MICHAEL HADLEY - Friday, January 18, 2013
The 2013 MLS Super Draft took place Thursday, sending nine young men with US Youth National Team experience into the league.
Chivas USA, drafting second, chose Carlos Alvarez who has seen time with both the US and Mexican U-20 teams. His services were sought out quite publically by Chivas USA's new head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola (aka El Chelis) after the coaching staff and ownership decided to move exclusively toward a team comprised of Spanish-speaking players.
Soon after in the fifth position, Vancouver Whitecaps chose Erik Hurtado, a forward from Santa Clara University, who has seen time with the U-18 team.
FC Dallas chose Walker Zimmerman, a big (6-3, 185lbs) defender from Furman who has played on the U-20 squad.
Ryan Finley (Columbus) and Eriq Zavaleta (Seattle) were taken back to back at nine and ten respectively, both of whom have played various roles on youth teams. Finley is a speedy forward from Notre Dame and is a veteran of the U-17, U-18 and U-20 teams. Zavaleta, just a Sophomore at Indiana, is a member of the U-20 pool.
Taylor Kemp, from the University of Maryland was drafted 17th by DC United, and is another member of the U-20 player pool as is midfielder Ian Christianson who was selected 22nd overall by New York Red Bulls.
The nineth and final selection, Kofi Opare from the University of Michigan, has played with the U-20 team.
Zimmerman and Zavaleta are both Generation Adidas signees, underclassmen who are encouraged to leave school early and pursue careers as professionals in MLS. As members, they classify themselves as professionals and thus cannot return to college as players but are offered scholarships to finish their degrees instead. As GA signees, the pair have also officially signed with Major League Soccer, whereas the remaining seven players - in addition to any drafted non-Generation Adidas player - will negotiate their contracts with the league.
The nine players were drafted by nine different teams, seven of which made the playoffs; Columbus, who signed Finley, finished ahead of Vancouver on total points but a spot out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.