MLS SuperDraft

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The MLS SuperDraft is an annual college draft for teams of Major League Soccer in the United States and Canada. It takes place in January and is used by teams to select players who have graduated from college or otherwise been signed by the league. The SuperDraft was first instituted in 2000, as a combination of the MLS College Draft, in which players having graduated from college were selected, and the MLS Supplemental Draft, in which all other players were chosen. The draft is divided into three rounds in which each club has a selection, the order of which is determined by a combination of the teams' playoff and regular season positions, with the last placed team (or expansion teams) getting the first pick.


From 1996 to 1999, all American players graduating college were entered into the MLS College Draft, and were eligible to be selected by all Major League Soccer teams. Players who had already graduated from college were entered into a separate MLS Supplemental Draft.[citation needed] The division between the two was eliminated in 2000, when they were combined into a single MLS SuperDraft. Originally created to ensure strict parity in the league, the draft was designed to allow weaker clubs to develop their rosters. The first SuperDraft was held in 2000, and since then has become the primary draft of the league. Recently, the draft has been considered to be secondary to youth academies.[1][2][3]

The importance of the SuperDraft waned in the 2010s as MLS teams established their own youth academy systems and acquired young players from other leagues. The 2020 MLS SuperDraft was conducted exclusively by conference calls and online streaming for the first time.[4]

Eligible players[edit]

Only players from the American college sports system (e.g., the NCAA and the NAIA) are eligible to be drafted. Canadian U Sports men's soccer players are not included, despite numerous proposals and discussions in 2010[5] and 2012[6] when U Sports was Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). In previous SuperDrafts, a few players were drafted directly from clubs outside the U.S. or Canada.

Rules of draft selection[edit]

The draft process for the SuperDraft closely resembles the NFL Draft. Below is the process for the 2023 MLS SuperDraft:

  1. Any expansion club automatically gets the first pick; should there be two expansion teams, a coin toss determines who picks first in the SuperDraft and who picks first in the expansion draft.
  2. Teams that did not make the playoffs are ordered by their regular-season record.
  3. Teams that made the MLS Cup Playoffs are then ordered by which round of the playoffs they are eliminated.
  4. The winners of the MLS Cup are given the last selection, and the losers the penultimate selection.
  5. Remaining ties are broken by the goal differential, goals scored, goals conceded, and then the flip of a coin.
Status Draft picks
Expansion clubs 1
Non-playoff clubs 2–17
Eliminated in knockout round 18–21
Eliminated in conference semifinals 22–25
Eliminated in conference championships 26–27
MLS Cup finalist 28
MLS Cup winner 29

List of MLS College Drafts[edit]

Year Date Rounds Picks City First
1996 March 4, 1996 3 30 Fort Lauderdale, FL United States Matt McKeon Kansas City Wiz
1997 February 1, 1997 3 30 Fort Lauderdale, FL United States Tahj Jakins Colorado Rapids
1998 January 31, 1998 3 36 Fort Lauderdale, FL United States Leo Cullen Miami Fusion
1999 February 6, 1999 3 36 Fort Lauderdale, FL United States Jason Moore D.C. United

List of MLS SuperDrafts[edit]

Year Date Rounds Picks City First
2000 February 6, 2000 6 72 Fort Lauderdale, FL United States Steve Shak MetroStars
2001 February 5, 2001 6 72 Davie, FL United States Chris Carrieri San Jose Earthquakes
2002 February 10, 2002 6 70 Lake Buena Vista, FL Liberia Chris Gbandi Dallas Burn
2003 January 17, 2003 6 60 Kansas City, MO United States Alecko Eskandarian D.C. United
2004 January 16, 2004 6 60 Charlotte, NC United States Freddy Adu D.C. United
2005 January 14, 2005 4 48 Baltimore, MD United States Nikolas Besagno Real Salt Lake
2006 January 20, 2006 4 48 Philadelphia, PA United States Marvell Wynne MetroStars
2007 January 12, 2007 4 52 Indianapolis, IN United States Maurice Edu Toronto FC
2008 January 18, 2008 4 56 Baltimore, MD United States Chance Myers Kansas City Wizards
2009 January 15, 2009 4 60 St. Louis, MO Democratic Republic of the Congo Steve Zakuani Seattle Sounders FC
2010 January 14, 2010 4 64 Philadelphia, PA United States Danny Mwanga Philadelphia Union
2011 January 13, 2011 3 54 Baltimore, MD United States Omar Salgado Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2012 January 12, 2012 2 38 Kansas City, MO United States Andrew Wenger Montreal Impact
2013 January 17, 2013 2 38 Indianapolis, IN United States Andrew Farrell New England Revolution
2014 January 16, 2014 4 77 Philadelphia, PA Jamaica Andre Blake Philadelphia Union
2015 January 15, 2015 4 84 Philadelphia, PA Canada Cyle Larin Orlando City SC
2016 January 14, 2016 4 75 Baltimore, MD England Jack Harrison Chicago Fire
2017 January 13, 2017 4 81 Los Angeles, CA Ghana Abu Danladi Minnesota United FC
2018 January 19, 2018 4 81 Philadelphia, PA Portugal João Moutinho Los Angeles FC
2019 January 11, 2019 4 75 Chicago, IL United States Frankie Amaya FC Cincinnati
2020 January 9, 2020 4 77 via teleconference United States Robbie Robinson Inter Miami
2021 January 21, 2021 3 75 via teleconference Venezuela Dani Pereira Austin FC
2022 January 11, 2022 3 79 via teleconference United States Ben Bender Charlotte FC
2023 December 21, 2022[A] 3 83 via teleconference Senegal Hamady Diop Charlotte FC
2024 December 19, 2023[B] 3 87 via teleconference

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Although the draft took place in 2022, the draft retained the 2023 MLS SuperDraft branding
  2. ^ Although the draft took place in 2023, the draft retained the 2024 MLS SuperDraft branding


  1. ^ Walter, Tyler (January 8, 2011). "MLS SuperDraft: Why the Rise of Youth Academies Causes the Draft To Be Obsolete". Bleacher Report. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  2. ^ McCarthy, Kyle (December 13, 2010). "Monday MLS Breakdown: Academy Programs Increasingly Influence SuperDraft Pool". USA. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "Let's abandon the MLS draft". January 14, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  4. ^ Creditor, Avi (January 9, 2020). "The Highs and Lows of a Dwindling MLS SuperDraft". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  5. ^ "CIS pushing for MLS draft entry: Coach". Canadian Soccer News. November 24, 2010.
  6. ^ Rycroft, Ben (February 15, 2012). "Road to pros may ease for university stars". CBC Sports. CBC.