Digging Through Chivas USA's Past SuperDraft Selections

Zemanski: Chivas USA's currently longest-tenured SuperDraft pick. - Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

We go through each of Chivas USA's SuperDraft selections, and compare the Goats' track record with two other MLS clubs.

With the 2013 MLS SuperDraft set for next week, it's that time again to go over Chivas USA's previous SuperDraft selections. They have taken 21 players since 2005 - what has the track record looked like?

Year Round (Selection) Name Generation Adidas? Outcome
2005 1 (2nd overall) Brad Guzan Yes Absolute success with Chivas - transferred to Aston Villa in 2008
2005 2 (14th overall) Christian Jimenez Yes Never played for Chivas, traded to Real Salt Lake; not playing professionally, currently youth soccer coach
2005 3 (27th overall) Aaron Lopez No Played four games for Chivas USA in 2005 - waived that season
2005 4 (38th overall) Esteban Arias No Played 19 games for Chivas in 2005-2006 - waived after 2006 season.
2006 1 (5th overall) Sacha Kljestan Yes Absolute success with Chivas - transferred to Anderlecht in 2010
2006 4 (37th overall) Jonathan Bornstein No Absolute success with Chivas - joined Tigres on free transfer in 2010
2007 1 (7th overall) John Cunliffe No Played 15 games for Chivas, traded to San Jose Earthquakes, played for Carolina RailHawks - now playing in regional league in England
2007 4 (46th overall) Cameron Dunn No Never played for Chivas - currently manager for men's soccer team at UC Irvine
2008 4 (43rd overall) Keith Savage No Played six games for Chivas - currently playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies
2009 1 (9th overall) Michael Lahoud No Played 64 games for Chivas - traded to Philadelphia Union in 2012
2009 3 (35th overall) Kyle Christiansen No Never played for Chivas
2009 4 (49th overall) Jamie Franks No Never played for Chivas - currently assistant coach at University of Denver
2010 1 (10th overall) Blair Gavin Yes Played 43 games for Chivas - traded to New England Revolution in 2012, currently out of contract.
2010 3 (35th overall) Kevin Tangney No Never played for Chivas
2010 3 (42nd overall) Isaac Kissi No Never played for Chivas - last played for Rochester Rhinos
2010 4 (47th overall) Ben Zemanski No Played 72 games for Chivas - still on roster
2010 4 (58th overall) Chris Ross No Never played for Chivas
2011 1 (4th overall) Zarek Valentin Yes Played 25 games for Chivas - selected by Montreal Impact in 2012 Expansion Draft
2011 1 (14th overall) Victor Estupinan No Played 9 games for Chivas - plays for Tecnico Universitario in Ecuador
2011 3 (40th overall) Jon Okafor No Never played for Chivas
2012 1 (5th overall) Casey Townsend No Played 17 games for Chivas - still on roster

Alright, let's break it down. Of the 21 players drafted by Chivas USA in the SuperDraft since 2005, only two remain on the roster, although there were four to start the 2012 season. In all, 11 of the draftees saw the field for Chivas USA's first team.

This year, Chivas have the second overall pick, and perhaps a good omen is that the other time they had that pick, they landed Brad Guzan. He is the team's highest-ever draft pick, and Chivas return to that spot again this year.

Otherwise, the track record looks pretty poor. Only four (possibly five, if Gavin signs a new MLS deal) of the players Chivas has drafted still play in MLS (and one of those was 2012's selection, Townsend). Of course, one player (Guzan) plays in the English Premier League, another (Kljestan) plays in the Jupiler Pro League in Belgium, and a third (Bornstein) is on the books at a Liga MX club, if he seldom actually plays for the first team. And Estupiñan plays in Serie A in Ecuador. That means that less than half of the players Chivas USA has selected in the SuperDraft currently play first team soccer anywhere in the world. On the other hand, three of the players selected have played for their senior national team.

