VANCOUVER, BC - What qualities will Christian Dean, Andre Lewis and Mamadou Diouf bring to Vancouver Whitecaps FC next season and beyond? What are their biggest strengths? Could they make an immediate impact in Major League Soccer?
The people need answers, and we've got them.
MLSsoccer.com spoke to some scouts and coaches who have seen Dean, Lewis and Diouf play on multiple occasions and we've compiled what they had to say about Whitecaps FC's 2014 SuperDraft selections.
We also asked Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson for his thoughts on each of the picks.
CHRISTIAN DEAN (3RD OVERALL)
Watch Whitecaps FC centre back Christian Dean in action
Robinson: “Christian is a fantastic athlete. I think it was clear for everyone to see at the combine as well as throughout the college season that he was a fantastic prospect. I saw that in the combine and I was delighted that he fell to three, I didn’t think he would and I wasn’t going to turn that opportunity down. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s got a good head on his shoulders. Entwined already in the talented group of youngsters you’ve got, he could have a massive future.”
MLSsoccer.com scouting report: "Skilled left-footed centerback ... Athletic player, great frame, natural left foot ... Unreal feet. His touch on the ball is like someone who's 5-foot-6 and yet he's 6-foot-4 ... He's strong and can run like a deer ... Can cover a lot of ground ... Can hit a ball over distance on a dime. Played left winger at the youth academy level and he can go forward, attack and clips great balls ... Has a tendency to overplay out of the back ... He's an MLS player... With time and space he has beautiful distribution ... Physically he's massive. Good pace, strong and competitive ... More of a centerback in MLS because it takes the defending out of the equation ... With time and space, he can spray ball very well as a centerback ... Good getting forward and combining ... He is hard to get around."
ANDRE LEWIS (7TH OVERALL)
Watch Whitecaps FC midfielder Andre Lewis in action
Robinson: “He reminds me a lot of Kekuta Manneh who we picked in the draft last year. He had something special, and I saw that in Andre. I was a little bit weary that at seven, he might get picked up before. We took a chance on him. I think he’s got a fantastic football brain. He’s got a fantastic understanding of the game for someone so young and he was a prospect that we wanted to make sure we got on board.”
MLSsoccer.com scouting report (from Simon Borg and Matthew Doyle): "Stood out at first for being tiny out there [at the MLS Player Combine]. Stood out immediately after that for his skill and toughness on the ball. He's got a great first touch and is elusive as all get-out, but what made scouts (and us) take notice is that even when he had to take a hit – or two – he maintained possession and made a play. He's much stronger than he looks, and wasn't getting bullied by guys who had upwards of 40 pounds on him."
MAMADOU DIOUF (30TH OVERALL)
Watch Whitecaps FC striker Mamadou Diouf in action
Robinson: “First of all he’s a great guy. Sitting down with him and speaking to him, he’s very humble and he’s honoured to be a footballer. He just wants a chance at the professional level and once we picked him the first few words out of his mouth let me know that that was the right decision. He’ll get a chance. I see him as a centre forward or a wider player. He’s got fantastic quick feet for a big guy, and he’s a diamond in the rough.”
MLSsoccer.com scouting report: "Dynamic and electric attacker when he gets the ball. Next-level electricity player who's best as one of the three in a 4-2-3-1 where he can find a gap or hole to run in behind people ... Struggled to find the game at times, so he needs to stay involved ... He has enough tools that someone needs to bring him into their system ... He can score. He's opportunisitc. He can pounce on a mistake ... He's a better second forward ... He can be a winger, play underneath or play high ... Good feet, very fast, very good air. Great technique and can flat out run ... Can play on flank and up top. Unpredictable ... Can do 1-v-1 stuff and pretty good in attacking end."
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