A few days before the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, Tristan Blackmon was bouncing around the social media accounts of MLS teams. As a first-round prospect, the defender out of the University of the Pacific was perusing the work of potential future employers when a piece of content from LAFC's Instagram caught his attention.
"I stumbled upon the Instagram post of either Carlos [Vela] or Walker [Zimmerman] doing it," Blackmon said. "And I remember seeing it and thinking that’s pretty cool."
The it Blackmon alluded to is the cap-tilt videos synonymous with the introduction of LAFC signings. Little did the future No. 3 overall pick know at the time, he'd get his opportunity in just a few days time.
"When João [Moutinho], Bob [Bradley], and I got to do it together, it was an incredible moment and something that I will remember forever," Blackman said of the triple cap-tilt featuring the first two MLS SuperDraftees in Club history and their head coach.
That social media moment at the end of 2018 SuperDraft was one of Blackmon's many surreal moments from a draft day experience.
Blackmon remembered waking early that morning, having breakfast with his parents and brother before heading over to the location of the draft in Philadelphia, and quickly finding his seat before the start of the day's proceedings.
"I remember João getting called up. It was a very cool moment because I was actually on the same team as him at the MLS Combine. I was very excited for him. And then second was Tomas [Hillard-Arce] to the Galaxy. And I’ve known Tomas from playing against him a few times in college," Blackmon said. "So, I was very excited for him as well. When the third pick came up, you kind of had to pause for a bit because there was a trade, so everybody had to wait anxiously for whose name is going to get called. I just remember Don Garber called the name of the school and it was ‘University of the…’ and I had a drop in my stomach because no other school in the nation has a name that starts that way. I just had this feeling.
"And then, obviously, he said ‘of the Pacific’ and from then on it was unreal."
As the only expansion team in the 2018 SuperDraft, LAFC entered the day with the No. 1 overall pick. After selection Moutinho, the Club completed a trade with D.C. United for the third pick and the right to select Blackmon. After hearing his name called, Blackmon was immediately welcomed by the LAFC's traveling support in a boisterous fashion.
"It’s kind of like a shock feeling that you get called. Not even that you called, but just hearing your name is kind of surreal. In that moment, I just remember being so happy and looking at my parents who were next to me," Blackmon said. "And then having my name shouted by the 3252 right when I stood up was incredible. All I can say about it is that it was surreal."
From having his name called by MLS Commissioner Don Garber to taking the stage to speak in front of the SuperDraft crowd, the whirlwind experience of draft day is something Blackmon wouldn't trade for the world. But the now second-year player with LAFC noted to future draftees that after the spectacle of draft day is complete, it's time to get to business.
"If there is one word of advice, I would just say work. Work as hard as you can to establish yourself in the team right away. Because it’s going to be hard. You have guys that have been in the league already that are going to work their tails off when they get there for preseason. So be ready to work. That mean’s taking care of your body, being sharp in training mentally and physically.
"Just be ready."