The first edition of the Fox Soccer 2012 MLS Draft Big Board makes its debut

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While many MLS fans are caught up in the excitement of the playoffs, there are plenty of fans who have seen their teams already eliminated and who are already thinking toward the future.

High on the lists of things to think about is the 2012 MLS Draft, which is about ten weeks away. MLS scouts are already scouring the nation, trying to get a sense of which players to target at the January draft, and which players they will want to pay extra attention to at the MLS Combine.

The 2012 MLS Draft class is shaping up to be a good one, with a good crop of attacking players expected to be available. There won't be as many high-level long-term prospects as the 2011 MLS Draft, which was heavy young elite, young talent, but the 2012 class could have even more players who can step in and contribute right away.

To help you keep track of just who are the top MLS prospects in the nation, I will be running an MLS Draft Big Board on Fox Soccer for the next two months. With it, I will provide you with a look at the players who scouts and coaches are raving about, and most interested in, as we draw closer to the 2012 MLS Draft.

Here is the first edition of my Fox Soccer 2012 MLS Draft Big Board, a list that includes the top 25 prospects in the nation. It is a list that will be adjusted periodically for the next two months.

Something that should be noted about the Big Board is that it does not include players who are tied to MLS teams via Homegrown Player designations. Players like Duke's Sebastian Ibeagha (Houston), Akron's Scott Caldwell (New England), and Cal-State Bakersfield's Gyasi Zardis (LA Galaxy). There are some players on the Big Board who have Homegrown Player tags, but those players have tags that are either considered highly unlikely to be accepted by MLS, or are being disputed.

If you are already itching to see an MLS Mock Draft, you might not have to wait too long. I will look to do a Mock Draft of the first ten picks of the 2012 draft on SBI later today, so stay tuned.

What do you think of the Big Board? What players on it are you hoping your team can land? Who didn't make the list that you thought would?

Share your thoughts below.

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22 Responses to The first edition of the Fox Soccer 2012 MLS Draft Big Board makes its debut

  1. Oranje says:

    Really well done. I think you should include the players tagged as homegrown next time through. Remember, just because a team wants them as an HGP doesn’t mean the kids have to take it. If I were Caldwell and knew I’d have a shot somewhere else, I’d say no to New England (I realize hometown bias comes in, just making a point)

  2. Camjam says:

    So I just read the board, and was wondering: What is required to stake a claim on a player? Based on the article it seems that Real Salt Lake, for example, has two claims that seem to be tenuous. How does it work?

  3. Mike in Missouri says:

    I’m just trying to figure out who Sporting KC will take with the 19th pick in the draft…

  4. Duck says:

    Can a player refuse the homegrown tag if the team has a rightful claim? I always thought that entering the academy tied your MLS rights to that team. I am not sure about this and clarification from anyone in the know would be welcome.

    I’m hoping Houston takes Ibeagha on as a homegrown. The defense needs some youth. Ibeagha and Sarkodie would be a good move in that direction.

  5. J says:

    Finlay much higher prospect than #22. Other than that not bad.

    (SBI-He’s not really THAT highly regarded by scouts. I know some other folks rank him higher, but nothing I’ve found supports him being considered much higher than this. Things can change, and if he lights up the NCAA tournament he could boost his stock, but right now he’s not projecting as an elite draft pick.)

  6. Rory says:

    If you ever went on a tour of the stadium as a kid the team has claimed your rights.

  7. rory says:

    Looking at the last several years worth of drafts, it seems the first 5 picks or so become somewhat useful and then the rest of the first round is pretty much dead space, and then a handful of picks from all the other rounds are gems. Round 3 usually produces one gem and a ton of players who don’t even have their own wikipedia page, and hell, everyone has one of those.

  8. gilby says:

    Ives any chance you’ll pit together a sepearate list of Homegrown players you expect to sign with MLS?

  9. Radi0head says:

    Ives – FYI the link doesn’t work on the iPhone. Auto redirects to Fox sports main mobile page. But then when you click Soccer in the menu for that site, the MLS link doesn’t work.

    Guess I’ll be forced to actually work hile I’m at work haha but look forward to reading it when I get home

  10. abc says:

    I see what you did there…

  11. abc says:

    This appears to be the case with every Fox Sports link, unfortunately.

  12. abc says:

    In need of correction:

    heavy young elite, young talent

    who have Designated Player tags

  13. Oranje says:

    No, a player does not have to agree to the homegrown designation. It’s assumed by the parent club that the kids will, but they don’t have to. Trust me on this.

  14. nik says:

    If Austin Berry is only the 19th player on the board then this is the strongest! draft class! ever! by a mile.

  15. Charles says:

    I appreciate you posting your story links here. Very doubtful I am not going to go to Fox Soccer page without, but I want to read your stories.

    Thanks,

  16. atd says:

    My addition — Jordan McCrary, the former US U-17er who plays left back for UNC and who locked down Brian Span for a half a few weeks back before Gelnovatch got wise and moved him to CAM.

  17. baquito alyeska says:

    It’d be nice to also see height, age and academic year as stats for each player.

    Oh, and favorite color and first concert attended.

  18. I think Connor Lade from SJU deserves a spot on this list. Stellar senior season for the Red Storm and a homegrown for the Red Bulls.

  19. Duck says:

    Thanks for the info. Sounds like a good balance between player’s rights and a team’s investment

  20. galloway84 says:

    Brian Span listed number 6 on the draft board? Last time I checked, Span’s 2011 statistics: 16 games 3 goals 4 assists. IMO, that is not 1st round material.

  21. Gomezz says:

    Where is the Mock???

  22. Go Eagles! says:

    Some good pics listed. My addition- Kyle Bekker (CAM, Boston College) if Rowe, Martinez are there then so should Bekker, no doubt. He’s been a standout since day 1, great background and international experience, Winter brought him in to train at TFC this summer and unlike others leads a squad not as deep in talent pool.