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MLS SuperDraft 2020: Skyping with Beckham and more highlights

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community news, MLS SuperDraft 2020: Skyping with Beckham and more highlights

As each year passes, there seems to be less and less that’s “super” about MLS’s SuperDraft, the mechanism that allows college seniors and select underclassmen to enter the league.

College soccer’s role as a talent developer and provider has diminished in the changing landscape, as teams turn to their own academies for youth prospects and place more emphasis on the global market to find top players. The Philadelphia Union, for instance, traded out of Thursday’s two-round festivities altogether, making it clear that they view their own youth pipeline as sufficient enough to stock the first team.

There are always players who either prioritize the college experience or are late bloomers or who have just fallen through the cracks of the vast soccer landscape around the country, and that’s why there still can be value to find in the draft. Atlanta United’s Julian Gressel (No. 8 pick, 2017) is the prime recent example of a diamond in the rough that a big-spending team can land to pair with its high-priced talent and form a dynamic combination.

Still, MLS pared down the event considerably in 2020, removing it from the convention center ballroom atmosphere at the annual United Soccer Coaches convention and putting it entirely online. MLS and ESPN teamed to stream the first round with analysis and had reporters on site with a few league executives and picks for a shot at a more light-hearted and engaging social-media-friendly event. The second round was then evidently a conference call conducted at lightning-speed, making it seem like most of the picks were pre-determined, or at the very least conducted with very little thought. 

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