Louisville and Georgetown—two schools more commonly known for their basketball programs than for soccer—featured prominently in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft as the Cardinals and Hoyas each had three former players selected in Indidanapolis yesterday.
Louisville defender Andrew Farrell (above left) was the No. 1 pick, going to the New England Revolution, which traded up to get him, swapping the No. 4 selection and allocation money to Toronto FC for the first draft position.
Farrell, 20, was born in Kentucky but moved to Peru with his parents, who are missionaries, for 10 years of his childhood. He returned in his teen years and played at Atherton High School in Louisville before joining the recently ascendant Cardinals program.
He’s an athletic defender with decent feet who can play center back or outside back. He also played in midfield for much of his senior season at Louisville. In his junior year, Farrell was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and he was a first-team All-America and Hermann Trophy semifinalist this past season.
Louisville, which reached the final eight of the 2012 NCAA tournament, had two other players selected as midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo went in the second round (27th overall) to Montreal, and defender Greg Cochrane went 38th to Los Angeles. The Cardinals had four players picked in last year’s draft, including MLS Rookie of the Year contenders Nick DeLeon (DC United) and Austin Berry (Chicago).
The Cardinals’ Big East rival Georgetown, which reached the 2012 NCAA final, narrowly losing to Indiana, had a first-round selection in defender Tommy Muller, who went to San Jose with the 15th pick, and two second-rounders in midfielder Ian Christianson (New York, No. 22), and defender Jimmy Nealis (Houston, 37).
After New England selected Farrell, Chivas USA chose Connecticut midfielder Carlos Alvarez at No. 2 (as they said they would), and Toronto FC used the third pick on Boston College midfielder Kyle Bekker, a Canadian U-23 international who showed very well at the MLS Combine in Florida before the draft.
The star-crossed TFC, which has never made the MLS playoffs, did pretty well for itself in the draft, with ex-DC United exec Kevin Payne leading the way. The Reds traded two picks to haul in valuable allocation money, and they got two promising young Canadian players in Bekker and the speedy, versatile Emery Welshman, who can play outside back or striker. As a senior at Oregon State, Welshman (who’s Canadian, despite the surname), bagged 10 goals and four assists.
Other notable developments on Draft Day:
• Vancouver worked a deal with Toronto to obtain the No. 4 pick, which they used to select 18-year-old Gambia native Kekuta Manneh, a speedburner with tremendous upside potential, as Hubie Brown would say. Manneh scored 12 goals in 13 appearances for fourth-tier side Austin Aztex last season. The Whitecaps also added Santa Clara striker Erik Hurtado, another speedster, with the fifth pick.
• Seattle landed well-regarded Indiana striker Eriq Zavaleta, unexpectedly available at No. 10. The former Hoosier can also play defender, and the Sounders plan to use him as a center back, in the wake of Jeff Parke’s departure to Philly.
• The Colorado Rapids had a banner day, signing 22-year-old Chilean international winger Kevin Harbottle (he’s Chilean, honest) before nabbing Jamaican striker Deshorn Brown (University of Central Florida, No. 6 overall), Notre Dame midfielder Dillon Powers (No. 11), and super-athletic Cal-St Bakersfield left back Kory Kindle (No. 25) in the SuperDraft.
The day before the draft, the Rapids traded midfielder Jeff Larentowicz to Chicago for the 11th pick, allocation money, and a 2013 international slot. Larentowicz is the third prominent Rapids player to depart this offseason, following Conor Casey (Philadelphia) and Omar Cummings (Houston).
• Furman defender Walker Zimmerman, a highly touted US youth international projected as a Top 3 pick by most observers, fell to No. 7, where he was picked up by FC Dallas.
• Mikey Lopez, a defensive midfielder from UNC who was tabbed as a cinch for the Top 10, fell to 14, where he was happily collected by Sporting Kansas City.