In our final installation of MLS SuperDraft Previews with the help of Travis Clark and J.R. Eskilson from TopDrawerSoccer.com, we take a look at some players with local connections who stand to be selected in the SuperDraft on Thursday.
We start with two players from the University of Washington, defenders Taylor Peay and Michael Harris, both of whom figured prominently into UW’s run to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament in 2013.
Peay is a 6-foot-2 center back that was a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, which was won for a second time in a row by Maryland forward Patrick Mullins. A Real Salt Lake Academy product, Peay is among a deep group of center backs in the 2014 draft class and has a lot of tools to be successful.
“I think he’s somebody that might not get a ton of time, but he’s physically equipped to cope in MLS,” Clark said. “He’s big, he’s strong and he’s somebody that could win a roster spot at the very minimum.”
The 22-year-old Salt Lake City native had six goals in his senior season, many of which were assisted by Harris.
“I think he’ll be a good addition to whatever team gets him in the draft,” Eskilson said. “He’s consistent and does his job well.”
Harris, meanwhile, is known more for his long throw-ins as he is for his defending from the right back position. Love it or hate it, though, it was a key factor in UW’s success in 2013. He led the Pac-12 with 10 assists in his senior season, giving him four goals and 19 assists in his four-year career. A Seattle native and Shorecrest product, Harris was also the Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year in 2009.
“He doesn’t do anything dazzling going forward, but he could be a sleeper come draft day,” Clark said.
Added Eskilson, “He’s solid defensively. The flip-throw is what everyone knows him for, but I think he brings something to the game.”
Perhaps the most likely player with local ties to be taken early in the SuperDraft is Akron midfielder Aodhan Quinn, who played two seasons with the Sounders FC U-23s. The San Diego native had 16 goals and 24 assists in three seasons at Akron and one at Bradley, where he played as a freshman before settling at Akron.
He has played as both an attacking midfielder and a more deep-lying playmaker, but could need some time to make the transition to the pro level, though his workrate could see that learning curve take on a steep trajectory.
“He’ll need to find the right fit that will help him overcome the transition period,” Clark said. “There is some definite talent there, but I don’t think he’s a guy that will jump in right away and be a starter.”
Quinn’s Akron teammate Eric Stevenson joined him for one season with the Sounders FC U-23s and could find himself as a later pick in Thursday’s draft. The midfielder finished his four-year career with seven goals and 10 assists, making the transition from left back into the midfield and having a standout season in 2013 with five goals and five assists in 22 matches.
In addition, two players from Seattle University are eligible for the draft, but appear to be more likely to be undrafted invitees to training camps if they continue to pursue their soccer careers.
Forward Miguel Gonzalez played two seasons at Peninsula College, where he scored 49 goals over two seasons. He didn’t make an immediate jump to that type of scoring at Seattle U, but was among the national leaders in his senior season with 15 goals for Pete Fewing’s Redhawks last season, getting them to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with an upset win over Creighton.
Goalkeeper Jake Feener also had a standout senior season, posting an 11-9-4 record with five shutouts and a 1.38 goals against average. He showed marked improvement in his senior season after going 5-24-4 with six shutouts and a 1.82 goals against average in his first three seasons.
Players To Watch
Michael Harris, right back, Washington, 76 games, 4 goals, 19 assists.
Taylor Peay, center back, Washington, 70 games, 8 goals, 1 assist.
Aodhan Quinn, midfielder, Akron, 82 games, 17 goals, 24 assists.
Eric Stevenson, midfielder, Akron, 68 games, 7 goals, 10 assists.
Miguel Gonzalez, forward, Seattle U, 41 games, 19 goals, 6 assists.
Jake Feener, goalkeeper, Seattle U, 16-33-8, 11 shutouts, 1.63 GAA
Sounders FC holds four picks in Thursday’s SuperDraft – 13, 21, 55 and 77.
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