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MLS SuperDraft Preview: Goalkeepers

James Belshaw (left) out of Duke & Scott Goodwin (right) out of North Carolina highlight the goalkeepers of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft (Photos by: Duke Photography, AP).

Next Thursday, Major League Soccer will hold the 2013 MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis, Indiana, dispersing the top college talent from around the country to the 19 teams in the league. 

Over the next few days, with the help of JR Eskilson and Travis Clark from TopDrawerSoccer.com, we will provide some resources to guide you as the SuperDraft approaches, starting at goalkeeper.

The goalkeeper position is one that tends to see players blossom later in their careers.  So relying on the SuperDraft to find a starting goalkeeper is not often the wisest of paths, particularly in recent years.

This year’s crop of goalkeepers is deep in similarly talented players, so it will be a matter of drafting teams determining which attributes they value and which they feel they can work with.

Among the most statistically sound in the class are Akron’s David Meves, Scott Goodwin from North Carolina and Alex Blackburn from Monmouth – the same school that produced former Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.

“There is a solid group of guys, but they’re all in that same pool of average-to-good,” Eskilson said.

There are others, too, that have the physical qualities that may belie their college statistics.  Notre Dame’s Will Walsh (6-4, 205 pounds) and Duke’s James Belshaw (6-3, 184 pounds) strike imposing figures in front of the net, but didn’t have the standout stats of others in the class.

“None of them will blow you away.  Each of them has their flaws here and there,” said Clark.  “I would be stunned to see a goalkeeper picked in one of the first two rounds.”

Not since Jon Busch won the award in 2008 has the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year come from the SuperDraft.

And while 13 of the 19 primary starting goalkeepers in the league came via the college draft – either through the SuperDraft or the Supplemental Draft – only four are still with the team that drafted them.

The top three goalkeepers in MLS in 2012 – Michael Gspurning, Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen and DC United’s Bill Hamid – all came to the league by means other than the SuperDraft.  Gspurning and Nielsen were international signings while Hamid was a Homegrown Player for DC United.

For a deeper look at the goalkeeper prospects for the MLS SuperDraft, read TopDrawerSoccer.com’s story here.

Players to watch
James Belshaw, Duke, 77 games, 81 goals, 21 shutouts
Alex Blackburn, Monmouth, 45 games, 30 goals, 23 shutouts
Scott Goodwin, North Carolina, 77 games, 43 goals, 41 shutouts
Larry Jackson, Santa Clara, 39 games, 26 goals, 14 shutouts
David Meves, Akron, 94 games, 48 goals, 54 shutouts
Will Walsh, Notre Dame, 37 games, 30 goals, 15 shutouts