Mike Jacobs will be conference callin’ Tuesday afternoon.
Is Nashville SC’s next Jack Maher, Alistair Johnston (sigh), or Koze Donasiyano on the horizon? The 2022 MLS SuperDraft is just days away, with the league revealing details this afternoon.
From League release:
NEW YORK (Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022) – Major League Soccer today announced eight highly touted college players named to the 2022 Generation adidas class and released a list of 176 players eligible for selection in MLS SuperDraft 2022 presented by adidas. The first round of MLS SuperDraft 2022 presented by adidas will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 11, with SuperDraft Pre-Show coverage streaming live on MLSSoccer.com, the MLS App, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Expansion club Charlotte FC – the league’s 28th team – holds the No. 1 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft 2022 presented by adidas and will have the first opportunity to select one of these talents on Jan. 11. The list of eligible players can be found here and is subject to change. The eligible player list will be finalized on Friday, Jan. 7.
Eight players comprise the 2022 Generation adidas class: forwards Ousseni Bouda (Stanford University), Isaiah Parker (Saint Louis University) and Thorleifur Ulfarsson (Duke University), midfielder Ben Bender (University of Maryland), defenders Erik Centeno (University of the Pacific) and Kipp Keller (Saint Louis University) and goalkeepers Roman Celentano (Indiana University) and Patrick Schulte (Saint Louis University).
A trio of standouts from Saint Louis University – defender Kipp Keller, forward Isaiah Parker and goalkeeper Patrick Schulte – look to continue a strong lineage of Billikens in Major League Soccer.
Kipp Keller , the 2021 Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, started all 21 games for Saint Louis in 2021, while leading the team to an NCAA top-15 finish in goals against average (0.81 goals per contest). His stout play on the back line helped SLU to an undefeated regular season for the first time in 50 years. The St. Louis, Mo., native earned second-team All-American honors following the 2021 season and is a three-time all-conference honoree.
Isaiah Parker , a native of Gurnee, Ill., immediately made an impact on the Billikens front line as a freshman, tallying three goals and seven assists across 21 matches (17 starts) while earning 2021 first-team Freshman Best XI honors from Top Drawer Soccer and Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team honors. Prior to his collegiate career, Parker competed for FC United Soccer Club, where he helped the U17 and U19 teams to U.S. Soccer Development Academy and MLS NEXT playoffs, respectively.
Hailing from St. Charles, Mo., PatrickSchulte is a two-time Atlantic 10 first-team selection and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2021 A-10 Championship. In the fall of 2021, he started all 21 games for the Billikens, posting a 16-1-4 record, including nine shutouts and a conference-best 0.81 goals against average. Schulte’s 34 career victories in goal rank fourth in program history. Prior to arriving on campus, Schulte was the starting ‘keeper for Saint Louis FC U19 Academy team that advanced to the USSDA playoffs in 2019 and was called into a U.S. U18 Men’s National Team camp.
Stanford forward Ousseni Bouda, the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, burst onto the collegiate scene with the Cardinal, starting 22 matches while ranking second on the team in goals (five) and points (15). After missing the 2020-21 season due to injury, he returned to action as a junior, pacing Stanford in points (19), assists (nine) and tied for the lead in goals (five). His nine assists led the Pac-12, helping him earn first-team all-conference honors for the second time in his career.
A native of Burkina Faso in Western Africa, Bouda spent four years at the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana before enrolling at the Millbrook School in Millbrook, N.Y. While at the Millbrook School, Bouda set numerous school records, including single game (seven goals), single season (61) and career (156) goal-scoring records, en route to being named the 2019 USA TODAY All-USA Boys Soccer Player of the Year and the 2018 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
The 2021 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Duke sophomore Thorleifur Ulfarsson finished his sophomore campaign with one of the top goal scoring seasons in school history, recording 15 goals on his way to first-team All-American honors from the United Soccer Coaches, College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer. Hailing from Kopavogur, Iceland, Ulfarsson arrived in Durham in January 2021, earning ACC All-Freshman and team Most Valuable Offensive Player honors that spring while leading the team with nine points (four goals, one assist). In his native Iceland, Ulfarsson began playing with the club Breidablik, located south of Reykjavik, at age 6 and earned a place on the club’s U23 squad from 2017-20 as a teenager, helping the club to runner-up finishes in each of those three seasons.
