FRISCO, Texas (Jan. 22, 2016) – Six of the top 10 players selected in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft have US Youth Soccer ties, including the first overall pick and 2014 US Youth Soccer National Champion, Jack Harrison.
Harrison, who will ultimately end up playing professional soccer in the same state he played youth soccer after being traded to NYCFC, won three US Youth Soccer Region I Championships and the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships with Manhattan SC PSG 96 (NY-E). Harrison also won the Golden Ball at the 2014 National Championships, given to the most valuable field player.
“It was a great experience under coach Wilson [Egidio] who did a great job with training, which was obviously great for my development especially being so young,” Harrison said. “Playing in all of the different tournaments, whether it was regionals or nationals, it was a great experience, and I’m glad I could share it with the guys on [Manhattan PSG]. They are amazing guys. I still keep in contact with them now, and they have been so supportive.”
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The 2016 MLS SuperDraft took place in the Baltimore Convention Center in conjunction with the US Youth Soccer Workshop at the NSCAA Convention. Of the 20 players who were drafted in the first round, 12 played youth soccer in the United States, and 10 have US Youth Soccer backgrounds.
Joshua Yaro, the second pick in the draft, played club soccer for Santa Barbara SC (CA-S) and represented Cal South at the 2011 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships. Yaro’s former college teammate and fellow Philadelphia Union draftee, Keegan Rosenberry, is a US Youth Soccer National League alum, and reached the finals of the 2011 National Championships with Penn Fusion (PA-E).
“I played for Penn Fusion for the longest time; for me I was never part of a true academy system. So my US Youth Soccer club was the closest thing I had to that, and for us we felt we could compete at the academy level,” Rosenberry said. “To be with teammates with top class talent and coaches that run their organization in a professional way, it was a lot easier to transition to Georgetown. It was a lot easier to develop as a player. Obviously it was an honor to be a part of and it helped my development as a player. “
Rounding out the top 10 were a trio of former US Youth Soccer ODP Players in the fourth pick Brandon Vincent (CA-S), eighth pick Andrew Tarbell (LA) and 10th pick Jordan McCrary (GA).
“Going through tryouts for [US Youth Soccer] ODP at the youth level puts pressure on you. So you have to learn and grow up quickly,” Tarbell said. “The higher levels up you get, the more pressure and things like that there are. There were some fantastic times in my life for development with the coaching staff and the organizations there. A huge part of my development came from the Olympic Development Program.”
“ODP was great. Tony Annan was one of my coaches, and coaches like that are the reason why I am where I am,” McCrary said.
14th pick Kyle Fisher and 16th pick Cole Seiler both played club at CESA (SC), where they played in multiple Region III Championships and National League events. Emmanuel Appiah, who was selected with the 15th pick, won a National League title and played in the 2010 National Championships with Blast FC (OH-S).
2016 MLS SuperDraft
- Jack Harrison – NYCFC (E-NY) *#
- Joshua Yaro – Philadelphia Union (CA-S)^
- Keegan Rosenberry – Philadelphia Union (E-PA) *#
- Brandon Vincent – Chicago Fire (CA-S)^
- Omar Holness – Real Salt Lake
- Fabian Herbers – Philadelphia Union
- Richmond Laryea – Orlando City
- Andrew Tarbell – San Jose Earthquakes (LA)^
- Tsubasa Endoh – Toronto FC
- Jordan McCrary – New England Revolution (GA)^
- Julian Buescher – DC United
- Jonathan Campbell – Chicago Fire
- Hadji Barry – Orlando City FC
- Kyle Fisher – Montreal Impact (SC) *#
- Emmanuel Appiah – Colorado Rapids (OH-S) *#
- Cole Seiler– Vancouver Whitecaps FC (SC) ^*#
- Ryan Herman– FC Dallas (WA) ^
- Justin Bilyeu – New York Red Bulls
- Rodrigo Saravia – Columbus Crew
- Ben Polk – Portland Timbers
^ = US Youth Soccer ODP
* = US Youth Soccer NCS
# = US Youth Soccer National League
(US Youth Soccer State Association in parentheses)