RSL Draft Pick Expectations

Don’t expect to see the draft class of 2013 until 2014
by Chris Enger   |   Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kingdom of Salt - column on Real Salt Lake (RSL) & the Salt Lake City Utah soccer scene

And just like that, the Major League Soccer SuperDraft is in the books and fans of all teams now get to review all their newest players’ Twitter handles and Wikipedia pages.

They’ll be looking for any type of information about the players because, let’s be honest, information on college soccer players is slim pickings.

The whole process is supposed to cater to fans of other major league American sports. But the process is a shallow one for North American soccer since the college game isn’t as followed nor do the best players stay in school long enough to play collegiately.

During the draft, a local podcaster asked me what I thought about Real Salt Lake’s 2013 picks (midfielder John Stertzer and forward Devon Sandoval) and I mentioned we wouldn’t see them until 2014 anyway.

I mean, ask the 2012 draft picks. They didn’t see much time in 2012, if any at all.

A local blogger said I wasn’t giving a fair assessment because two of RSL’s former draft picks played a lot during their rookie campaign. I looked at the team’s history and saw that Jason Kreis, Garth Lagerway and RSL do not build their team with draft picks, especially during their first season.

Since the Kreis-Lagerway duo started drafting in 2008, they have selected 17 players.  Those 17 RSL rookies have made a total of 42 appearances in their first season in MLS.

Tony Beltran made 15 appearances, starting 10 of those games because RSL desperately needed a defender and needed him to fill a gaping hole immediately. 

Collen Warner, class of 2010, made 13 appearances and started 4 games. But he only totaled 403 minutes over the season, the biggest chunks of playing time coming in CONCACAF Champions League matches.

Sebastian Velasquez, class of 2012, made 9 appearances, starting 5 of the matches due to a depleted midfield early on in the season. Once the midfielders were healthy, Velasquez was relegated back to the bench, only to play again at the end of the season.

So of the 17 players drafted, there have only been 42 appearances made by RSL rookies and three of those rookie players made 37 of those 42 appearances. Velasquez and Warner only totaled 9 full matches between them. Beltran, the 3rd pick in the 2008 SuperDraft, was the only rookie asked and expected to start from his first day on the team.

Kreis has mentioned it takes time to learn the RSL system. So again, I say, don’t expect to see the SuperDraft class of 2013 until 2014 unless you’re into reserve league action.

My 2013 draft verdict for RSL: Meh. Let me know when they start playing.

Oh, and find me another forward. PLEASE!


Univ. of Utah
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KoS & SN Podcast co-host & self-proclaimed funniest man in Utah. Mormon by faith, Ute by geography, Gooner by accident & proud RSLer. Father of 4, husband of 1, brother of many. Bilingual by day, quasi superhero en la noche. There's only one "Fuegote".