for a GA contract as well. He is one of the best wing players in the draft pool right now and given how tough it is to find a quality flank player in this league is – he should land in the first round – if not in the top 10.

6. Eric Schoenle (WVU) – I may be a tad biased on this one since he goes to my alma mater but Schoenle is easily one of the best center backs in the country. He’s big (6-foot-4) and is a major threat on set pieces. It all comes down to whether or not he would leave early from WVU to go to MLS. If he does, he is the first center back taken.

7. Tyler Polak (Creighton) – A left fullback with GA potential. He’s been apart of the US U-17 national team before and has stood out as one of the best fullbacks in the country. Quality left backs (or even right backs for that matter) are tough to come by in MLS so expect him to go high if he signs a GA contract.

8. Luis Silva (UC Santa Barbara) – Another talented attacking midfielder. He was on the GA potential list last year as a junior and now should be one of the top seniors in the draft. I think a strong NCAA tournament and combine could help push him into the top 10 this season.

9. Chris Rolfe (Louisville) – He’s been high on everyone’s list for years now but his senior season hasn’t been quite as good as some expected. The Cards had a lot of hype going into the season and so did Rolfe. He should still be a high draft pick if he signs with the league (though there is still some talk of him going to Europe out there) as long as he addresses concerns over his fitness.

10. Chris Balis (USF) – The lone keeper on my list today, Balis has been stellar this year for the Bulls. He’s a big kid at 6-foot-4, one that covers a lot of the goal. He helped lead South Florida to a strong year in the crowded Big East and I would expect him to be a big part of their NCAA run.