Sounders FC holds the 8th pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday. After a week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, watching potential picks in the MLS Player Combine, Seattle Assistant Coach and Head Scout Kurt Schmid feels like the team has a firm grasp on the talent available.
“I think it’s similar to last year in terms of there are maybe fewer difference-makers than some years past, but I think you can still find guys, and once you get past the first handful of picks or so, I think there are a lot of solid players there and the quality is pretty consistent for a bit,” Schmid said in a conference call with Seattle reporters this week.
Seattle has already added two top-quality college players in Homegrown signings Sean Okoli and Aaron Kovar, which has been a tremendous boost for the team after already producing an All-Star in DeAndre Yedlin last year.
Because Sounders FC has drafted so late in the first round each year after reaching the playoffs in each of the club’s first five seasons, adding players of that quality without utilizing draft picks has been beneficial, particularly when analyzing the players available in the draft.
“To be able to get guys who can make an impact, or at least become depth on our roster, without having to draft them, and then being able to use those draft picks to get other guys that can compete in that depth, that’s just a boost to our team and our ability to build depth on the overall roster,” Schmid said.
As Seattle hopes Okoli and Kovar can be as impactful in MLS as Yedlin, the Homegrown initiative has also limited some of the top-end talent available in the draft. At least 10 Homegrown Players have signed since the end of the 2013 season, thinning a bit of the player pool for the 2014 draft class.
According to Schmid, there are still players to be had if the right situation arises.
“I think the thing that is happening in terms of the draft is really the Homegrown Players and, to a certain extent as well, some of the youth national team kids opting to go abroad rather than going to college or signing with MLS. Those are the two things that are serving to maybe weaken the draft classes to a certain extent, at least at the top end,” he said. “I think the mid-range talent is still there and there are still a lot of guys there who become solid MLS players.”
The 2014 SuperDraft kicks off at 9 am PT from the Philadelphia Convention Center. Follow all of the pick-by-pick analysis by following @LiveSounders.