Insider Matt Gaschk's 2013 MLS SuperDraft Preview continues with a look at the defenders (photo by IU Athletics).
Each few years in the MLS SuperDraft, there tends to be a group of starting-caliber defenders that can step into MLS right away and contribute.
Last year, Austin Berry earned MLS Rookie of the Year honors as a center back for the Chicago Fire while Matt Hedges was also a strong contributor for FC Dallas and Tommy Meyer stepped in for AJ De La Garza late in the season and helped the LA Galaxy win their second straight MLS Cup.
In 2009, Omar Gonzalez was the Rookie of the Year after he became an instant defensive force with the Galaxy in a draft that also featured Matt Besler and George John in the first round.
It looks like 2013 may again be one of those years, as some of the top prospects in this year’s SuperDraft are defenders. While the crop may not be as deep with regular starting-caliber players as previous years, it looks to be a top-heavy draft on the defensive side of the ball.
Beyond center backs Andrew Farrell from Louisville and Walker Zimmerman from Furman, though, the defenders are much less proven.
Farrell, 20, was a MAC Hermann trophy semifinalist in 2012 after posting four goals and one assist from the center back slot with Louisville.
Zimmerman, 19, had six goals and three assists in his sophomore season with Furman and is a regular with the US U20 National Team.
After the Columbus Crew signed Akron’s Chad Barson and FC Dallas added Maryland’s London Woodberry via Homegrown signings, there is even less depth.
“The top three defenders who were seniors are probably going to sign Homegrown contracts, so that takes a bite out of this class,” said Eskilson.
Beyond those two, there is some talent at the left back spot, with Maryland’s Taylor Kemp and CSU-Bakersfield’s Kory Kindle, just to name a few.
“There are a handful of left backs coming out that could be seeing minutes down the road,” Clark said. “Some of those guys are very good at attacking and you have to wonder if their defensive skills will be good enough, one-on-one against MLS guys.”
For more on the defender prospects for the MLS SuperDraft, read TopDrawerSoccer.com’s story here.
Players to watch
Andrew Farrell, Louisville, 64 games, 6 goals, 6 assists
Walker Zimmerman, Furman, 39 games, 11 goals, 5 assists
Taylor Kemp, Maryland, 77 games, 2 goals, 16 assists
Kory Kindle, CSU-Bakersfield, 72 games, 13 goals, 5 assists
Jimmy Nealis, Georgetown, 83 games, 2 goals, 15 assists
Eric Schoenle, West Virginia, 75 games, 14 goals, 5 assists
Danny Wenzel, Wake Forest, 75 games, 6 goals, 6 assists
Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, Washington, 72 games, 14 goals, 7 assists