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:
|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:
|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!