Way back in 2009 the MLS Superdraft was immensely important. Seattle's draft included Steve Zakuani and Mike Fucito in year one. Year two saw David Estrada and Mike Seamon signed. The early MLS Sounders needed the draft. They were young and needed that youth. Zakuani and Fucito were two of the earliest interviews on this blog.
Now, the Sounders are a mature organization bringing up on average three players from the development system to the first team every year. In Seattle, draft picks are competing with talents that skipped college who have already gone to YNT camps and even World Cups.
Additionally, the Sounders draft low. They're taking flyers on talents that help build out the Defiance roster and may eventually compete. Other teams are drafting Seattle's tier three talents, who eventually come back here to sign with the MLS side after succeeding with Defiance – Rothrock beat out Bjørgolfsson and Bowen in 2023.
With MLS expanding draft-eligible players to include juniors and sophomores, as well as certain players from the lower divisions, this year's draft will have an even lower chance of finding immediate help for Seattle.
At this point they're deep enough and drafting low enough that fans will only likely see their draftees (#23, 52, 81) in the black and green of Defiance.
Maybe as interesting as who the Seattle Sounders draft, is who that they raised they could lose. Five players with pasts as part of the Sounders Academy are eligible to be drafted, including current Defiance CB Elias Katsoras.
Ballard FC stars Peter Kingston and Khai Brisco are two of the UW Huskies available. As is Antino Lopez, the Duke CB, and Jamie Lowell, keeper for New Mexico.
And, if those slip through the three-round draft, expect to see them with Defiance, too. Because Seattle's done a strong job of bringing undrafted players in to help maintain their culture of excellence.
Tuesday's draft starts at noon Pacific Time and can be watched on MLS Season Pass.
P.S. Charles Boehm covered the shifts within the league as to how the draft continues to fill out other rosters while continuing to be a path to professionalism in a nation with players who aren't in Academy hotspots. It's a must-read for any fan of an MLS team.
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Catching up on Sounder at Heart
It’s been a busy couple of days, so you may have missed a few updates on your favorite teams:
- Dates for first-ever expanded Club World Cup set for June-July
- Following Craig Waibel’s breadcrumbs
- Realio’s Ratings: Seattle Sounders vs. 2023, #18-#15
- Alyssa Malonson and Elyse Bennett depart OL Reign in NWSL Expansion Draft
- MLS shamefully pulls out of U.S. Open Cup
- Sounder at Heart gift guide
- Getting the most out of your SaH membership
Looking back at the week's news
Another USL Championship team is shuttering; ISC pushes back against MLS leaving the Open Cup
USL Championship Unveils 2024 Regular Season Schedule. The Championship is down to 24 teams as San Diego and now Rio Grande Valley have shuttered. Rhode Island is the only new team this year. Former Defiance CB Eric Kinzner is now a free agent.
ISC Expresses Concern Over Major League Soccer's Decision to Withdraw First Teams From US Open Cup. Several individual groups have also made statements condemning the league for its shameful decision.
Guest Essay From Eric Wahl. Over on Molly Knight's substack, Eric talks about the loss of his brother and one of the top tier soccer journalists in our nation.
‘It just wasn’t possible’: Cavalry commercial director said club desperately wanted to host CONCACAF Champions Cup match in Calgary. Orlando will get a much easier, though longer, road trip in the CCC.
Sources: Houston Dash make Maria Sanchez highest-paid player in NWSL history. With more money in the NWSL than ever before expect deals breaking records to continue being a regular occurance.
Pacific Northwest Soccer
Welcome West Seattle Junction FC; Nico is ECS' player of the year.
New soccer club West Seattle Junction FC to debut next year. Here's one simple way to assist. Junction FC will compete with Ballard for the hearts and minds of adult amateur soccer inside the city of Seattle.
Watch the video celebrating Nico Lodeiro's time with Seattle. He was honored at the ECS end of year party.