An All-Big Ten selection in each his first two seasons at the University of Maryland, Ben Bender was the unanimous Big Ten Midfielder of the Year selection in 2021 after scoring seven goals and notching five assists in 18 games. He also garnered first-team All-American honors from the United Soccer Coaches following that campaign. As a freshman, Bender started all 11 games for the Terrapins, scoring two goals. Bender prepped at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, Md., where he was named a 2019 Allstate All-American and was a two-time All-MIAA selection.
In 2021, defenseman Erik Centeno was the only freshman to start in all 16 games for the University of the Pacific, recording six goals and five assists. Following the season, he garnered first-team All-West Coast Conference and the conference’s Freshman of the Year honors after leading the team in points and tying for the team lead in goals. A native of Stockton, Calif., Centeno starred at Weston Ranch High School and played for the Sacramento Republic FC Academy.
Indiana University goalkeeper Roman Celentano made history following the 2021 season, becoming the first goalkeeper in Big Ten history to win the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year award multiple times in a career, doing so in consecutive seasons (2020-21 and 2021). In 2021, Celentano recorded a career-high 11 shutouts and led the Hoosiers through a stretch of seven consecutive shutouts in the month of October, the second-longest single-season stream in program history.
A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Celentano earned Best XI first-team accolades from Top Drawer Soccer and was named a second-team All-American by United Soccer Coaches after conceding just six goals in 1490 minutes of action and registering a 0.36 goals against average as a sophomore. Celentano’s stellar play helped Indiana advance to the national championship against Marshall and was named the Defensive Most Outstanding Player of the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
Several players now starring on the international stage began their MLS careers through the Generation adidas program, including current U.S. Men’s National Team members Miles Robinson (No. 2 overall selection, 2017 SuperDraft), Cristian Roldan (No. 16, 2015 SuperDraft), Jackson Yueill (No. 6, 2017 SuperDraft) and Walker Zimmerman (No. 7, 2013 SuperDraft), and members of the Canadian National Team Tajon Buchanan (No. 9, 2019 SuperDraft) and Richie Laryea (No. 7, 2016 SuperDraft).MLS Release
The primary value in a SuperDraft comes from the Generation Adidas class*, and it’s safe to assume that all eight of this year’s GA players will be gone before Nashville SC has picks, though you can see the full list of eligible players here. Speaking of which… when are Nashville SC’s picks?
- First round, No. 26 overall (acquired from Philly Union along with two 2021 picks for $50k in GAM last year)
- Second round, No. 38 overall (acquired from LAFC along with $350k GAM in an Allocation Order swap in preseason 2020)
- Third round, No. 77 overall (natural third-round pick)
Nashville traded its natural first-round pick to LA Galaxy in exchange for Ethan Zubak, and its second rounder to Vancouver Whitecaps to move up the 2019 Re-entry Draft and sign Eric Miller. In the grand scheme, those moves cost NSC five positions in the first round (No. 21 to No. 26) and gained 11 positions (No. 21 to No. 10) in the second round.
Unless Mike Jacobs wishes to further move up, it’s unlikely that a first-year contributor is in the cards for Tuesday’s event, though the Boys in Gold have shown to be more willing than most to give a chance to rookies out of college. Even if they end up being largely a USL loan contingent (as the 2021 draft class turned out to be for Nashville, with only Donasiyano seeing minutes and returning for more than one season), signings out of the NCAA ranks are likely.
Assuming outgoing loans for Miguel Nazarit and Rodrigo Piñeiro this season, there are as many as five roster slots available at this time.
* This is not only because those tend to be higher-caliber, younger players, but also because they’re completely off-budget for the first 1-3 years of their careers.