Thursday, January 07, 2010

SuperDaft (yeah, as in DAFT)

After covering MLS for a few years, I was hoping that maybe - just maybe - I’d wake up one glorious morning - with the sun shining, birds chirping, and the welcoming aroma of chocolate chip pancakes on the griddle - and everything would finally make sense to me.

Sigh. That day still hasn’t arrived because MLS’s annual rite of winter - SuperDraft – has once again sent me shaking into violent tremors.

I mean, seriously, is this how the league’s still selecting players in 2010? “With the fifth pick, the Los Angeles Galaxy select (inset random player whom no one but his parents, frat brothers and girlfriend have ever seen play and will likely fail because the league’s current infrastructure stunts real development in the absence of a reserve league and formal loan agreements with second and third division clubs).”

If this is a dream, please, throw some cold water on my face, then hurl some haymakers.

When SuperDraft’s initial incarnation – the College Draft - birthed itself during the league’s inaugural season back in 1996, it made sense. At the time, MLS was doing the “American sport/foreign sport” shuffle, and thus, a draft made sense. It did because, heck, every other professional sport had one. Why not soccer?

And it worked. Guys like Steve Ralston, Jeff Cunningham, Eddie Pope, were all plucked from college campuses and took to the league like coeds to a hot tub. Those were the days.

Even when the powers that be combined the College Draft and its redheaded sister, the Supplemental Draft, and transformed it into – wait for it – the SuperDraft, it still held a great deal of relevancy.

But as the league’s talent began to sharpen as the 2000s progressed, it became noticeably difficult for college kids to adjust to the level of competition. More campus stars disappeared amid the pressure of pro soccer. Rosters became thinner than the Olsen twins. Once the later rounds arrived, GMs knew they were simply selecting training bodies, and simply stated "pass" by selection 40. By now, you would think that this was some sort of joke. That this was all a part of some sort of global conspiracy orchestrated by the Illuminati of MLS owners.

Yet, here we are, in 2010, and this godforsaken forum for selecting players survives!

Haven’t we reached the point where we can take this thing behind the barn and shoot it already? Hasn’t it become clear the competition gulf between MLS and the NCAA continues to widen, rather than close, every year? Isn’t it obvious that more “can’t miss” collegiate prospects – if such a term rightfully exists in MLS – are finding themselves exiled to the bench for the bulk of their careers? What happened to progress? A house with white picket fences? The American dream?

I’m not especially smart, but to me, it’s more obvious than Mariah Carey’s mental health issues. SuperDraft is a super waste of time.


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