Whitecaps weigh options going into MLS draft 0
Last year, the Whitecaps selected striker Darren Mattocks at the SuperDraft. The 2013 draft takes place Thursday. FILE PHOTO
There’s certainly a less straightforward approach for the Vancouver Whitecaps heading into Thursday’s 2013 SuperDraft.
For the first time since joining Major League Soccer, the club won’t have the first or second overall pick — that is unless they manage to trade up. Last year, the squad took striker Darren Mattocks with the second selection behind the Montreal Impact, who drafted Andrew Wenger first overall.
This time around, however, the lack of a top-two pick doesn’t mean it won’t be eventful for coach Martin Rennie and his team, which holds the fifth overall selection (acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Union) and their own 10th overall pick. The Whitecaps do not have a second-round pick.
“Last year we had two players who we really liked and Montreal would take the other one,” Rennie said Wednesday, prior to boarding a plane to Indianapolis for the event. “This time it allows you to look deeper into the draft and you look at the players in the top 10 and evaluate who might go to other clubs. So it’s a little different but we’re hoping to get two players out of it who can help us.”
The Scotsman added if the right opportunity came along, the team will “definitely” look at possible trade opportunities with their two selections. For now, though, the strategy will be more on drafting by position rather than the next best player available.
“The next best player may not fit a need for us and it becomes hard because it stunts our growth or the growth of a player that we already have,” he said. “So it has to be someone that is one of the best players but it has to be someone who can be valuable to our squad.”
In preparation for the draft, Vancouver had about nine or 10 scouts for college soccer, and according to Rennie, a “network of people that gives us reports and detailed information about all the players.”
He noted those selected won’t necessarily be expected to step into a regular role on the team right away.
“We always try to take a long-term view to what’s going to be best for the club and have a vision for not just the here and now,” he said. “To do that, you can pick a player who needs a bit more work and a bit more time but who you think will help you more in the future. For us, if there’s someone that we think can help us right now then we’re definitely open to that, but we’re also looking at the player that may have the highest upside as well.”