Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Combine Day Continues

I find it hilarious that every time I go to MLSsoccer.com that they are plugging the MLS Combine like crazy. Every day it's rising stock/lowering stock or steam this combine match. I know they're trying to get us excited much like the NFL does with their combine and draft. But MLS followers don't care for the draft as much as they care about the off-season signings from abroad or the inner league trades. Many people are becoming aware of the talent available, but as someone wrote the other day: most MLS team coaches haven't scouted or heard of a player unless they reached the quarter finals of the College Cup Tournament. Nor have the fans, and that's if they pay attention to the College Cup. Which most don't, unless they watch the final.

If you think about it it's relatively true. We've always seen diamonds in the rough signed from obscure colleges that go on to have good careers. But recently, especially the past two drafts, you hear about the amazing players from Akron and the great players from UCLA (traditionally). Are the Akron players that much better or are they the best team. Being the best team doesn't mean you have the best player(s). It simply means you've assemble players good enough to be a trophy winning team when put together. I'm not taking anything away from Akron, who has a fantastic program. But that's what it is, a program. To be fair former Zip, Teal Bunbury looks like he will become an excellent player. However, that's going more on what he has done this off season than what he did in the MLS regular season. With the limited MLS scouting, and it seems very limited, teams' scouting of college players is limited to local colleges and the College Cup tournament. It would be nice to see MLS put more stock into the scouting of college players. But as we've said before, with the new academy rules the draft may become obsolete; and many of the teams will draft players they're familiar with that have played with or against their academies.

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