2017 MLS SuperDraft

Mic'd up: An inside look at Carl Robinson's draft day

LOS ANGELES, CA – It’s about 10:15 a.m. PT when Carl Robinson and his staff arrive at the JW Marriott in Downtown Los Angeles. At the moment, the hotel lobby is littered with coaches, management, and other personalities around Major League Soccer.

They’ve all gathered on the West Coast for the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, which starts in a few hours across the street at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The first order of business, however, is an all-coaches meeting to go over the rules of the day – followed by a coaches photo at 11 a.m.

It’s around that time the coaches are informed that specific dollar amounts will now be disclosed in all trades involving allocation money, as the league attempts to become more transparent for fans and media alike. As expected, the move is celebrated on social media.

As Robinson makes his way back to the draft table, he answers a few questions from Red Nation Online reporter Harjeet Johal who has made the trip from Vancouver.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to pick a good player,” Robinson says. “We don’t just base it on the combine. We’ve always done our homework in relation to the college season. There are some exciting prospects out there. It just depends which way it unfolds and if we get our preferred choice.”

“Going to trade the pick?” Johal asks.

“It’s a possibility,” Robinson responds with a laugh.

Mic'd up: An inside look at Carl Robinson's draft day -

There are certainly no shortage of discussions.

The ‘Caps are considering trading into the top five, as well as potentially moving down. One team they talk to is Chicago Fire, who own the third overall pick.

“They’re going to wait to see who’s there at number three,” says Whitecaps FC vice-president of soccer operations Greg Anderson. “If their guy is gone, then they’ll be open to trading it. They’ve got lots of offers. [Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez] said there are teams above you and teams below you that are asking … we’ll see.”

A little later, Rodriguez asks if a player can be included in the deal.

“Not any of our starters,” Robinson says.

The ‘Caps decide to stand pat.

“We’re better off probably staying where we are, picking the guy that we want, and getting out,” Robinson concludes.

Eventually, the draft gets underway just after noon. Minnesota, who some on the draft floor believed had dealt their number one overall pick, select forward Abu Danladi to get the ball rolling. Centre back Miles Robinson goes next to fellow expansion side Atlanta United FC.

Now, it’s Chicago’s turn.

Commissioner Don Garber steps up to the podium and announces that Chicago has traded the pick to New York City FC for $250,000 in allocation money. New York proceeds to select Jonathan Lewis.

“Now, the question is, do we trade down?” Anderson says.

Meanwhile, the draft rolls on. At one point, the ‘Caps are offered $100,000 in allocation money for their seventh overall pick. Another team also inquires. But the ‘Caps don’t want to lose the opportunity to draft right back Jakob Nerwinski by moving too far down.

In the end, they decide to make the pick.

Mic'd up: An inside look at Carl Robinson's draft day -

“Listen, I play young players,” Robinson tells Nerwinski after his speech. “So it’s a great opportunity for you. Character wise, brilliant, spot on. And you did yourself a lot of favours in the combine. Excellent. Really looking forward to getting you on board.”

As Robinson walks across the draft floor, the team that made an offer for the seventh overall pick informs the ‘Caps boss that they were going to select Nerwinski.  

“That’s who they were taking,” Robinson informs his staff. “He wasn’t going to drop down.”

Mic'd up: An inside look at Carl Robinson's draft day -