In any sport, draft day provides a wide range of emotions for players who hope to have their name called by that sports' commissioner. Some players enter full of confidence, others enter full of nerves, while others are there to just enjoy the ride. We caught up with four Dynamo players to discuss their draft-day experience and get their thoughts on the day that changed the course of their professional career.
Houston Dynamo (2nd round No. 26 overall in 2007)
Thoughts on draft day
"I had attended the draft with my dad and my agent. It was a pretty exciting experience because it determines where you are gonna go. It’s a big step for any professional soccer player. I remember being a little nervous. There was a group of us sitting together and one-by-one everyone around me was getting drafted. Then the second round rolls around and I didn’t think Houston would draft me. I was told Kansas City or Real Salt Lake would take me. Sure enough, Dom and the staff selected me and it was a sense of relief."
Had you spoken to the Dynamo ahead of the draft?
"I had no idea I was even on their radar. At the combine, I had spoken with RSL head coach John Ellinger - also my coach at Residency - and KC head coach Curt Onalfo. KC was coming up after Houston so I was sure I was going there. Getting picked by Houston was exciting, though, because they were the defending champs. I knew it was gonna be a lot of fun and I would gain a lot of experience."
Houston Dynamo (1st round No. 11 overall in 2011)
Thoughts on draft day
"I was nervous. It was a rollercoaster of a day. I was told I was going to go top-3 and then I was told I would go No. 5 and then I kept falling, more and more. Teams changed their minds last minute and were scrambling so you have no idea what to expect. My agent was also telling me things all day and eventually he said ‘This one is for sure, you are going to Houston with the trade.’ So I was excited about that.
New York Red Bulls (2nd round No. 16 overall in 2008)
Thoughts on draft day
"I wasn’t lucky enough to meet my fiancé yet, but my cousins and my parents were there and I was just soaking up the experience with them. It’s cool to experience first-hand what you previously had watched on TV. It was a little overwhelming having the fans, coaches and general managers there, but it was definitely an experience I will never forget."
Chicago Fire (1st round No. 10 overall in 2006)
Thoughts on draft day
"I remember it very well. It was in Philadelphia. My mom flew in and one of my closest childhood friends, who lived in New York at the time, took the train in. I remember the excitement of becoming a professional and the feeling of accomplishment of realizing your dreams. It was just a fun experience to be sitting in that room, not knowing where you were going, but knowing you would be a professional soccer player no matter what."
Did you have an idea of where you might get drafted?
"It was pretty wide open for me. Just looking at the draft coverage from then to now, there is so much more coverage now. The process has really evolved, which is another good indicator of how far the league has come."
A lot of times I come across stats that I find interesting that I think others will find interesting as well. Other times I come across stats that I find interesting that I fully admit no one else will find interesting. I think this stat falls in the middle.
Since 2006, 20 first-round draft choices of have played for the Houston Dynamo. By first-round draft choices I'm including players who were selected in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft (2000-present), as well as players were selected in the first round of the MLS College Draft (1996-1999).
Now the fact that 20 first-round draft choices have played for the Dynamo isn't the interesting part to me. What interests me is that the Dynamo drafted only five of those players. And if you want to include the San Jose franchise that moved to Houston, only eight players of the 20 were drafted by the San Jose / Houston conglomerate. The other 12 were acquired via trade or free agent signing. Here is the complete list.
