Editor’s note: Welcome to the first in our rebooted Fanpost of the Week series! This week’s Fanpost of the Week comes from isaax05, who discussed earlier this week why the MLS Superdraft, which took place yesterday, deserved some attention. He analyzed some of the players that were drafted yesterday.
We will be paying attention to Fanposts and the best ones will get turned into articles on the main page! It’s a great way to get your start in writing and to hone your thoughts into something that our incredible community will enjoy. So, head to the Fanposts section and get started, and we’ll see if yours makes it to the big time next week!
Seven of the players at the United States U-23 Camp in Orlando are former MLS Draft picks, as are a further seven of the players at the senior camp. Every draft class from 2017 on has produced at least one player that is currently at Orlando. The point is that regardless of the general talent typical of MLS Draftees, the Draft consistently produces year to year a couple of players that will likely be called up at some point by Gregg Berhalter & Co. This isn’t to say that you should expect valuable contribution to the senior team from a typical draftee, only a few of the former draftees on the current rosters have so far produced anything of substance in a U.S. jersey. However, several former draft picks can be considered consistent Berhalter call ups.
The next edition of the draft [occurred] on January 21st. I don’t know if there are any players who are capable of producing for the U.S. Men’s National Team in the future, but there most likely will be players who will receive caps at some point and a half decent chance of at least one player who most fans in the community will gripe about when he is inexplicably called up window after window. As someone who actually likes/follows college soccer (if there’s a decent college program near you try going to a game after the pandemic is over, it’s not the highest quality soccer you’ll ever see but you’ll have fun and it’s probably cheaper than the nearest pro game), here are some of the names that may end up gaining old Gregg’s attention at some point in the future.
Ethan Bartlow - Centerback, Washington Huskies
Former Pac-12 Defenisve Player of the Year and Generation Adidas signing, Ethan Bartlow seems to be the best defensive player in the draft, and one of the few perspective who figures to receive plenty of first team minutes early on wherever he ends up. Had a cup of coffee with the U-17s as a part of a U-17 World Cup camp. If any of these guys are in Camp Cupcake next year, my bet is it’ll probably be him. A Washington fan made a compilation video, lots of through balls.
Bret Halsey, CM-Virginia
Generation Adidas Signing and two time All-ACC, Bret Halsey seems like the weakest option among the GA signings. A skilled midfielder who also plays RB, he was a big part of UVA team that made it to the College Cup finals and is a former teammate of Daryl Dike, Henry Kessler, and Aboubacar Keita. Side note Orlando City is the only MLS team with more representation in Camp Cupcake than the UVA Alumni Association.
Josh Bauer - Centerback, New Hampshire Wildcats
Despite coming from a small school, Bauer was MAC Herman semifinalist last year and is the consensus best College Player in the Northeast. CB is a deep position among college players this year, though a very physical Bauer likely fits in as the next best option at the position after Bartlow and maybe even be drafted earlier. Spent a little time with Birmingham in the USL Championship, though nothing really came of it. Also appears to have made his own compilation video!
Nabi Kibunguchy (Centerback, UC Davis Aggies) and the 6’6” Aime Mabika (Centerback, Kentucky Wildcats) round out the strong CB class. Given the lack of depth left back position and the seeming willingness too try anyone who shows a modicum of talent, Matt Di Rosa (Left Back, Maryland Terrapins), Josh Drack (Left Back, Denver Pioneers) or former U-18 Aedan Stanley (Left Back, Duke Blue Devils) could end up at a Camp Cupcake in the future though none of them really seem like they can play at that level. Most of the noteworthy forwards and midfielders in the draft are internationals, the most ‘notable’ attacking American player is Josh Penn (Left Wing, Indiana Hoosiers) whose played with the Indy Eleven in the USL Championship and has a goal in two appearances with the US U-19s.
As individuals many of these guys are probably more likely to fall out of MLS than wear a National Team jersey, but at least one or two of them will likely suit up at some point for the Stars and Stripes, at least while the current leadership is in charge.