More American than European, the MLS SuperDraft is an outlier in global soccer. Similar to the NFL, NBA and NHL, the draft is the method used to distribute high school or college athletes among the professional clubs all at once.
Yet as Major League Soccer grows and edges closer to the top international clubs, signing homegrown players, building up youth academies, and bidding through the global transfer market are becoming more effective ways to acquire talent.
“The draft is maybe the fourth-most influential method of team building,” said U.S. soccer writer Matt Lichtenstadter.
Still though, MLS is making the most of the annual SuperDraft. Over the past couple years, the league has done a better job at integrating fans, similar to other U.S. pro leagues.
This year in Philadelphia, fans traveled from as far as Los Angeles to cheer on their clubs as selections were made. Newcomer LAFC had a strong contingent of supporters who were seen bouncing around and chanting in the back.
Now most people will say, so what. And don’t get me wrong… the event still took place in a stuffy conference center ballroom that could have hosted a Real Estate Seminar on long-term mortgages the day prior.
But considering just two years ago the SuperDraft took place with almost zero fans in attendance and minimal buzz surrounding the event, we are pleased with the League’s efforts to bring more fans into the off-field elements of the U.S. game.