|Year||Name||Team drafted by|
|1998||Wade Barrett||San Jose Clash|
|1999||Richard Mulrooney||San Jose Clash|
|2001||Brian Mullan||LA Galaxy|
|2002||Brad Davis||NY/NJ MetroStars|
|2002||Kelly Gray||Chicago Fire|
|2003||Ricardo Clark||NY/NY MetroStars|
|2003||Nate Jaqua||Chicago Fire|
|2004||Joseph Ngwenya||LA Galaxy|
|2004||Ryan Cochrane||San Jose Earthquakes|
|2005||Hunter Freeman||Colorado Rapids|
|2006||Jason Garey||Columbus Crew|
|2006||Patrick Ianni||Houston Dynamo|
|2006||Kei Kamara||Columbus Crew|
|2006||Calen Carr||Chicago Fire|
|2006||Nathan Sturgis||LA Galaxy|
|2007||John Michael Hayden||Houston Dynamo|
|2008||Julius James||Toronto FC|
|2011||Kofi Sarkodie||Houston Dynamo|
|2011||Will Bruin||Houston Dynamo|
|2012||Colin Rolfe||Houston Dynamo|
Tune into this year's SuperDraft at 11 a.m. CT. This year's draft will be streamed across all MLS networks including HoustonDynamo.com. For complete coverage leading up to the draft visit http://www.mlssoccer.com/superdraft/2013
In case you missed it, Dynamo players Brian Ching, Corey Ashe, Ricardo Clark and Cam Weaver joined more than 40 current and former professional players for Soccer Night in Newtown, a community event designed to help the residents of Newtown cope following the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here is a report that ESPN's Bob Ley did on the event.
It's no secret that ratings for the MLS SuperDraft have never been high, and while those in soccer circles would love to see the draft rival those of the NBA and NFL, MLS has decided to think outside the box to attract viewers for this year's event. This year's MLS SuperDraft will not be televised on ESPN or any other network, but it will be streamed across the world on ESPN3, ESPNFC, MLSsoccer.com, YouTube.com and all club websites. That's right folks, you can watch this year's draft live on HoustonDynamo.com.
Some might consider the move minor league, but I think it's a brilliant idea. A 12 noon time slot was never going to attract hundres of thousands of viewers. But now, if you are at work or at home, you can turn on your computer and catch the draft, without missing a beat of your regular work day. And if you don't have time to catch the draft live, it will be archived on YouTube later in the day for your viewing pleasure.
Now on to MLSsoccer.com's mock draft following the first day of combine matches.
In the previous mock draft, Simon Borg predicted the Dynamo would take West Virginia defender Eric Schoenle. This time, Borg is giving the Dynamo CSU Bakersfield defender Korey Kindle.
Borg: Sensational athlete. Immediately leaves a mark when he comes into the match. His leaping ability makes him another dangerous aerial weapon for the Dynamo.
Jason Saghini also gave the Dynamo Schoenle in the first mock draft, but this time around he has selected Washington defender Dylan Tucker-Gangnes for Dominic Kinnear's squad.
Saghini: Looked strong in the air, which was expected. But he also looked quicker on the turn than I thought he'd be, and was confident in distribution. Don't see how Houston passes on him.
In his previous mock draft, Matt Doyle projected the Dynamo would take Georgetown defender. In this version, he sticks with a Georgetown defender, but he switches positions from left back (Jimmy Nealis) to center back (Tommy Muller).
Doyle: With Hainault out in Houston, center back is the biggest need and left back option can wait.
In this mock draft, all writers predicted the second round as well. Borg predicted the Dynamo would take Brown defender Eric Robertson. Saghini stayed on the defensive live and gave Houston Wake Forest defender Anthony Arena. Doyle believes the midfield could use a reinforcement and selects Louisville holding mid Paolo DelPiccolo for the Dynamo.
Borg: Dynamo add a tall defender (6-foot-3), who's quick on his feet and excellent in the air.
Saghini: The Dynamo get cover for central defense and left back, both of which are needs with their huge schedule this season.
Doyle: Holding mid is an area that could use some reinforcements and DelPiccolo will fit the Houston system well.
MLSsoccer.com writers are convinced the Dynamo will use their first pick (and maybe their second pick) on a defender. So what do you think? Would you like to see the Dynamo draft a defender or is there another position you would like to see drafted?
Be sure to follow http://www.mlssoccer.com/superdraft/2013/combine for the latest information about the MLS Combine and MLS SuperDraft.
Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis and goalkeeper Tally Hall are currently in training camp with the U.S. men's national team. US Soccer caught up with our Dynamo men to get their impressions of the camp so far.
Hall spoke about getting to know the other members of the team during his first time in camp, the goals of the camp, the opportunity provided by being called into camp, the honor of being called into camp and representing the U.S., and what possibility of playing in Houston in the upcoming friendly means as a Dynamo player.
Davis spoke about getting into camp and meshing with the other players, taking camp day by day and the excitement of camp.
Nice find by the golks at Dynamo Theory.
Big congratulations to Ryan Cochrane! He's now the Assistant Coach at Santa Clara. Good luck in your new role! santaclarabroncos.com/sports/m-socce…
— Dynamo Theory (@dynamotheory) January 11, 2013
Cochrane enjoyd two stints with the Dynamo, totalling 70 appearances over the course of four seasons. An original member of the Dynamo, Cochrane anchored a back line that won back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007.
Last season, the Portland native played 26 games for the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL.
Cochrane is not the first Dynamo original to join the coaching ranks. Here are a list of others who have gone from playing to patrolling the sidelines:
- Former Dynamo captain Wade Barrett retired prior to the 2010 season and is now part of Dominic Kinnear's coaching staff.
- Craig Waibel, a fan favorite for his work on and off the field, is an assistant coach for the University of Washington men's soccer program.
- Longtime MLS vet Eddie Robinson hung up his cleats after the 2011 season and is now head coach of the Houston Dynamo U-16 team.
- Pat Onstad retired following the 2010 season and is now the goalkeepers coach for D.C. United.
- Paul Dalglish, a Scotland native who scored two goals in the 2006 Western Conference final, is now head coach for PDL club Austin Aztex.
With exactly a week to go before the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the real fun begins. Now is the time that draft experts make their predictions about who will be selected by each club come draft day. Unlike college basketball and college football, college soccer is not as widely televised, so fans of most MLS teams rely on reporters and bloggers to learn more about their team's potential picks leading up to the draft.
MLSsoccer.com recently completed their first mock draft, with Simon Borg, Jason Saghini and Matt Doyle providing their first round selections.
Both Borg and Saghini predicted the same player, West Virginia defender Eric Schoenle, would be drafted by Houston with the No. 13 pick in the first round. Here is what they each had to say about the pick:
Borg: A center back the way Dominic Kinnear loves them. No-nonsense, tough and exceptional in the air on defense and on attacking set pieces.
Saghini: Neither Schoenle nor the Mountaineers had a great 2012 season, but he’s still a big, technical central defender who can provide depth at a spot where Houston needs it.
Doyle also projected the Dynamo to select a defender in the first round, but believes it will be Georgetown left back Jimmy Nealis. Here are his thoughts:
Doyle: Without many glaring needs, Kinnear takes the best left back off the board to provide some competition for Corey Ashe and depth for CCL.
So what do you think? Would you like to see the Dynamo draft a defender or is there another position you would like to see drafted?
MLS Combine matches start tomorrow, so be sure to follow http://www.mlssoccer.com/superdraft/2013/combine for the latest information about draft-eligible players.
According to the Houston Chronicle's Jesus Ortiz, former Dynamo defender Andre Hainault has informed the Dynamo that he has agreed to a contract with Ross County of the Scottish Premier League.
— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) January 10, 2013
Hainault appeared in 104 regular season games (100 starts) for the Dynamo over the past four seasons. The 2011 Dynamo Defender of the Year moved between center back and outside back during his tenure in Houston.
Although an official roster has not been released yet, it is expected that Hainault will be a part of the Canadian squad that will take on the United States at BBVA Compass Stadium on January 29.
Dynamo radio broadcast Matt Pedersen made a special guest appearance on Sunday's Keeper Notes soccer show on 1560 AM The Game. Listen to the interview below:
In part 3 of a 5 part series, Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek look ahead to the SuperDraft, breaking it down team by team, looking at the Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire & Columbus Crew.