The state of California was well represented at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore on Thursday, as four natives were selected along with two players who played collegiately in the Golden State.
The highest drafted native was Stanford defender Brandon Vincent (Los Angeles/Real So Cal) who was selected 4th overall by the Chicago Fire. Vincent led Stanford to its first-ever NCAA title in December and scored in the championship match on a penalty against Clemson. Vincent received his first U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team call-up last week and will be with the team until February 6th. He has a chance to earn his first USMNT cap as head coach Jurgen Klinsmann scheduled two friendlies. The first against Iceland on January 31st and the second against Canada on February 5th. Both matches will be in Carson.
The next native picked was Tony Alfaro (Santa Barbara) who will wear Rave Green after being selected by the Seattle Sounders with the 27th pick. A central defender, Alfaro scored 10 goals in 71 games was was an NSCAA NCAA DII First Team All-American at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills this past year.
Vincent’s teammate at Stanford, Eric Verso (Los Angeles, LA Galaxy Academy) is one of two natives heading north to Canada, as he was selected by the Montreal Impact with the 34th overall pick. Verso was also a leader in Stanford’s NCAA title run and he was tied for the team in assists with 13 this past year.
Joining Verso in Montreal is Univeristy of San Diego forward Keegan Smith (Temecula) who was selected 39th overall. Smith scored 13 goals in 50 games.
Two players, who are not natives, but played in California and were selected are Chase Minter (Cal Poly) and Michael Salazar (Univeristy of California, Riverside), Minter was the 21st (Columbus Crew) pick and Salazar was the 24th (Montreal Impact) overall pick.
4th – Chicago Fire – Brandon Vincent (Valencia), Stanford
21st – Columbus Crew – Chase Minter, Cal Poly
24th – Montreal Impact – Michael Salazar, University of California Riverside
27th – Seattle Sounders – Tony Alfaro (Santa Barbara), Cal State University Dominguez Hills
34th – Montreal Impact – Eric Verso (Los Angeles), Stanford
39th – Montreal Impact – Keegan Smith (Temecula), University of San Diego