Wednesday, January 11, 2012
MLS DRAFT: Local prospects
By Scott French
Chandler Hoffman and Kelyn Rowe aren't going to last very long once the MLS SuperDraft begins Thursday morning, and Luis Silva, Sam Garza, Miguel Ibarra and Andy Rose figure to be nabbed soon after.
They're the big names, but hardly the only ones, among local players aiming for an opportunity with a Major League Soccer team. There are nearly two dozen players who grew up or went to school in Greater Los Angeles hoping to hear their names called in Kansas City.
Some of them, let's be honest, don't have a shot, not with just two rounds of picks -- 38 in all. Next week's supplemental draft will provide possibilities, and players will be looking to participate in team combines and in trials during preseason training.
Some might look abroad -- there are leagues everywhere on the planet -- and there are two professional minor leagues (NASL, USL Pro) and several pro clubs in the Premier Development League and its rival NPSL.
Here's a quick rundown of 22 players who might find a job in MLS, if the right situation develops:
Oscar Aguero (Cal State Fullerton): Attacking midfielder from Anaheim (Katella HS) contributed nine goals and eight assists in three seasons for the Titans. When he'll be drafted: Unlikely it will happen.
Eder Arreola (UCLA): Winger from Chino Hills (Chino Hills HS) was in U.S. U-17 residency and participated in MLS's Player Combine. Was UCLA's No. 3 goalscorer in 2011. When: Late second round possible, supplemental draft likely.
Cesar Diaz Pizzarro (UC Riverside): Forward from Chino (Ayala HS) shared Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors with UCI's Miguel Ibarra, was an all-region pick. When: Unlikely.
Roger Downes (Loyola Marymount): The West Coast Conference's Defender of the Year in 2010, from San Clemente (Santa Margarita Catholic HS), was limited by a foot injury to just seven games last fall. When: Supplemental draft is possible.
Andrew Fontein (UC Irvine): Las Vegas-bred All-Big West goalkeeper won 49 games and posted 24 shutouts and a 0.85 goals-against average in four seasons with the Anteaters. When: Unlikely.
Rafael Garcia (Cal State Northridge): Attacking midfielder from Canoga Park (Canoga Park HS) was the Matadors' chief orchestrator, scoring six goals with nine assists, winning All-Big West honors and participating in the combine. When: Middle to late second round is possible.
Sam Garza (UC Santa Barbara): Texan, who signed a Generation adidas deal following his junior year, is one of the top wingers in the draft. When: Middle of the first round.
Luis Gonzalez (Cal Poly Pomona): All-American forward from Long Beach (Millikan HS/Cerritos College) scored 26 goals with 14 assists in two seasons for the Broncos after netting 51 goals in two JC seasons. He has the game, but is he on the radar? When: Unlikely.
Christian Hernandez (UC Irvine): Hard-working forward from Palmdale (Palmdale HS) led the Anteaters with 10 assists. When: Unlikely.
Chandler Hoffman (UCLA): All-American junior forward from Birmingham, Ala., scored 18 goals to lead the Bruins to the NCAA final four, signed a Generation adidas deal. When: Possibly a top-3 pick, certainly gone early in the first round.
Miguel Ibarra (UC Irvine): Silky-skilled attacking midfielder/winger from Lancaster (Lancaster HS) was a first-team All-American, led Anteaters with nine goals, totaled 18 assists in two seasons. Participated in the combine. When: Early to mid-second round possible.
Artur Jozkowicz (Loyola Marymount): Polish-born forward from Santa Monica (Santa Monica HS) led the Lions in scoring as a junior and senior. When: Unlikely.
James Kiffe (UC Santa Barbara): The Big West Conference Defender of the Year, from Santa Barbara (San Marcos HS), was among a decent-sized group of left backs at the MLS Combine. When: Late second round possible, supplemental certain if not.
Logan McDaniel (Loyola Marymount): Forward/midfielder from Palmdale (Quartz Hill HS) had 10 assists for a balanced LMU attack the past two seasons. When: Unlikely.
Nick Posthuma (Cal State Fullerton): Forward from Pasadena (St. Francis HS) scored nine goals as a junior All-Big West selection, wasn't as productive last fall. When: Unlikely.
Andy Rose (UCLA): Englishman anchored the Bruins' midfield, and can play on the backline, too. Coming off a strong combine performance. When: Late first round or any time in the second round.
Brian Rowe (UCLA): Second-team All-American goalkeeper from Eugene, Ore., posted 12 shutouts in 2011, is seen as one of the top three netminders in the draft. Participated in the combine. When: Unlikely.
Kelyn Rowe (UCLA): 2010 All-American/2011 Pac-12 Player of the Year/U.S. youth national teams veteran is one of the most dynamic attackers in the draft. He led UCLA with 10 assists last fall, signed a Generation adidas contract following his sophomore season. When: Anywhere from the No. 5 to the No. 12 pick.
Shawn Singh (UCLA): Steady left back from Bakersfield was an MLS combine participant. When: End of the second round conceivable, but supplemental draft is likelier.
Daniel Steres (San Diego State): Defender from Calabasas (Calabasas HS) was a first-team All-West Region choice. When: Second round possible, supplemental draft likely.
Jimmy Turner (UC Irvine): Versatile senior midfielder/defender from Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo) was a four-year starter for the Anteaters, developed in part by former U.S. national team captain Thomas Dooley. When: Supplemental draft possible.
Kevin Venegas (Cal State Fullerton): Versatile forward from Lakewood (Los Alamitos HS) was a first-team All-Big West selection after leading the Titans with six goals and six assists. When: Unlikely.