MLS SuperDraft

Built In The Black & Gold | Everything You Need To Know About The MLS Superdraft 2023

With the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield still at the top of everyone’s mind for the Black & Gold this Holiday Season, there is still business to conduct as LAFC heads toward the 2023 season. 

Kicking off the MLS offseason calendar, the 24th Major League Soccer SuperDraft, presented by adidas, will be held on Dec. 21, 2022 at 2 p.m. PT. 

Consisting of three rounds of player selection, the single-day draft is set by the reverse order of club standings at the end of the 2022 MLS season - with postseason performance taken into account. St. Louis CITY SC, the most recent expansion club to join MLS, is slated atop the 2023 selection order. 

Exchanging their first-round selection for an international roster slot via trade with Vancouver in 2020, LAFC enters the SuperDraft with only two selections - slated at No. 58 (second round) and No. 87 (third round) overall. Of the league’s 232 unlocked international roster slots, Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini occupy two on the Black & Gold roster.

While the SuperDraft was initiated as the premier pathway to MLS, the annual event now complements the Club’s bolstering academy system with the player pool focused on U.S. collegiate stars. Despite the majority signing to Club NextPro teams in 2022, MLS saw 28 SuperDraft selections sign to the First Team of many clubs. 

Historically-noted draft selections within the league include Taylor Twellman, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Graham Zusi. These players serve as a great reminder of the collegiate caliber potentially available in the draft, considering each also represented the U.S. in the FIFA World Cup.  

Within the Black & Gold coaching ranks, LAFC Assistant Coach Ante Razov was the 27th overall selection in the 1996 MLS College Draft. Razov ranks No.6 (tied) for total goals in MLS history (114).

So, how does it work? Who are the prospects? And who could potentially be built in the Black & Gold?  

Let’s get into it.

How does the SuperDraft work?

Teams have four minutes to select in each round. In addition to a ten-minute intermission break occurring at the end of each round, each team will be granted one timeout to be used at any point during the SuperDraft. Timeouts are three minutes in length, and the team must make the selection at the conclusion. Two consecutive team timeouts cannot occur.

Who can be drafted in the SuperDraft?

Eligible prospects for the MLS SuperDraft comprise of Generation adidas Players and American collegiate athletes who have completed and/or waived college eligibility (NCAA/NAIA) when contractually signing to a domestic professional league.

Generation adidas is a joint venture between MLS and adidas, allowing league contract availability to top-performing underclassmen. Generation adidas contracts are not accounted for in Club salary as an effort to aid player development within the collegiate system.

A full list of draft-eligible players can be found here.

A look back at the Black & Gold in the SuperDraft:

Since entering MLS in 2018, Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington has selected 14 prospects to the Black & Gold.

2022: The Black & Gold first-round selection was sent to Colorado in exchange for a 2022 international roster slot and General Allocation Money (GAM). Midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye was also included in the package. Their second-round selection was dealt to Nashville as part of a 2020 Allocation Ranking package to elevate to the No.1 Allocation Ranking in MLS that season. The Club traded their Round 3 selection to FC Dallas in exchange for Cal Jennings, a forward selected 17th overall in the 2020 SuperDraft.

2021: Entering the Draft with their highest non-expansion selection, LAFC chose Danny Trejo, the Cal-State Northridge standout with the 14th overall selection. Prior to signing to the first team in 2022, Trejo logged 970 minutes and four goals in 16 appearances with USL affiliate Las Vegas Lights. Prioritizing midfielder depth, LAFC drafted C.C. Uche out of Ohio State (No. 41) and Alvaro Quezada at No. 68. 

2020: With four picks in hand, LAFC selected Paulo Pita 24th overall, a goalkeeper out of Marshall. Midround selections Jack Hallahan (No. 50) and Jorge Gonzalez (No. 76) continued the push for midfielder depth. Holding the 102nd overall selection, LAFC chose Younes Boudadi (Creighton) in the last of a four-round format.

2019: Holding the No.16 overall pick, LAFC traded the first-round choice to FC Cincinnati in 2019. With the No. 40 selection, LAFC drafted Peter-Lee Vassell followed by Javier Perez (No. 64). With the final draft selection, LAFC chose Kevin Mendoza out of Liberty at No. 73 overall.

2018: LAFC made four selections in its inaugural SuperDraft. João Moutinho was selected No. 1 overall out of the University of Akron, followed by Tristan Blackmon (University of the Pacific) with the No. 3 overall pick. The No. 24 selection found prospect Pol Calvet Planellas heading out west from Pitt and Jordan Jones (No. 47) from Oregon State University.

The SuperDraft will broadcast Round 1 on, with simulcasts of Club selections also found streaming live on the MLS App, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Pre-Draft coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. PT.

LAFC will open the 2023 season against the LA Galaxy on Sat. Feb. 25 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

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