2017 MLS SuperDraft

Robinson fills positional need at SuperDraft, has few more in mind

Robbo, Nerwinski, Bobby - superdraft

LOS ANGELES, CA – Carl Robinson filled a positional need with the seventh pick in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft. Now, he has a couple more in mind.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC used their first-round pick to select right back Jakob Nerwinski, further solidifying the position after acquiring MLS vet Sheanon Williams earlier in the offseason.

“I think he’s ready to play now,” Robinson said of Nerwinski.

Nerwinski, who had the fastest 30-metre dash at this week’s MLS Combine, described himself as an athletic player who likes to get up and down the line. He had five goals and 17 assists in 75 starts during his time at the University of Connecticut. The hope is that the 22-year-old will at the very least provide cover for Williams, if not push him for starting minutes.

INTERVIEW: 'Caps SuperDraft pick Jakob Nerwinski. #VWFC#SuperDraftpic.twitter.com/aNaFwMVTNx

— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) January 13, 2017

Addressing the right back position was a priority for the ‘Caps this offseason after a year in which they conceded the second most goals in the Western Conference. They can check that off the list after Friday, but Robinson knows that there are still a couple “holes to fill” in the “forward areas.”

And he said the intention is to fill those holes with a little more experience, which is why the ‘Caps focused their attention elsewhere on Friday, also drafting centre back Francis de Vries.  

“We know that 9 and 10 are two key areas we need to try and address,” he told reporters. “After numerous conversations, and numerous names mentioned to us, we think we’re close and suddenly the parameters change and things like that. On a daily basis, we’re looking at names. We know those are the two areas that we do need to strengthen. Hopefully sooner rather than later it will be addressed.”

Ideally, Robinson said he’d like to get a new signing over the line by the start of training camp, but that’s not necessarily a guarantee. The ‘Caps, for example, didn’t sign former Designated Player and captain Pedro Morales until the first week of March in 2014.

“We’d like someone in by the start of camp, but that’s not just in our hands,” Robinson said. “It’s obviously the players’ hands, the agents’ hands, and the other clubs’ hands. We’re continuing to monitor a number of situations.”

The ‘Caps depart for Wales on January 23 to officially kick off the 2017 preseason. Robinson confirmed on Friday that Whitecaps FC will play exhibition matches against EFL Championship sides Cardiff City and Bristol City FC, EFL League One side Oxford United FC, and possibly English Premier League club Swansea City AFC. These teams will field a mix of U-23s and first-team players.

Robinson also said he’ll have a look at “one or two” UK-based players while in Wales.

“We’ll have a look at a couple of guys there that are coming back from injuries and have not got clubs,” he said. “There’s been numerous requests. We’re only going to bring them in if we feel there’s a possibility we sign them or we’re interested in them.”

Rounds three and four of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft will be held via conference call on Tuesday.

Robinson fills positional need at SuperDraft, has few more in mind -