The 2014 MLS SuperDraft begins Thursday, and as usual Chivas USA will be involved. Unlike recent drafts, however, the Goats will not have a selection in the first round, by virtue of trading that away to the Philadelphia Union last year in exchange for Gabriel Farfan. It will be the first time Chivas haven't had a first round pick since 2008 (of course, it is possible they could trade up into the first round).
As it stands, Chivas have three scheduled selections in this year's draft. With the Supplemental Draft being discontinued this year and the SuperDraft extended to four rounds once again, the Goats have the first pick in the second round (#20 overall), and the second pick in the third (#40 overall) and fourth (#59 overall) rounds.
That second round pick comes from D.C. United, from the Casey Townsend trade last year. Chivas' regular second round pick, which would have been #21, was traded away to the Seattle Sounders in the trade to get rid of Shalrie Joseph. As you may have gathered, Chivas' last two picks this year are their original selections and have not been obtained via trade.
One feature that will differ this year from their picks high in the draft the past few years is that Chivas' selections will most likely not be under contract with the league prior to the draft. What does that mean? These players will have to compete for a contract and place on the squad. While it is possible that a Generation adidas player or senior who has already signed a contract could fall to the second round, that is unlikely, so Chivas have flexibility in offering their draft picks a pro contract.
So you may see Chivas sign anywhere between zero and all three of their draft picks this year (assuming the keep the picks they currently have and not pick up any more).
In recent years, Chivas have not really cared for the players they have drafted. In fact, only one remains on the team at present, and that was last year's first round draft pick, Carlos Alvarez. Let that sink in for a moment -- Chivas have made 22 SuperDraft picks in their history (I counted), and only one remains with the team, the most recent selection.
There is a valid argument that the SuperDraft is becoming increasingly irrelevant, as the academy system has led to more Homegrown signings. That is true, and Chivas have signed a Homegrown player each of the last two years (Marky Delgado and Caleb Calvert).
But the SuperDraft exists, and among the advantages is potentially finding an affordable player for the roster, and taking a player who is outside the academy set-up. Whether the player simply needed time in college to develop, or he falls outside of the academy's regional area, good players who can contribute at the MLS level can be found in the draft, even in 2014.
We'll have more on the draft leading up to the big day itself, and have full coverage of the Goats' day at the SuperDraft. In the meantime, what do you think Chivas' strategy should be for this year's draft? Leave a comment below!