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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
MLS DRAFT: 5 locals to watch

By Scott French

There's not a huge contingent of local prospects in Major League Soccer's draft Thursday (ESPN2, 9 a.m.), but at least three (and maybe more) figure to be gone by the time the last of three rounds arrives.

Here are the top five propsects with SoCal roots (and seven more who could slip in):

1. MICHAEL TETTEH (UC Santa Barbara)

The Ghanaian speedster, who went to the Dunn School in Los Olivos, went into the combine as the top-ranked left back, and two subpar outings weren't enough to change that. He's raw, but Tetteh's otherworldy pace and a Generation adidas contract, which means he won't count against roster size nor cap, makes him a coveted prospect.




2. MICHAEL FARFAN (North Carolina)

The former Cal State Fullerton playmaker from Windomar, in Riverside County, is a two-time All-American with U.S. youth national team experience, but there are concerns about how quickly he can raise his game under heavy pressure, and he did himself no favors during the combine. But he's got the skill and there's no denying his body of work in Chapel Hill.

3. MICHAEL BOXALL (UC Santa Barbara)

The New Zealander has extensive experience -- he's already appeared for the Kiwis' national team -- but he appeared to slip down the center-back depth chart with a hit-and-mostly-miss combine. That likely dropped him out of first-round contention, but his play for the Gauchos will aid his cause.

4. HECTOR JIMENEZ (California)

The wing-midfielder from Bell Gardens (Bell Gardens HS) has great touch, combines well and has the skill to create. He enjoyed a solid combine, especially the first two days, with Bears teammate Demetrius Omphroy providing support.

5. RAFAEL BACA (Loyola Marymount)

The midfielder from Lanwndale (Animo Leadership HS) was a surprise omission from the combine, but the former Galaxy U-20 player could be a nice fit for a team looking for a right-sided winger. His coach with the Lions, Paul Krumpe, has no doubts: “He can be a fantastic wide midfielder at the next level. Talk about a guy with a ridiculous amount of workrate. He's solid through and through.”

SEVEN MORE

M Corey Attaway (UC Irvine)/Chino (Chino Hills HS)
D Joel Bagby (UC Irvine)/Huntington Beach (Edison HS)
M/D Gray Bailey (UC Irvine)/Huntington Beach (Huntington Beach HS)
F Tomislav Colic (Vanguard)
*F Davis Paul (California)/Upland (Damien HS)
F Spencer Thompson (UC Irvine)
*F Amani Walker (UC Irvine)

* Attended combine