While we may not know exactly when the MLS season will begin, the first major event of the league's 2021 campaign kicked off this week.
When will the 2021 MLS SuperDraft take place?
The 2021 MLS SuperDraft was on Thursday January 21 as clubs whadtheir selection from a list of 176 eligible players joining the league from the college ranks. This year's draft was unlike any that have preceded it, with teams facing new challenges when it comes to scouting players after the coronavirus pandemic halted a large part of the 2020 fall college campaign.
Also adding to this year's event was the inclusion of Austin FC, the league's newest franchise which will continue their roster-building process with the first overall selection. The club already has Paraguayan star Cecilio Dominguez as a Designated Player as well as MLS veterans like Matt Besler, Alex Ring, Nick Lima and Ben Sweat.
Which players were chosen during the 2021 MLS SuperDraft?
With the first overall pick, Austin selected Daniel Pereira, bucking the expectations of many experts. Clemson's Philip Mayaka and Wake Forest's Calvin Harris were widely projected to be the candidates for the top spot, but the expansion franchise provided a surprise by opting for Virginia Tech product Pereira.
Harris ended up going second overall to FC Cincinnati while Mayaka, projected to be the top overall pick by most mock drafts, fell to the Colorado Rapids at three.
D.C. United finished off the with back-to-back picks, adding Clemson forward Kimarni Smith and Wake defender Michael DeShields to their squad
Defender Ethan Barlow and Bret Halsey were selected next, joining the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake, respectively, with a series of three forwards then concluding the first 10 pics.
Georgetown's Derek Dodson was chosen by Orlando, Akron's David Egbo will head to Vancouver to join the Whitecaps and Inter Miami added Indiana forward Josh Penn.
How did the 2021 MLS SuperDraft work?
The 2021 draft had three rounds, with Austin holding the first pick of each round with the ensuing selections determined by 2020 finishes. As always, teams were able to trade their picks, with the Philadelphia Union opting to cash in on all of their picks in a trade with Nashville SC.
After the draft, pre-signed seniors, Generation adidas players and select others will be able to join up with their new teams for the 2021 preseason. Others, meanwhile, may continue to compete for their colleges before reporting to their MLS club in late May as several schools continue to eye Spring 2021 games following the upheaval of the Fall 2020 college soccer season.
2021 MLS SuperDraft Round 1
|1||Austin FC||Daniel Pereira||Midfielder||Virginia Tech|
|2||FC Cincinnati||Calvin Harris||Forward||Wake Forest|
|3||Houston Dynamo||Philip Mayaka||Midfielder||Clemson|
|4||D.C. United||Kimarni Smith||Forward||Clemson|
|5||D.C. United||Michael DeShields||Defender||Wake Forest|
|6||Houston Dynamo||Ethan Barlow||Defender||Washington|
|7||Real Salt Lake||Bret Halsey||Defender||Virginia|
|8||Orlando City||Derek Dodson||Forward||Goergetown|
|9||Vancouver Whitecaps||David Egbo||Forward||Akron|
|10||Inter Miami||Josh Penn||Forward||Indiana|
|11||Austin FC||Freddy Kleeman||Defender||Washington|
|12||San Jose Earthquakes||Thomas Williamson||Forward||California|
|13||New York Red Bulls||Luther Archimede||Forward||Syracuse|
|14||Los Angeles FC||Daniel Trejo||Forward||Cal State Northridge|
|15||FC Dallas||Nicky Hernandez||Midfielder||SMU|
|16||LA Galaxy||Josh Drack||Forward||Denver|
|17||Minnesota United||Justin McMaster||Forward||Wake Forest|
