Vancouver looking for unheralded talent in Supplemental Draft

Whitecaps FC hold first pick

A week after the media blitz that came with the top pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will again make a first overall draft selection.

This time, though, things will be a whole lot quieter.

The ‘Caps will kick off the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft on Tuesday after the player-acquisition mechanism was reinstated following a two-year hiatus. With rosters expanding to 30 players this coming season, the Supplemental Draft will provide yet another opportunity to add fresh legs.

“For most of the teams, it’s filling some holes,” said Whitecaps FC director of soccer operations Tom Soehn. “But on the other side of it, there’s always going to be a couple players that fall through the cracks and it’s a way of potentially getting them into the league.”

Vancouver are well aware that talented players are sometimes overlooked. Wes Knight, one of the club’s early MLS signings, went undrafted out of the College of Charleston in 2009. He’s since become a fan favorite with Whitecaps FC and will no doubt be in the mix for a starting spot this season.

“It’s never a perfect science,” said Soehn of the drafting process. “Some guys might come from a program where they don’t stand out, but you put them with better players and they shine. You look for enough of the qualities that you think translate to MLS and you put them in a good environment, and hopefully, that translates into someone that can make it at the next level.”

With more of an emphasis on the early stages of the draft for Whitecaps FC at this year’s MLS Player Combine, will they be able to find another diamond in the rough?

“Well, you hope for that,” said Soehn. “It gets harder as you get to the latter rounds, but you hope that you can still find something that’s of value.”

The return of the Supplemental Draft coincided with the elimination of the fourth round of the SuperDraft, and Soehn states that Tuesday is very much a continuation of what happened in Baltimore.

“As you check off guys that you drafted or were drafted by other teams, now you continue to go down your list in order of who you think are the best players and just get ready for the next stage,” he said.