Preview: Whitecaps FC set for 2014 MLS SuperDraft

Robinson on SuperDraft: "We're in a very good position"

VANCOUVER, BC – With their fourth season in Major League Soccer on the horizon, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will participate in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The first two rounds of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft will take place on Thursday, January 16 at 9 a.m. PT. Fans in Canada will be able to watch the draft live on TSN2. Stay tuned to whitecapsfc.com and our Twitter and Facebook pages for the latest.

As it stands, Whitecaps FC hold seven picks in the four-round draft, including the third and seventh overall selections. The ‘Caps also have one second-round pick, as well as a pair of third and fourth-rounders. The first two rounds of the draft will take place on Thursday, followed by the third and fourth rounds on Tuesday, January 21, via conference call.

WHITECAPS FC SUPERDRAFT PICKS

Pick Round How Acquired
3rd First Acquired from Toronto FC in July 2012
7th First  
30th Second Acquired from Colorado Rapids in January 2012
45th Third  
51st Third Acquired from Seattle Sounders FC in December 2011
58th Fourth Acquired from D.C. United in February 2013
64th Fourth  

This will be Whitecaps FC’s first MLS SuperDraft with head coach Carl Robinson at the helm, though he was involved last year in Indianapolis, Indiana when the ‘Caps selected Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado at fourth and fifth overall respectively.

Last year, the club actually moved up from 10th overall on draft day to select Manneh. And the new ‘Caps manager wouldn’t rule out a possible trade again this time around.

“We’re always open to it,” Robinson told whitecapsfc.com. “The fun doesn’t really get started until maybe about 10 minutes before the actual draft. I’m sure then all the managers and GMs will be on the phone with everyone. We’re in a very good position at the moment. We have two suitable picks and we can pick up two key additions. We’ll just take our time and make sure we make the right decisions.”

One of those decisions will surely be whether to pick the best player available or focus more on a positional need – a question Robinson said has no right or wrong answer.

“We have contingency plans in place for everything,” he said. “We certainly have needs so we’ll be looking at that. But if there’s a best player available in the draft that I think is worthy of taking at that pick, then we’d be silly not to consider that. We’ll review all options but I know in my mind going into the draft what I what to strengthen and who I want to strengthen with.”

The Welshman said he believes the MLS SuperDraft can be a “vitally important” tool in building an MLS club. Every successful MLS team in recent years has acquired key additions through the draft, he added. Just look at last year’s MLS Cup champion, Sporting Kansas City, whose team MVP Graham Zusi was a second-round SuperDraft selection in 2009. Since the first SuperDraft in 2000, there has only been one MLS Rookie of the Year who wasn’t chosen in the draft.

Current Whitecaps FC players acquired through the draft are Manneh, Hurtado, Darren Mattocks, and Omar Salgado, who is hoping to “make a big impact” this season after an injury-plagued 2013. MLS veteran Jordan Harvey was also selected by Colorado Rapids in the 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft, which has since been combined with the main event.

In reality, the SuperDraft is one of the league’s three primary player-acquisition mechanisms – the other two being a club’s academy system and through transfer or trade. In MLS, where there is a salary cap in place to create parity among teams, building through the draft can be a vital strategy to sustain long-term success.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to pick up some talented young players,” Robinson said. "I think everyone knows that we’ve got a great group of young players at Vancouver already. If we get the opportunity to add to that squad already here, you never turn down that. It’s important that you do your homework and if you do, then you might be able to find a little gem.”

Whitecaps FC 2014 season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps are also offering a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.