Of course, compared with other clubs, it isn't as though Chivas USA are complete outliers in their draft track record. Let's look at the selections of Toronto FC between 2009-12:

Year Round (Selection) Name GA? Outcome
2009 1 (2nd overall) Sam Cronin No Played 33 games for TFC, traded to San Jose Earthquakes in 2010
2009 1 (4th overall) O'Brian White No Played 33 games for TFC, traded to Seattle Sounders in 2011, currently out of contract due to injuries
2009 1 (13th overall) Stefan Frei Yes Played 88 games for TFC, currently on roster
2009 3 (34th overall) Mike Grella No Never played in MLS, currently with Scunthorpe United
2009 3 (39th overall) Kyle Hall No Never played in MLS, last with West Michigan Edge
2010 2 (24th overall) Zachary Herold Yes Never played in MLS, forced to retire because of heart condition
2010 4 (53rd overall) Joseph Nane No Played 11 games with TFC, traded to Colorado Rapids in 2010
2011 2 (26th overall) Demitrious Omphroy No Played one game with TFC, currently playing for Global FC (Philippines)
2011 3 (43rd overall) Matt Gold No Played three games with TFC, currently playing for San Antonio Scorpions
2011 3 (44th overall) Efrain Burgos, Jr. No Played three games with TFC before being released
2011 3 (49th overall) Joao Plata No Played 36 games for TFC, last played for LDU Quito
2012 1 (4th overall) Luis Silva No Played 30 games for TFC, currently on roster
2012 1 (12th overall) Aaron Maund No Played 15 games for TFC, traded to Real Salt Lake this offseason

Ok, let's recap. Of the 13 players selected by Toronto since 2009, two are currently on the roster, much like Chivas USA (2 of 12 since 2009). Five of TFC's selections are currently in MLS, also similar to Chivas' 4-5 (depending on Gavin's situation), and seven playing first division soccer somewhere in the world (compared with Chivas' five since 2009). Overall, the prospects look pretty similar. It is worth noting that Chivas and Toronto are of course teams that have been struggling for several seasons, and for both to have similar track records isn't much of a surprise.

That said, it has to be remembered that both teams have not benefitted from draft selection in the way their league position would indicate, given that the Seattle Sounders (2009), Philadelphia Union (2010), Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps (2011), and Montreal Impact (2012) have entered the league as expansion teams and therefore had the first or second overall selection in the SuperDraft, pushing Chivas and TFC down the pecking order.

Let's take the example of RSL, a team that is now lauded as a model organization in MLS, and one that is very shrewd with financial matters, and see their SuperDraft performances since 2009:

Year Round (Selection) Name GA? Outcome
2009 1 (12th overall) Jean Alexandre No Played 38 games for RSL, traded to San Jose in 2011, out of contract
2009 4 (54th overall) Raphael Cox No Played 6 games for RSL, currently with Tampa Bay Rowdies
2009 4 (57th overall) Mfanafuthi Bhembe No Cut by RSL in February 2009, played in Africa, currently out of contract
2010 1 (15th overall) Collen Warner No Played 37 games for RSL, selected by Montreal in 2012 Expansion Draft
2010 2 (32nd overall) Justin Davis No Never played in MLS, currently with Minnesota Stars
2010 3 (39th overall) Chris Schuler No Played 34 games for RSL, currently on roster
2010 4 (64th overall) Kris Banghart No Currently a youth soccer coach
2011 3 (52nd overall) Jarad vanSchaik No Never played in MLS, currently with Puerto Rico Islanders
2012 1 (17th overall) Enzo Martinez Yes Never played in MLS, currently on roster
2012 2 (24th overall) Diogo de Almeida No Never played in MLS
2012 2 (36th overall) Sebastian Velasquez No Played nine games for RSL, currently on roster

Of the 11 players selected by RSL in the SuperDraft since 2009, three are currently with the team, one better than TFC or Chivas' number of two each (and two of RSL's three were drafted in 2012). Four are currently in MLS, with Alexandre in limbo, similar to Gavin, so RSL's numbers are again similar to Chivas and Toronto. No Real Salt Lake players currently play first division soccer in any other countries, and six never played in MLS.

The take-away point? The recent success record of all three clubs is very similar. All in all, Chivas has made some picks that haven't panned out, but so have other teams in the league, at a similar rate to the Goats, regardless of general position in the league and stability of regime.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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