The MLS SuperdraftJanuary 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2013 | 2 Comments
Today the Vancouver Whitecaps picked up two promising players from the Major League Soccer Superdraft. These are Kekuta Manneh, who was chosen 4th overall and Erik Hurtado, who was chosen 5th overall. The Whitecaps did well to choose early in the draft because to be frank, the talent in the MLS superdraft is not that deep.
Of the two players, I believe Manneh has the better chance to succeed. He is 18 years old and will have the opportunity to develop with professional coaching in a competitive squad at an earlier age. Manneh has trained with the Whitecaps briefly so they have acquired a commodity they know to a certain extent. The highlights the Whitecaps have on their website show him scoring multiple goals against one team in particular which clearly does not know how to man-mark, but the finishes demonstrate that he has a fine touch and a cool head when it comes to scoring opportunities. He also has tremendous strength and balance when running at pace. He is very small at 5’9′ and 140 lbs, so he will need to bulk up a bit in the highly physical MLS.
If we can get Manneh and Mattocks running at MLS defences they will have a very difficult time coping with the Vancouver Whitecaps. But the question remains: who will feed them the ball? Manneh’s acquisition brings some hope in what has been a barren off-season for fans of the Whitecaps in terms of exciting new player signings.
The hi-light reel of Hurtado also looks impressive, but I am still of the view that American college soccer is not of the quality of prepare a lot of players to succeed in MLS. Hurtado is 22, which is rather old to be coming into a professional setup. While Darren Mattocks has shown us that College players can prosper in the MLS, I think it is a big step up and college players coming into a MLS squad at the age of 22 are at a distinct disadvantage. In the world of football, 22 is middle aged. At the age of 22 Manchester City’s James Milner had been playing in the English Premier league for six years. I can still remember watching Milner play his first match for Leeds United at the age of 16 (he scored a goal as well!).
This is not to say I wish Hurtado anything but success. The future of MLS, however, if it is going to compete for quality with the big boys of world football, lies in getting these guys when they are no older than 16. Barcelona got Messi when he was 12.
In any event, and putting all doubts aside, I look forward to seeing what Manneh and Hurtado can do for our club. I welcome them and wish then the very best of luck in breaking into the Vancouver Whitecaps squad.