|18||Minnesota United||Nabilai Kibunguchy||Defender||Cal Davis|
|19||Orlando City||Rio Hope-Gund||Defender||Georgetown|
|20||Nashville SC||Irakoze Donasiyano||Forward||Virginia|
|21||Austin FC||Aedan Stanley||Defender||Duke|
|22||Orlando City||Brandon Hackenberg||Defender||Penn State|
|23||Vancouver Whitecaps||Javain Brown||Defender||South Florida|
|24||New England Revolution||Edward Kizza||Forward||Pittsburgh|
|25||Toronto FC||Matt Di Rosa||Midfielder||Maryland|
|26||Inter Miami||Aime Mabika||Defender||Kentucky|
|27||Columbus Crew||Justin Malou||Defender||Clemson|
2021 MLS SuperDraft Round 2
|28||Austin FC||Daniel Steedman||Forward||Virginia|
|29||FC Cincinnati||Avionne Flanagan||Defender||South Florida|
|30||Houston Dynamo||Kristofer Strickler||Forward||Virginia Tech|
|31||Atlanta United||Josh Bauer||Defender||New Hampshire|
|32||D.C. United||Logan Panchot||Midfielder||Stanford|
|33||Chicago Fire||Jackson Ragen||Defender||Michigan|
|34||Real Salt Lake||Elijah Amo||Forward||Louisvill|
|35||LA Galaxy||Preson Judd||Forward||Denver|
|36||Nashville SC||Tom Judge||Defender||James Madison|
|37||Inter Miami||Joseph Hafferty||Defender||Oregon State|
|38||Minnesota United||Sean O'Hearn||Defender||Georgetown|
|39||San Jose Earthquakes||George Asoman||Midfielder||NC State|
|40||New York Red Bulls||Lamine Conte||Midfielder||Louisville|
|41||Los Angeles FC||CC Uche||Defender||Ohio State|
|43||Portland Timbers||Dawson McCartney||Midfielder||Dartmouth|
|44||New York City FC||Ben Di Rosa||Defender||Maryland|
|45||Toronto FC||Nathaniel Crofts||Forward||Virginia|
|46||Vancouver Whitecaps||Eric Iloski||Midfielder||UCLA|
|47||Chicago Fire||Christian Pinzon||Forward||Cal State Fullerton|
|48||FC Dallas||Colin Shutler||Goalkeeper||Virginia|
|49||Orlando City||Andrew Pannenberg||Goalkeeper||Wake Forest|
|50||Sporting KC||Matt Constant||Defender||North Carolina|
|51||New England Revolution||Francis Dulysse||Defender||Manhattan College|
|52||Columbus Crew||Joshua Jackson-Ketchup||Defender||Ohio State|
|53||Vancouver Whitecaps||Joel Harrison||Defender||Michigan|
|54||FC Cincinnati||Jonas Fjeldberg||Midfielder||Dayton|
2021 MLS SuperDraft Round 3
|55||Austin FC||Noah Lawrence||Goalkeeper||Ohio State|
|56||FC Cincinnati||Matthew Vowinkel||Forward||Hofstra|
|57||Houston Dynamo||Brandon Terwege||Defender||SMU|
|59||Atlanta United||Auden McFadden||Midfielder||Notre Dame|
|60||Chicago Fire||Mitch Guitar||Midfielder||Wisconsin|
|61||Real Salt Lake||Aris Briggs||Forward||Georgia State|
|63||CF Montreal||Giuseppe Barone||Midfielder||Michigan|
|64||Toronto FC||Paul Rothrock||Midfielder||Georgetown|
|66||San Jose Earthquakes||PASS|
|67||New York Red Bulls||AJ Marcucci||Goalkeeper||Connecticut College|
|68||Los Angeles FC||Alvaro Quezada||Forward||UC Irvine|
|70||Portland Timbers||Diego Guttierez||Forward||Creighton|
|71||New York City FC||Vuk Latinovich||Midfielder||University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee|
|72||Toronto FC||Jon-Talen Maples||Midfielder||SMU|
|73||Nashville SC||Sondre Noreheim||Defender||Syracuse|
|74||Nashville SC||Tor Saunders||Goalkeeper||Coastal Carolina|
|75||FC Dallas||Thibaut Jacquel||Defender||Campbell|
|76||FC Dallas||Mark Salas||Defender||UNC|
|77||Sporting KC||Jamil Roberts||Forward||Marshall|
|78||New England Revolution||PASS|
|79||FC Dallas||Giovanni Montesedeoca||Forward||UNC|
|80||Seattle Sounders||TJ Bush||Goalkeeper||James Madison|
|81||New York Red Bulls||PASS|
2021 MLS SuperDraft Compensatory Picks
|84||Real Salt Lake||Rene White||Forward||New Jersey Institute of Technology|
|86||Nashville SC||Leroy Enzugusi||Forward||Drake|