The 2022 MLS draft, known as the SuperDraft, takes place on Tuesday with plenty of talent to be found but also no obvious choice to go at the top of the order.
There will be three total rounds and expansion team Charlotte FC gets the first pick, while MLS champion New York City FC has the final pick of the first round. The order is based on reverse order of finish in the previous season, but teams have since moved up and down the draft order through trades.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown college soccer into some upheaval, with players gaining extra eligibility and the ability to transfer to new schools. There will still be value to be found in this talent pool, although the number of MLS-ready players is likely thin. The midfield class is especially paltry, with defenders and goalkeepers aplenty.
Here is all you need to know ahead of the draft, including how to watch, the order of picks, and the top prospects available.
How to watch 2022 MLS SuperDraft
The 2022 MLS SuperDraft will take place on Tuesday, January 11 at 3 p.m. ET with coverage provided by Major League Soccer on all its streaming and social media platforms. Only the first of the three rounds will be covered live.
2022 MLS Draft order: 1st Round
Top 2022 MLS draft prospects
This season, goalkeeper is the position to watch, as there are four players who could go in the first round. Not a single goalkeeper was taken in the first round of last year’s draft, with the first taken by FC Dallas all the way down at pick No. 48. This year’s pool is a completely different story.
There’s a talented duo of ACC strikers in the pool in Kyle Holcomb and Thor Ulfarsson, with a bulging forward group ready to bag goals in the upcoming season. The thin position this year is midfielder.
Listed below are 18 players who could go in the top 10 selections of the draft. Saint Louis, which reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, has a number of top players who could get taken early.
Roman Celentano (Indiana)
A two-time Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, Celentano compiled a stellar 82.1 percent save percentage over his three seasons at Indiana, including an insane 90.8 percent mark across 16 games in the COVID-19 disrupted 2020-21 season (six goals allowed, nine shutouts). His highlight was a bonkers quadruple save in November against Northwestern that was No. 1 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays.
Patrick Schulte (Saint Louis)
A sophomore with U.S. youth national team experience at the Under-18 level, he performed well for both his school and club Saint Louis FC. Schulte once saved three penalties in one U.S. Open Cup penalty shootout in 2019 as the side reached the fourth round of the competition that year. He had nine shutouts and just 18 goals allowed in 21 matches for the Billikens this season.
Alec Smir (North Carolina)
Smir led the ACC with 10 shutouts in 2020, allowing just 11 goals in 18 games and playing every second of UNC’s run to the College Cup. This past season saw a dip in those numbers, but he has significant high-level experience.
Will Meyer (Akron)
He joined Akron as a transfer from Louisville, and while his numbers don’t jump off the page, he has high marks from the scouts and could see a mention in the first round, although he would likely go behind the other three mentioned already.
Kipp Keller (Saint Louis)
Keller, a 2021 second-team All American, is a potential top-three pick in the draft after leaving as an underclassman and signing a special generation adidas contract which won’t count against a team’s salary budget.
He was outshined by teammate Simon Becher who made first-team All American as a forward, but Keller should be a hot commodity as a young, domestic option at the back.
Esai Easley (Grand Canyon)
After choosing competitive soccer over competitive surfing, Easley worked his way onto the national scene at Grand Canyon where he proved to be a mobile option at center back en route to being named WAC Defensive Player of the Year and earning recognition as one of the best defenders in the nation.
Ryan Sailor (Washington)
The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All American, Sailor has plenty of buzz amid a packed center-back class. In his redshirt senior season, Sailor started all 22 matches and led a defense that allowed just 10 goals, good for third-fewest in the nation. He also added six goals, the best total in the country for a center back. His pro readiness is the only question.
Ahmed Longmire (UCLA)
While Longmire’s season didn’t garner the Pac-12 and national plaudits that Sailor’s did, due to concussion problems, the Utah Valley transfer came into his own at UCLA and has cemented himself as a prominent prospect.
Charlie Asensio (Clemson)
A late addition to the draft after passing on his option to join Atlanta United via a homegrown contract, Asensio is a fullback who was critical to Clemson’s national championship run and who will provide width to a side with both his defensive abilities and creative skills.
Mohamed Omar (Notre Dame)
A Canadian youth international hailing from Toronto, Omar is a talented holding midfielder who played over 1700 minutes with Notre Dame last season and scored four goals while helping the Irish reach the final four. It’s unclear where Omar will be taken, with mock drafts having him all over the first round, but it’s clear he’s seen as a talent.
Ben Bender (Maryland)
The unanimous 2021 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year bagged nine goals and five assists through two seasons at Maryland, but it’s his two-way play that has earned accolades, and he could go high in the draft amid a thin midfield group.
Sofiane Djeffal (Oregon State)
The Pac-12 Player of the Year led Oregon State to a No. 1 ranking in the nation for the first time in program history en route to a Pac-12 title. Djeffal was at the center of that rise, scoring five goals and adding five assists. Hailing from France, the Nantes youth product would occupy an international roster slot which could hurt his draft position.
Justin Rasmussen (Grand Canyon)
Named a top-50 player by Top Drawer Soccer, Rasmussen struck nine times for Grand Canyon this past season. While the squad was ultimately upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Rasmussen stood out. He’s a left-sided player who could be moved onto the flank if needed.
Isaiah Parker (Saint Louis)
A raw, high-upside player, Parker leaves Saint Louis on an underclassman generation adidas contract after just one season in which he scored three goals and assisted seven, showcasing exceptional speed in the process.
Kyle Holcomb (Wake Forest)
An experienced, do-it-all striker who is not only ruthless in front of net but contributes in all areas of the field, Holcomb was a leader on the field for a strong Wake Forest program. Holcomb scored 33 goals in his four years as a Deac and contributes defensively as much as he goes for goal. The term “clinical” is often used in describing him, and for good reason.
Ousseni Bouda (Stanford)
A Pac-12 First Team member this past year, Bouda missed the COVID-19 shortened season due to injury but returned with aplomb. A native of Burkina Faso and a product of Ghana’s Right to Dream Academy, Bouda has scored 10 goals and assisted 14 others in his 39 career matches at Stanford.
Thor Ulfarsson (Duke)
A constant and frustrating presence for ACC defenses, Ulfarsson scored a whopping 19 goals in 24 matches for Duke over two seasons, including 15 this past campaign. The Iceland native was a First Team All-American and is a true target man up front.
Farai Mutatu (Michigan State)
Moving from Zimbabwe in 2006 to Michigan, Mutatu is a wide player who provides pace and good service and could be a versatile pickup. Mutatu has seen time in the lower tiers of American soccer and could be deployed in a number of positions, including as No. 10 or at wingback.
Source: Read Full Article