Tim Parker at SuperDraft

Robinson talks all things SuperDraft: 'It's a very important mechanism'

Rounds 1 and 2 of the MLS SuperDraft are set for Thursday at 10 a.m. PT (watch live on whitecapsfc.com). Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the draft.

For more SuperDraft coverage, visit whitecapsfc.com/2016superdraft.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

The ‘Caps own one first-round pick (16th) and two second-rounders (29th and 36th).

PICK

ROUND

HOW ACQUIRED

16th

1

Natural

29th

2

From TFC in exchange for Steven Beitashour*

36th

2

Natural

 * Toronto FC’s second-highest second-round pick

VALUE OF THE DRAFT

So how important is the MLS SuperDraft?

It’s a question that comes up every year and it’s a question that was posed to Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson last week.

“Each year you tend to hear the same thing,” he told reporters. “You tend to hear the draft isn’t as strong as it was last year and it isn’t this, and it isn’t that.”

But Robinson isn’t convinced.

“It’s a very good mechanism for building your squad,” he added.

The ‘Caps have proven that.

Current SuperDraft picks on their roster include Christian DeanJordan HarveyErik HurtadoKekuta MannehDarren Mattocks and Tim Parker, who Robinson snagged at 13th overall last season.

“We’ve had some players that worked out and some players that didn’t work out, but it’s important for us,” Robinson said. “But also important is our Residency program and Homegrown players.”

DRAFT BY POSITION OR BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE?

Ah, the old age question.

Both Robinson and Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi suggested the ‘Caps were still looking to strengthen the attacking areas of the team, as well as the right back position, following the signings of Masato Kudo and Cristian Techera.

That begs the question: will the ‘Caps draft to fill a positional need or simply choose the best player available?

“Who knows what will be available,” Robinson said of the 16th overall pick. “At that split second you have to decide what you’re going to do. I think the positional one is the important one for me to start with that. Having said that, if there’s a player I rated in my top five players that’s available at 16 and my player isn’t available, then certainly I’ll take the best player. So I’ll just sit on the fence with that one.”

TO TRADE OR NOT TO TRADE?

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the ‘Caps could move up or down in the draft, or trade their pick altogether. The last time Vancouver made a splash in the draft was back in 2013, when they traded up to fourth overall to select Manneh.

“We’ll just assess the situation when we’re down there,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a good value of players we know we like. Because where we are in the draft, it’s going to be taken out of our hands slightly. If we feel it’s right to move up, we certainly will without a doubt.”

Lenarduzzi was singing a similar tune when asked about the possibility of a trade.

“The beauty of our situation is that unlike past years when we’ve gone to the draft, I’m not sure we’ve ever been in a position where clubs are seeking players from our club that we might be interested in moving,” Lenarduzzi said. “As a result of that, it gives us a little bit of leverage. We’ll just suggest to all the suitors, ‘Let us know what you can do,’ and we’ll see if any of the offers are something we can take them up on.”

DID YOU KNOW?

Each of the last two MLS Rookies of the Year were Canadians drafted in the MLS SuperDraft: FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele and Orlando City SC forward Cyle Larin.

The top rated Canadian in this year’s draft is midfielder Richie Laryea.

DRAFT CLASS

Laryea is one of seven Generation adidas signings for this year’s draft. Generation adidas players don’t count against a team’s salary budget, making them more attractive to prospective teams.

Most pundits are predicting Georgetown defender Josh Yaro to go first overall.

From MLSsoccer.com:

Julian Buescher | MF | Duelmen, Germany | Syracuse University   
The sophomore midfielder put in a memorable season for the Orange, ending the 2015 season with eight goals and 11 assists on the way to being voted second team NSCAA All-America and selected to the 2015 College Cup all-tournament team. The native of Duelmen, Germany was also voted first team all-ACC and to the ACC all-tournament team.

Jack Harrison | MF | Bolton, England | Wake Forest University
Harrison was the only freshman in the nation to be named an NSCAA First Team All-American and ended the 2015 season with eight goals and 11 assists. The England native, who attended boarding school in Massachusetts, was also named the ACC Offensive Player, Freshman of the Year and to the all-ACC first team.

Fabian Herbers | FW | Ahaus, Germany | Creighton University
Herbers made a name for himself in 2015, finishing as the top leading point scorer with 15 goals and third-best 17 assists nationwide in his junior season. Due to his offensive exploits, Herbers was selected to the NSCAA All-America First Team, claimed the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row, and was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.

Omar Holness | MF | Kingston, Jamaica | University of North Carolina 
Made a total of 17 appearances for North Carolina in his sophomore year, recording one goal and one assist. The young midfielder was named to the 2015 All-ACC Second Team and has made one appearance for the Jamaican national team.

Richie Laryea | MF | Toronto, ON, Canada | University of Akron
The sophomore had a standout season for the Zips, earning an NSCAA third team All-America nod, while also claiming first team All-Mid-American Conference honors. Laryea had a team-best 11 goals on the season and ranked second on the team with seven assists.

Andrew Tarbell | GK | Mandeville, LA | Clemson University
The redshirt junior put in an impressive season for Clemson, earning an NSCAA All-America second team nod and being named to the College Cup all-tournament team. The Louisiana native posted a .792 save percentage and nine shutouts, while his 84 saves led the ACC on the way to being named first team all-ACC.

Joshua Yaro | DF | Santa Barbara, CA | Georgetown University   
The junior defender had another standout season for the Hoyas, being named to the 2015 NSCAA All-America second team. Yaro recorded one assist on the season and was selected as the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and earned a first team All-Big East nod. The native of Kumasi, Ghana, was also honored for his academic achievements after being named a Division I first team NSCAA Scholar All-American.

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